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Beyoncé, Harry Styles and the Battle of Pop Giants  

Back in 2017, though Grammy voters expressed their love of Beyoncé’s Lemonade with an album of the year nomination, it was Adele’s grand album 25 that won the ultimate honor. It sold 10 million copies within a year in the U.S. alone (unprecedentedly selling 3.38 million units in its first week) — in a climate where hitting 1 million was heroic. “Hello,” indeed!

That storyline could be repeated at the 2023 Grammys, where Beyoncé’s Renaissance and Adele’s 30 again will go head-to-head for album of the year.

But there are other heavyweights ready to disrupt the night: Like Beyoncé, Kendrick Lamar may finally win his first top album trophy thanks to the success of his fifth release, Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers. Bad Bunny’s Un Verano Sin Ti is the most popular album of 2022, not to mention the first Latin project to be nominated for the top Grammy in the show’s 65-year history — and a win for him could cement Latin music’s domination of pop culture.

Many of us have resided at Harry’s House during the past year as we watched the former One Direction singer become pop’s certified “It” boy with his Mick Jagger-style stage presence and addictive, ear-candy melodies. Other big Grammy contenders for top awards are Lizzo, Brandi Carlile, Mary J. Blige, Jay-Z and Taylor Swift. Here, THR takes a look at the major players, from the most to least number of nominations, who are competing for album of the year and other categories at the 2023 Grammys.

BEYONCÉ

2023 NOMINATIONS 9

CAREER NOMINATIONS 88

GRAMMY WINS 28

Beyoncé has won only one top Grammy so far — song of the year for “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It).” And if she doesn’t win one of the big three (album, song or record of the year) at the 2023 Grammys, she’ll still walk away from the show making history if she wins three out of nine nominations. Then she’ll tie the record for most Grammy wins of all time, set by late Hungarian-British conductor Georg Solti, who died in 1997 and won 31 honors. One or two of those three may come in the dance category, for best dance/electronica album (Renaissance) and best dance/electronica recording (“Break My Soul”). And with bids in the R&B categories, Beyoncé is all but set to become the queen of the Grammys.

KENDRICK LAMAR

2023 NOMINATIONS 8

CAREER NOMINATIONS 47

GRAMMY WINS 14

Rap’s had a bad history at winning the big categories at the Grammys. It was only in 2019 when the genre finally prevailed and won the Grammys for record and song of the year thanks to Childish Gambino’s “This Is America.” And only two rap-based acts have won album of the year: Lauryn Hill and OutKast. If there’s a rapper who is next to win the big honor, it’s Lamar. One thing we know for sure: Lamar will, at least, sweep the rap categories.

ADELE

2023 NOMINATIONS 7

CAREER NOMINATIONS 25

GRAMMY WINS 15

The artist’s Adele: One Night Only concert film won five Emmys and is a strong contender to win the best music film Grammy in 2023.

The artist’s Adele: One Night Only concert film won five Emmys and is a strong contender to win the best music film Grammy in 2023.

Courtesy of Cliff Lipson/CBS

Despite major competition, there was no chance Adele was losing the big three Grammys in 2012 with 21 and “Rolling in the Deep” and in 2017 with 25 and “Hello.” But times have changed, and voters won’t go easy on the songstress this go-round. While 30 was critically acclaimed and “Easy on Me” topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart, the album and song didn’t make large enough splashes to guarantee wins. Where Adele most likely will add to her gramophone collection: best music film for Adele: One Night Only, which won all five Emmys it was nominated for.

BRANDI CARLILE

2023 NOMINATIONS 7

CAREER NOMINATIONS 24

GRAMMY WINS 6

In competition for album of the year: Critical darling Brandi Carlile’s In These Silent Days

In competition for album of the year: Critical darling Brandi Carlile’s In These Silent Days

Courtesy of Elektra

Carlile has become a critical darling at the Grammys, earning multiple nominations for the past five consecutive years — not only for her own music but for her work as a producer and songwriter for others and her country music supergroup, The Highwomen. And this year she has reached new heights: Along with nominations in the country and American roots fields, she scored her first-ever nominations in rock (best rock song and best rock performance for “Broken Horses”). And if voters from the country, rock, Americana, folk and bluegrass genres align, Carlile’s In These Silent Days might be a loud winner, especially for album of the year.

HARRY STYLES

2023 NOMINATIONS 6

CAREER NOMINATIONS 9

GRAMMY WINS 1

No one has had quite the year Styles has. He launched several top 10 hits, and “As It Was” nearly set a record for most weeks at No. 1. Harry’s House dominated on streaming services and the pop charts. And his electrifying live shows have become a must-see, even if you weren’t a big fan before going. He already has won one Grammy — best pop solo performance for “Watermelon Sugar” — but he’s finally competing for the big three for the first time, and he has a chance to be the next Brit to dominate America’s biggest music show.

MARY J. BLIGE

2023 NOMINATIONS 6

H.E.R. and Anderson .Paak contributed to Mary J. Blige’s Good Morning Gorgeous.

H.E.R. and Anderson .Paak contributed to Mary J. Blige’s Good Morning Gorgeous.

Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/Filmmagic/Neilson Barnard/Getty Images

CAREER NOMINATIONS 37

GRAMMY WINS 9

The last time one of Blige’s albums competed at the Grammys was at the 2009 show. So it was a nice surprise when the Recording Academy announced that Good Morning Gorgeous was up for six honors this year. But it’s not shocking — the two-time Oscar nominee is, indeed, the Queen of Hip-Hop Soul. And she has some special helpers working as secret weapons — H.E.R. and Anderson .Paak, contemporary stars whom Grammy voters love. H.E.R. co-wrote and co-produced Blige’s title track, while .Paak contributed to several songs on the album, including “Here With Me,” which is nominated for best R&B performance.

LIZZO

2023 NOMINATIONS 5

CAREER NOMINATIONS 13

GRAMMY WINS 3

In competition for album of the year: Lizzo's Special

In competition for album of the year: Lizzo’s Special

Courtesy of Nice Life/Atlantic; Adobe Stock

It’s about damn time Lizzo wins another Grammy, if voters have their way. She was the top nominee at the 2020 show with her major-label debut album and the ubiquitous hit “Truth Hurts,” which won best pop solo performance. She’s back again with the TikTok-approved jam “About Damn Time,” and the success of the song helped her album Special score nominations for album of the year and best pop vocal album.

JAY-Z

2023 NOMINATIONS 5

CAREER NOMINATIONS 88

GRAMMY WINS 24

Jay-Z held the record for most Grammy nominations of all time — until his wife flipped the script this year. Renaissance helped Beyoncé reach 88 nominations, and funnily enough, Jay-Z’s five nominations this year match the feat. And what’s even sweeter? Two of Jay-Z’s nominations are for his contributions to Beyoncé’s album. His other three are for his guest verse on DJ Khaled’s “God Did,” which is up for song of the year, best rap performance and best rap song.

TAYLOR SWIFT

2023 NOMINATIONS 4

CAREER NOMINATIONS 46

GRAMMY WINS 11

Taylor Swift’s latest album, Midnights, will qualify for the Grammys in 2024, but she still has a chance to own the show in 2023. She could reach one of her goals and win her first-ever song of the year honor — an award reserved for writers — with the rerelease of her 2012 song “All Too Well.” The short film created for the song, which Swift directed and is being pushed for Oscar contention, earned a Grammy nomination for best music video. Her other bids include best country song (“I Bet You Think About Me”) and best song written from visual media (“Carolina”).

BAD BUNNY

2023 NOMINATIONS 3

CAREER NOMINATIONS 9

GRAMMY WINS 2

Bad Bunny shockingly earned only three Grammy noms after launching the year’s biggest album and monster hits like “Tití Me Preguntó” and “Me Porto Bonito” (with Chencho Corleone). Neither earned song nor record of the year nods, something the Recording Academy needs to answer for. And while there isn’t a category for Latin songs at the Grammys — only Latin albums — the situation raises a question: Did Bad Bunny’s team attempt to submit him to the rap or global music categories but get kicked to another genre? He did receive one nomination in pop: best pop solo performance for “Moscow Mule.” But with the year he had, Bad Bunny’s music should have been celebrated across multiple categories and genres.

This story first appeared in the Dec. 16 issue of   magazine. Click here to subscribe.

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