Viral Songs Compete in Major Categories  

Here’s a look at songs that have gone viral on TikTok and will also compete at Sunday’s Grammy Awards.


After the success of her major-label, Grammy-winning debut album Cuz I Love You, Lizzo — the self-proclaimed “Queen of TikTok” — came out with more feel-good songs that resonated on TikTok, especially “About Damn Time” and its viral dance by creator duo @brookeandjessie. The song launched 4.1 million combined creations on the platform, topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart and is nominated for three Grammys, including song and record of the year. “It was really hard to sit still,” mastering engineer Emerson Mancini, who is nominated for two Grammys alongside Lizzo, admits to   as he worked on the song. “I had to just sit there with a zipper over my mouth for a while until [the song] finally came out. I was like, ‘Ahh!’ You have to get up and dance. It’s so catchy.” Lizzo’s album, Special, is up for two Grammys including album of the year, and album track “2 Be Loved (Am I Ready)” also had success on TikTok with its 115,000-plus creations.


Beyoncé stopped chasing the charts a long time ago, but TikTok helped her launch a major hit without a big-budget marketing plan. A dance to “Cuff It” created by @maycsteele and @ogpartyhardy26 pushed the non-single into the singles chart, and eventually gave Beyonce another Top 10 hit. “Cuff It” scored 2.7 million-plus creations and is nominated for best R&B song at the Grammys. “Just seeing [the song] organically climb the way it is — these are the moments we work hard for,” Denisia “Blu June” Andrews, who co-wrote the song and is one-half of the creative duo Nova Wav, tells THR. “We got the whole world dancing,” adds Nova Wav’s Brittany “Chi” Coney. “We’re bringing the world joy and that’s what means the most to us. We got people smiling and unifying.”


Rosalía’s MOTOMAMI LIVE, which aired on TikTok LIVE last March, was a one-of-a-kind performance of the 14 tracks from the global star’s third album. It drew nearly four million unique viewers across four broadcasts. The video competed for best long form music video at the 2022 Latin Grammys and best long form video at the 2022 MTV Europe Music Awards. Now it’s nominated at the Grammys, competing for best music film. “The nominations from the Grammy Awards, the Latin Grammy Awards and MTV’s EMAs are a testament not only to Rosalía’s artistry, but also the role TikTok plays in offering endless opportunities for artists to express themselves,” Marisa Jeffries, TikTok’s director of U.S. music partnerships, says in a statement. “We’re champions for creative communities everywhere and it’s an honor to have that work recognized by some of the most respected institutions in music. TikTok will continue to push the boundaries of how music is experienced and shared while fostering the incredible visions of artists on the platform.” Rosalía has nearly 29 million TikTok followers and songs from her album — “BIZCOCHITO” (1.9M creations) and “SAOKO” (216.7k creations) — also had major success on the app, helping MOTOMAMI earn a nomination for best Latin rock or alternative album.


Technically you watched Encanto on Disney+, but in reality the animated film lived on TikTok. Five songs from the movie took off on the social media app, including the worldwide hit “We Don’t Talk About Bruno,” which had 754.8K creations, topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart for five weeks and is nominated for best song written for visual media at the Grammys. Other songs from the soundtrack — nominated for two more Grammys — that resonated on TikTok include “Surface Pressure” (126.5K creations), “The Family Madrigal” (231.5K creations), “What Else Can I Do?” (89.1K creations), “Waiting on a Miracle” (47.1K creations) and Oscar-nominated “Dos Oruguitas” (35.7K creations).


Steve Lacy’s “Bad Habit” dominated the Billboard charts, becoming the first track to top the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, Hot R&B Songs, Hot Rock & Alternative Songs, Hot Rock Songs and Hot Alternative Songs charts, respectively. The song also helped Lacy score four Grammy nominations, and TikTok should be in his “thank you” speech. “Bad Habit” earned 705,000 creations and trended on the platform earlier this summer and eventually became an inescapable No. 1 hit. “Static” (318,200 creations) — from the Lacy’s Gemini Rights nominated for best progressive R&B album — gave the singer another certified success on TikTok. The song and its lyrics “Looking for a bitch ‘cause I’m over boys/Would you be my girlfriend baby?” found a home within TikTok’s LGBTQ+ community, with creators of all genders celebrating and identifying with Lacy’s proud bisexuality. As a result, “Static” became an anthem for cuffing season as TikTok creators attempted to find a partner before summer ended. 


GAYLE’s multi-platinum hit “abcdefu” encouraged fans to call out their exes who have done them wrong, but the song was also called out on TikTok. Originally the F-U anthem was said to be created after a fan asked GAYLE to “write a breakup song using the alphabet.” But TikToker @danielswall pointed out that the “fan” was a marketing manager from the singer’s label, Atlantic Records. Whether or not it was an industry marketing ploy, “abcdefu” resonated on the charts, streaming services and TikTok, capturing 2.5M+ creations. It’s competing for song of the year at the Grammys.


TikTok is the new home for music previews: Jack Harlow gave a first look to “First Class” on the app and it went viral before its release. The song that samples Fergie’s 2007 hit “Glamorous” eventually earned 591,000 video creations, debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and is nominated for best melodic rap performance at the Grammys. His album, Come Home The Kids Miss You, will compete for best rap album.


Speaking of previews, Sam Smith and Kim Petras shared a snippet of “Unholy” on TikTok in August and they never looked back. The preview generated hundreds of thousands of video creations, and the song skyrocketed to a No. 3 debut on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in October. “Unholy,” with 2.5 million creations overall, eventually reached the No. 1 spot and is the front-runner in the best pop duo/group performance category at the Grammys, where the duo will perform the song live.


After writing hits for Selena Gomez, Rihanna, Miranda Lambert, Fifth Harmony and more, Muni Long used her songwriting superpowers on herself. “Hrs & Hrs” became a success on TikTok, first gaining traction on the app in late 2021 and reaching new heights in 2022. From planning the perfect date night to admiring their parents’ marriages, TikTok spent hours with the song, which launched 1.7 million creations. Long’s song “Time Machine” also found success on the app and has over 466,700 creations thanks to a trend where creators wish they had a time machine to fix their past mistakes. Now the singer is nominated for three Grammys, including best new artist as well as best R&B song and best R&B performance for “Hrs & Hrs.” 


Singer-songwriter Omar Apollo’s ballad “Evergreen (You Don’t Deserve Me At All)” had the TikTok world feeling emo AF, inspiring creators to share their relationship status using the text-on-screen feature and citing the lyrics, “You know you really made me hate myself/Had to stop before I break myself.” Creators shared the sweet nothings from their former baes and documented their healing journey after a breakup. “Evergreen” had 331,00-plus creations and Apollo even jumped on the trend and shared his teenage to adult transformation. The success helped Apollo land a couple “firsts”: “Evergreen” helped him debut on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and he’s competing for the best new artist Grammy.


Kate Bush’s 1985 track “Running Up That Hill” had a second life thanks to Stranger Things and TikTok. It dominated radio, streaming services and captured 2.5 million-plus creations on the app. The song itself didn’t qualify for Grammys because it’s too old, but Stranger Things: Soundtrack from the Netflix Series, Season 4 (Vol 2) is nominated for best compilation soundtrack for visual media. Metallica’s 1986 “Master of Puppets” was a big part of the show’s season finale and the track scored over 47,000 creations to date on TikTok.


Is there a song from Bad Bunny’s best-selling album, Un Verano Sin Ti, that didn’t blow up on TikTok? “Me Porto Bonito” saw 2.5 million-plus creations, while “Tití Me Preguntó” had 1.5 million creations. Other songs from the album — nominated for three Grammys including album of the year and best música urbana album — also trended heavily on the app, including “Taro” (1.1 million creations), “Ojitos Lindos” (639,000-plus creations) and “Efecto” (602,000-plus creations).


The sexy “Envolver Challenge” put TikTok users’ upper body strength to work and helped Anitta land a best new artist nomination at the Grammys. “Envolver” went viral on the app, claiming 2.2 million creations. The Brazilian singer, who has nearly 22 million followers on TikTok, joined in on the fun and shared a detailed tutorial for the dance challenge and duetted some of her favorite creations.


Måneskin won the 2021 Eurovision Song Contest but they’ve also won over TikTok. The Italian rockers — nominated for best new artist at the Grammys — have 6.4 million TikTok followers, while their hit “Beggin’” has launched 8.5 million-plus creations. More of their songs have performed well on the app, including “MAMMAMIA” (432,200 creations), “I WANNA BE YOUR SLAVE” (349,800 creations) and “GOSSIP” (284,100-plus creations).


TiKTok helped Memphis rapper GloRilla mark a breakthrough thanks to the viral success of the bouncy anthem “F.N.F. (Let’s Go),” which garnered 300,000 combined creations as TikTokers embraced being single for the summer. The song, a collaboration with producer Hitkidd, is nominated for best rap performance at the Grammys.

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