With Just 6 Weeks to Go, the 2020 Record of the Year Grammy Race Takes Shape

By | July 18, 2019

Billboard

What does it take for a single or track to be nominated for record of the year? Being a hit isn’t a requirement, but it never hurts.

We’re just six weeks away from the end of the eligibility year for the 62nd annual Grammy Awards. Where has the time gone? The eligibility year runs from Oct. 1, 2018, through Aug. 31 and the show airs Jan. 26, 2020.

Last year, you may remember, the Recording Academy expanded the number of nominees in each of the Big Four categories (album, record and song of the year plus best new artist) from five to eight.

What does it take for a single or track to be nominated for record of the year? Being a hit isn’t a requirement, but it never hurts. This past year, seven of the eight nominees for record of the year were top 10 hits on the Hot 100. (The outlier was Brandi Carlile‘s “The Joke,” which bubbled under the chart at No. 104.)

The Grammy nomination process is long and complicated. The second and final round of the online entry process opened Tuesday (July 17) and closes on Aug. 2. In this round, voting members and registered media companies may submit recordings released in July and August. (Eligibility closes Aug. 31, a month earlier than usual, because the Grammy telecast was moved up to avoid going head-to-head with the Academy Awards.)

The voting members of the Academy then pick their favorites. A Nominations Review Committee then selects the final nominees in the Big Four categories from a list of the top 20 vote-getters. The committee strives for genre, gender and racial balance, and above all, for nominations that will reflect well on the Academy.

Here are the front-runners at this point for record of the year.

LEADERS

Billie Eilish, “Bad Guy”: This quirky track is a lock for a nom. The highly touted newcomer turns 18 in Dec. 18, about a month after the noms are announced on Nov. 20. She would be one of the youngest artists ever to land a record of the year nom. Isaac, Taylor and Zac Hanson ranged in age from 11 to 16 when Hanson was nominated for “MMMBop” (1997). Lorde was 17 when she was nominated for “Royals” (2013). Monica was 18 when she was nominated for “The Boy Is Mine” (1998), her megahit collabo with Brandy (who was 20 at the time, practically over-the-hill). Hot 100 peak: No. 2 (so far).

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