Grammy nominations 2020: Lizzo, Billie Eilish and Lil Nas X dominate

Lizzo, a charismatic new pop and R&B star, has been nominated for eight prizes at the 62nd annual Grammy Awards, leading a class dominated by fresh faces like Billie Eilish and Lil Nas X.

Lizzo spent much of the last decade as a struggling rapper and singer, but broke through this year with hits like “Juice” and “Truth Hurts,” and a bold, body-positive persona. Little known to mainstream audiences a year ago, she is now up for every major award at the Grammys, including album of the year for the deluxe version of “Cuz I Love You,” record and song of the year for “Truth Hurts,” and best new artist, the Recording Academy announced on Wednesday.

Not so long ago, the Grammys were routinely criticised for rewarding journeyman stars and rock elders at the expense of pop’s younger and more vital ranks. No longer. Continuing a trend that has been building for several years, the latest crop of nominees are young, diverse and largely reflective of the forefront of pop.

Lizzo’s competition includes two artists with six nominations each: Eilish, a 17-year-old alternative auteur who has built a wildly devoted following, and Lil Nas X, a 20-year-old rapper and master of internet memes whose “country-trap” hybrid “Old Town Road” became an all-pervasive cultural phenomenon this year, breaking Billboard’s singles chart record with 19 weeks at No. 1.

Eilish’s “When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?” is up for album of the year; “Bad Guy” is up for record and song of the year; and Eilish is a contender for best new artist. She is the youngest person to be nominated for all four top categories. Finneas O’Connell, her brother and primary collaborator, received five nods for his work with her as a producer and songwriter.

Lil Nas X was nominated for record of the year for the remix of “Old Town Road” (which features the country star Billy Ray Cyrus) and album of the year for “7,” an eight-song EP. He is also up for best new artist, in what may be seen as a challenge to the academy’s more conservative voting ranks, who have often been reluctant to reward artists they view as untested.

Alternative auteur Billie Eilish

Alternative auteur Billie Eilish

But Lil Nas X has also come to stand for many of the changes now sweeping pop music. “Old Town Road” first exploded as a hit on TikTok, the video app, and his blithe combination of rap and country highlighted the increasing blurring of genre. At first, Nashville struggled to accept him; last week, “Old Town Road” won best musical event at the Country Music Association Awards.

Even so, Lil Nas X was not nominated in any of the Grammys’ country categories. The nominees for country album of the year are Eric Church’s “Desperate Man,” Reba McEntire’s “Stronger Than the Truth,” Pistol Annies’ “Interstate Gospel,” Thomas Rhett’s “Center Point Road” and Tanya Tucker’s “While I’m Livin’.”

The awards ceremony will be held on Jan. 26 in Los Angeles, and broadcast by CBS.

Among this year’s other top nominees, Ariana Grande received five nods, including record of the year for “7 Rings” — a recasting of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “My Favorite Things” — and album of the year for “Thank U, Next.” The young R&B singer H.E.R., who took home two awards at the most recent Grammys, is also up for five, including album of the year for “I Used to Know Her” and record and song of the year for “Hard Place.” (Record of the year is for performers and producers, while the song category recognises songwriters.)

Winners will be chosen by the academy’s 11,000 voting members.

© 2020 The New York Times

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