The results of Music's Biggest Night will never please everyone. Image: GRAMMY Awards/Logo.
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Disclaimer: this is not a predictions article

Awards season is coming up, and with it comes the anticipation of seeing which artists have been nominated, and which ones have been snubbed. No doubt, music taste is personal, and the task of deciding who should win an award like Record of the Year at the Grammys can’t be given to just anyone.

After an overhaul of the nomination process in 2021, the nominations and winners are now decided by a group of 12,000 Recording Academy members that cast votes in their area of expertise. That change was made to eliminate corruption among a smaller panel.

Here at the Fulcrum, we assembled a panel of our own to decide who we’d give the Grammys to — if we held all the power of the Recording Academy. We voted based on the real list of nominees (which definitely contains snubs, but more on that later).

How will our votes line up? We’ll have to wait for Feb. 5 to find out.

Special thanks to contributors Mariana Gomez and Kanny Diane for their help as members of our three-person council.

Record of the Year

“BREAK MY SOUL” by Beyoncé

The first order of business for this Grammy’s panel was to understand the difference between Record and Song of the Year. According to the official nomination list, this award goes to the artist, producer(s), recording engineer(s) and/or mixer(s), and mastering engineer(s). Based on that, we decided this was not an award to be given based on lyrics or musicality, but on production quality. 

For that reason, we thought “BREAK MY SOUL,” the lead single from Beyoncé’s Renaissance album, deserved the title of Record of the Year. She beats out ABBA (“Don’t Shut Me Down”), Adele (“Easy On Me”), Kendrick Lamar (“The Heart Part 5”), and Harry Styles (“As It Was”), among others.

Album of the Year

Renaissance by Beyoncé or Un Verano Sin Ti by Bad Bunny

You better get used to us bending the rules of the Grammys, because we’re going to keep doing it. After some deliberation, we couldn’t decide who was more deserving of the Album of the Year award: Bad Bunny or Beyoncé. 

Bad Bunny has already made history with the nomination, with this being the first full-Spanish album to be nominated for Album of the Year. After plenty of success at the Latin Grammys and in Latin categories, it would be a massive moment for Latin music if he won a general category award for Un Verano Sin Ti.

On the other hand, Beyoncé leads the nominations this year with nine, so it makes sense for her to win more than one general category award. To add to that, she already has 28 Grammy’s, including those won as part of Destiny’s Child. She only needs four more to break the all-time record for most Grammys. Even though she has a potentially record-breaking career, Beyoncé has never won Album of the Year. It would be a historic win for her, as well.

Song of the Year

“Easy On Me” by Adele

Adele is back on the nomination list for her album 30 and its lead single, “Easy On Me.” Last time she was nominated — for 25 and “Hello” — she swept the Record, Album, and Song of the Year awards. While she beat out Beyoncé for all three that time, we don’t think will happen again. And while we don’t think 30 is quite Album of the Year material, we still think “Easy On Me” has the potential to win Song of the Year (which we learned is a songwriter(s)’s award, not a production award.)

This category also held a lot of controversial nominations, in our opinion. Nominations for songs like “abcdefu,” “GOD DID,” “All Too Well (10 Minute Version),” and “Bad Habit” seemed to clutter the nomination list, rather than speak to the quality of music released this year.

Best New Artist

Omar Apollo

Riding off the huge success of last year’s Best New Artist, Olivia Rodrigo, and her success even in established categories, the nominations for 2023’s Best New Artist fell flat. As a collective, we only knew a few of the nominees. We’re giving the award to Omar Apollo, based on the stable, upwards trajectory his career seems to be taking. If it were really up to us, though, we’d get rid of this award altogether and stop preemptively awarding artists for the success they might have.

Best Pop Solo Performance

“Moscow Mule” by Bad Bunny, “About Damn Time” by Lizzo, “As It Was” by Harry Styles

I’ll say it now: I’d love to see Lizzo win another Grammy this year. It was a difficult task for her to follow up the 2020 Grammy success of “Truth Hurts,” but it seems like Lizzo’s done it with “About Damn Time.”

But there are two other nominees that might stop her.

Our voting panel had some shameless Harry Styles bias — sorry. It’s a testament to our recognition of the talent these other artists have that we didn’t insist on a Harry Styles sweep. But in the Pop awards, there’s a chance he might win Best Pop Solo Performance again after winning the award once in 2021 for “Watermelon Sugar.”

The other contender: Bad Bunny’s “Moscow Mule.” We already think he’s a contender for the Album of the Year, so it’s only natural for Bad Bunny to be a dominant nominee in other categories as well.

Best Pop Duo/Group Performance

“Don’t Shut Me Down” by ABBA

Out of all of the awards we’re giving today, Best Pop Duo/Group Performance was the biggest no-brainer. As the only genuine group amongst a list of one-time collaborations, ABBA’s come-back effort of “Don’t Shut Me Down” carries the composure of a group that’s been together for over 50 years.

Best Pop Vocal Album

Harry’s House by Harry Styles

Some of you might be wondering how we can solidly give Best Pop Vocal Album to Harry Styles after snubbing him for the general category awards. The answer is simple: Harry’s House is the best pop album on this list. High-energy, dance-able, and repetitive lyrics and choruses are hallmarks of the genre. In this sense, Harry’s House succeeds where 2021 nominee Fine Line failed — and does it better than other nominees like 30 and Voyage

Speed-round sweep:

Best Rap Performance

“The Heart Part 5” by Kendrick Lamar

Best Melodic Rap Performance

“Die Hard” by Kendrick Lamar featuring Blxst & Amanda Reifer

Best Rap Song

“The Heart Part 5” by Kendrick Lamar

Best Rap Album

Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers by Kendrick Lamar

The rap awards are where Kendrick Lamar is getting his justice after we snubbed him in the general category. After overlooking him for Record, Album, and Song of the Year, we can safely say he deserves to sweep the rap awards, especially among these nominations. Kendrick Lamar was second only to Beyoncé for highest number of nominations, with eight this year. If it came down to us, he’d win half of those categories with “The Heart Part 5” and “Die Hard” from Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers.

The rap category is also where we had problems with the Recording Academy’s nominations. Unfortunately, we can’t go completely off-track and introduce our own nominations, but we’ll call Megan Thee Stallion’s “Plan B” and “Her” from Traumazine honourable mentions — and officially declare Megan Thee Stallion snubbed by not receiving any nominations. 

There you have it: the Fulcrum-decided Grammy award winners for 2023, as we see it. None of us are the music experts the Recording Academy seeks out for their votes, and we’re arguably the worst people to be giving out these awards. But, as mentioned above, music preferences are subjective to individuals, so if you have any problems with our winners, feel free to let us know.