State of 2025 Grammy race: Beyonce, Ariana Grande and other top contenders with a few months of eligibility left to go

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The 2024 Grammys were not that long ago, but we’re already well into the 2025 Grammy season. With the eligibility deadline being August 30, 2024, we only have five months left to gear up our predictions and then switch focus to all the campaigning that goes along with Grammy voting. So, with a lot of the major contenders being out already, let’s see how the race looks.

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In terms of hit songs, a few stand out from the rest. While songs like Jack Harlow’s “Lovin On Me,” Doja Cat’s “Agora Hills,” Kanye West and Ty Dolla $ign’s “Carnival,” Tate McRae’s “Greedy” (the studio recording was released too long ago to be eligible, so she’d have to submit a live version), and Teddy Swims’s “Lose Control” (he’d also need to submit a live version) will likely be big contenders for nominations, there are four songs that, to me at least, currently sound like possible winners.

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The first is Beyoncé’s “Texas Hold ‘Em,” which is a fun country-pop jam that gets people moving. But it’s also a reclamation of a genre that has obscured its Black roots, making it a strong statement piece that will surely resonate with voters. “Texas” does lack something that a lot of winners have: sentimental appeal. The song won’t necessarily resonate emotionally with you, but then again, one might say the same about Lizzo’s similarly upbeat “About Damn Time.”

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Another major contender is Djo’s “End of Beginning,” a slice of Steve Lacy-influenced alt pop that checks a lot of boxes. It is sentimental, it uses real instrumentation, and it’s a huge hit. However, its lackluster radio performance, and the fact that Djo (also known as actor Joe Keery) isn’t a very established name in music, might set it back.

Benson Boone’s “Beautiful Things” could also be in contention, having advantages similar to Djo’s track, but with a bit more name recognition for Boone. That said, the song might be a bit too loud for older Grammy voters, and Boone has not yet achieved a Billie Eilish/Sam Smith type of undeniable cultural breakout. Boone, Djo, and the aforementioned Teddy Swims and Tate McRae also lead the race for Best New Artist, in what is bound to become a heated race between the four TikTok-fueled pop stars.

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Last but not least is Ariana Grande’s “We Can’t Be Friends (Wait For Your Love).” It fits most of the criteria for a Grammy-winning song: it’s a huge hit, it’s likely going to be a smash on radio, it’s sentimental, and Grande is already a Grammy winner so we know voters like her. However, that style of Euro-pop has not really won before; Grammy voters tend to prefer live instrumentation over digital production. That said, Grande is having a huge year, and she has yet to be a general field winner (unlike, for example, Beyoncé).

As for albums, the year has already given us quite a few high-profile releases. Right now the attention seems to be on Beyoncé’s “Cowboy Carter,” especially after Jay-Z’s speech this year calling out the Grammys for not giving her the award before. “Cowboy Carter” does have some challenges to overcome — mainly that the album isn’t really loaded with hits like some of her past releases, and that it could be controversial with more traditional country voters. It might also lack the R&B support Beyoncé traditionally has had, and I’m not sure how pop voters will respond to it either … In short, it could be polarizing. However, it is a strong statement piece that sees Beyoncé in the middle of an artistic renaissance (no pun intended).

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There are other choices, of course. Ariana Grande’s “Eternal Sunshine” is looking like the frontrunner for Best Pop Vocal Album right now, and has become one of her most successful and acclaimed albums. It also has two number-one hits (and a viral third hit with “The Boy Is Mine”), so it’s not hard to imagine it garnering enough consensus pop support to go all the way. Grande is at a stage in her career where she is somewhat overdue for a win in the general field too, so things might shake out in her favor.

Then there are the more industry-darling picks, like Brittany Howard’s “What Now” and Jacob Collier’s “Djesse Vol. 4,” which might lack the sales of other top contenders but are by artists who other artists immensely respect. And of course, there are still releases coming up from heavy-hitters like Taylor Swift, Billie Eilish and Dua Lipa that could change the conversation. At the very least, we can say for sure that this year is far from boring.

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