On Tuesday, organizers for the Grammys announced the nominees for the 2023 awards and among the leaders were superstars Beyoncé and Adele, both competing with a new album after a six-year gap.
Beyoncé received nine nominations while Adele received seven — only directly competing with one another for song, record and album of the year.
Adele's Easy on Me is up for song and record categories while her 30 up for album of the year. Beyoncé's Break My Soul is up for the former two categories with her album Renaissance up for the latter.
The two artists were last in competition like this at the 2017 awards, as they competed head to head in all major categories. At the event that year, Adele won five trophies, while Beyoncé was shut out. Upon accepting album of the year, Adele first went to reject the award before eventually tearfully accepting.
"I can't possibly accept this award," she said onstage. "And I'm very humbled, and I'm very grateful and gracious, but the artist of my life is Beyoncé."
Beyoncé could make history at this year's awards though. She currently holds 28 Grammy wins, tied with Quincy Jones for most competitive category wins and only three less than Hungarian British composer Georg Solti.
Her nine nominations this year leave her tied with husband Jay-Z — who himself received five nods — for most nominated music act in the history of the awards, with 88.
Outside of the competition between Adele and Beyoncé, rapper Kendrick Lamar clinched the second spot for most nominations with eight — also showing up in record, album and song of the year.
Following him was Brandi Carlile with seven, and Harry Styles, whose TikTok earworm As It Was brought him four of his six nominations this year — for best pop solo performance, song of the year, record of the year and best music video. His album Harry's House is up for both best pop vocal album and album of the year.
Also up for six nominations were Mary J. Blige, Future, DJ Khaled, The-Dream and mastering engineer Randy Merrill.
Just behind them was Lizzo, who scored five nominations — only a slight reduction from her first showing in 2020 with eight nominations and five wins. She seemed genuinely surprised by the honour, tweeting soon after "I just woke up, what's going on?!"
Taylor Swift pulled in five, largely for her re-recording of 2012 album Red. While those nominations see her match Lionel Richie and Paul McCartney for most nominations in the song of the year category, she was snubbed for album of the year — which the original Red was up for a decade ago.
Another mixed-bag nomination was Disney's Encanto, which saw nods in three of the four visual media categories. Even still, the breakout hit We Don't Talk About Bruno was ignored for record and song of the year, despite dominating the charts earlier this year.
Canadian artists nominated
Canadians also showed up on the list in a big way, including Michael Bublé's Higher, which is up for best traditional pop vocal album. Kaytranada's Intimidated was nominated for best dance/electronic recording and Bryan Adams' So Happy It Hurts got a nod for best rock performance.
Vancouver's Tobias Jesso Jr. was nominated for the inaugural songwriter of the year, non classical category and Toronto's Boi-1da for producer of the year, non classical. He is also credited as a producer on Beyoncé's Renaissance and Jack Harlow's Come Home the Kids Miss You, which are also up for awards. Canadian conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin also has five works which he was a part of up for nominations, including in the best classical solo vocal album, best choral performance and best classical compendium categories.
Arcade Fire's We is also in the running for best alternative music album. Earlier this year, numerous Canadian radio stations pulled their discography from lineups after the Montreal band's frontman, Win Butler, was accused of sexual misconduct.
Organizers address diversity shortcomings
Announced by the likes of Olivia Rodrigo, John Legend, Machine Gun Kelly (who, perhaps pointedly, did not read out embattled performer Dave Chappelle's nomination for comedy album of the year) and Smokey Robinson, nearly half of this year's leading nominees are women and more than half are people of colour, according to the recording academy.
"This makes me feel very proud, but it makes me conscious of the fact that we have to maintain the work we have done," said Harvey Mason Jr., the Recording Academy's CEO.
The awards committed to more hiring diversity back in 2021, and on Tuesday Mason Jr. said there have been strides in the peer-driven voting system and increased membership, but he still believes more progress can be made.
"This year, I'm pleased with the result and work the voters did," he continued. "We have almost 13,000 voters now. It's really important work. I'm pleased to think they spent the time listening to the music and evaluating. I think you see by the type of nominations that they are not only going for just popular music or music that has a lot of streams. It's just music of high quality."
The show will be hosted by Trevor Noah and take place on Feb. 5 in Las Vegas, after a COVID-related delay in 2022 saw the awards take place in April.
It will also include five new categories: songwriter of the year, non-classical, best alternative music performance, best Americana performance, best score soundtrack for video games and best spoken word poetry album.