The Grammys Early Line: Who Are the 2020 Album of the Year Contenders?

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Ariana Grande attends Billboard’s 13th Annual Women in Music Event in New York City on Dec. 6, 2018.

On Monday, we looked at contenders for record of the year for the 62nd annual Grammy Awards. Now, we examine potential candidates for the other top award: album of the year.

How do you even begin trying to predict what the Nominations Review Committee, which selects the final nominees each year, is likely to support? The committee usually favors big hits that also earned a measure of critical respect. Looking at the album of the year field from the 61st Grammys, seven of the eight nominees made the top 10 on the Billboard 200. (The outlier was H.E.R.’s eponymous compilation, which peaked at No. 23.) Five of the eight nominees had a robust rating of 80 or higher at (Post Malone’s beerbongs and bentleys was nominated despite a tepid Metacritic score of 51; Drake’s Scorpion overcame a so-so score of 67.)

So a low Metacritic score isn’t fatal, nor is an inglorious chart number. But, as a general rule, it’s that combination of commercial and critical success that paves the way to a Grammy nom.