The Grammys Awards are set to take place in a virtual format for the first time following a tumultuous year for the music industry.
Taylor Swift, Beyonce and Dua Lipa will lead the charge at the reinvented Grammys in the US on Sunday night, when the music industry hopes to put a year-long pandemic behind it.
But an unusually diverse group of contenders for the top prize – album of the year – mean it could be anyone’s night.
“The nominations were so surprising – The Weeknd not getting nominated – it’s a very strange year to try to predict,” said Melinda Newman, executive editor at Billboard.
“I think it’s going to be a year where no-one makes a clean sweep.”
Beyonce, now the most nominated female artist in Grammy history with 79 career nods, leads all comers with nine nominations.
The nods come mostly from single Black Parade, which celebrated black culture in a year of racial turmoil in the United States.
But Beyonce is not on the list of musicians booked for the three-hour show, which will be hosted by The Daily Show’s Trevor Noah.
The awards will take place as a mix of live and pre-recorded performances, with no live audience because of the pandemic.
The likes of Swift, K-Pop band BTS, Billie Eilish, Harry Styles, Latin star Bad Bunny and country singer Mickey Guyton will perform.
Swift and British pop singer Lipa got six nominations apiece, along with rapper Roddy Ricch.
Lipa, and her album Future Nostalgia, may have the edge as the only one of that trio to get nods in all three of the big races – album, record, and song of the year.
“Dua Lipa has been everywhere this last year. It’s a really great happy dance disco revival,” said Alex Suskind, a senior editor at Entertainment Weekly.
Other nominations for the album of the year gong include Coldplay, Post Malone and Haim.
In the best rock performance category, Fiona Apple, Big Thief and Phoebe Bridgers are among the nominations.
Eilish, 19, who swept the 2020 Grammys with her debut album, is back again with three nods for her ballad Everything I Wanted, and one for her theme song for the upcoming James Bond film No Time To Die.
“I think the Billie Eilish train at the Grammys is going to keep rolling,” Suskind said.
South Korean boy band BTS marked a breakthrough year in the US by securing their first major Grammy nomination for their English-language hit Dynamite.
They will be performing from Korea at the event and hoping for a win in the closely contested best pop duo or group field.
The Grammys will be aired in Australia on Channel 10 from 11am AEDT on Monday.