Which diva will the music industry select for its top honors? Adele, who conquered the charts with time-tested ballads of heartache, or Beyonce, who has crafted an edgier, confident sound?
The two singers face off in three top categories Sunday night at the Grammy Awards in Los Angeles — where much attention will be on whether stars seize the televised moment to weigh in on tense political times in the United States.
Beyonce, who leads the Grammys with nine nominations, is due to make her first public appearance since setting the internet ablaze with news she is expecting twins with her husband Jay Z.
The 35-year-old, who became one of the world’s top stars with her R&B-rooted pop, took a more provocative approach with her latest album
“Lemonade,” which she intertwined with a film.
Delving into hip-hop as well as hard rock and even country, Beyonce
addresses “Lemonade” squarely at an audience of fellow African American women as she takes on issues from infidelity to police brutality.
Beyonce has won 20 Grammys over her career but, to her fans’ dismay, she has consistently lost out in the top categories of Album of the Year and Record of the Year, which recognizes the top overall song.
She faces a challenge from Adele, who chose to stick to her chart-topping sound on “25,” which features more ballads of heartache and nostalgia such as the ubiquitous hit “Hello.”
“25” proved to be the world’s top-selling album since the English singer’s last work, “21,” which won Album of the Year in 2012.
Beyonce and Adele face competition for Album of the Year from Toronto rapper Drake, who has broken streaming records with his readily danceable tunes.
Dark horses in the category are Justin Bieber’s “Purpose,” in which the tabloid fixture revived his sound with help from electronic producers, and “A Sailor’s Guide to Earth” by Sturgill Simpson, who has given some intellectual heft to country music through lyricism inspired by Buddhist philosophy.