Meet This Year's Best Pop Solo Performance Nominees | 2022 GRAMMYs Awards Show
Editor's Note: The 2022 GRAMMYs Awards show, officially known as the 64th GRAMMY Awards, has been rescheduled to Sunday, April 3, at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. The below article was updated on Tuesday, Jan. 18, to reflect the new show date and location.
The GRAMMY Pop categories always see some stiff competition, and the 2022 GRAMMY Awards show is no different.
This year’s lineup of nominees for Best Pop Solo Performance features pop’s newest princess Olivia Rodrigo, powerhouses Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande, and Billie Eilish, and a first-time pop entry from Americana star Brandi Carlile. Considering the vocal talent among those five, there’s no telling which song will come out on top.
We’ll find out who wins this highly competitive category on the 64th Annual Grammy Awards airing on CBS on Jan. 31, 2022. In the meantime, take a look at this year’s infinitely talented nominees whose extraordinary vocals have captivated millions.
"Anyone" — Justin Bieber
Synth-pop love song “Anyone,” the third single from Justin Bieber’s sixth record Justice, sees the two-time GRAMMY winner professing his never-ending devotion to his lover (which, of course, is his beloved wife Hailey).
The heartfelt track is quite the romantic epic, beginning with Bieber’s hushed vocals over a buoyant beat before blasting into an anthemic chorus as the singer proclaims, “You are the only one I'll ever love/ Yeah, you, if it's not you, it's not anyone.”
While “Anyone” isn’t one of Bieber’s most commercially successful singles, it’s arguably one of Bieber’s most impassioned vocal performances of his career, serving as an album highlight and an adorable display of affection for his wife.
"Right On Time" — Brandi Carlile
“Right On Time,” the lead single for Carlile’s seventh studio album, In These Silent Days, is the six-time GRAMMY winner’s sonic response to quarantine. The beautifully melancholic and piano-driven ballad finds Carlile desperate to reconcile with someone close to her, after she unwittingly destroys a relationship by unleashing a torrent of pent up emotion.
“Help me to rewind and we can find ourselves again,” sings Carlile on the first verse. The gripping song starts with a simple piano before drums, organ, and guitars enter the mix for the second half, which sees Carlile’s dynamic vocals soar.
Co-written with Dave Cobb — who co-produced the track with Shooter Jennings — and brother bandmates Tim and Phil Hanseroth, “Right On Time” marks Carlile’s first pop nomination.
"Happier Than Ever" — Billie Eilish
Like all of Eilish’s catalog, “Happier Than Ever” — the title track to her 2021 album — was written with and produced by the singer’s brother, Finneas O’Connell, in their home recording studio. But coming in at just under 5 minutes, the sibling masterminds’ longest song to date may also be their most cinematic.
The jazz and torch ballad-inspired tune, which begins softly with Eilish’s intimately delivered vocals and a soft acoustic guitar, finds Eilish telling a selfish and self-destructive ex-boyfriend that she’s happier away from him. "When I'm away from you, I'm happier than ever," sings Eilish.
Then, halfway through, the track breaks into a sweeping electric extravaganza, as Eilish raises her voice to declare, “I don't relate to you, no/ 'Cause I'd never treat me this s***ty.”
Eilish hearkens back to the gritty guitar and pounding production of her Album Of The Year-winning When We Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? on the remainder of “Happier Than Ever,” reminding listeners just how versatile her voice and her sound can be.
"Positions" — Ariana Grande
Less than two years after Ariana Grande served up all of the sass on her GRAMMY-nominated LP, 2019’s Thank U, Next, she fell in love, flipped the script, and delivered another smash.
The sexy, smooth song finds Grande smitten with a romantic partner for whom she’d do anything, while trying to avoid mistakes she made in past relationships. “Know my love infinite, nothin' I wouldn't do/ That I won't do, switchin' for you,” she asserts on the undulating chorus.
The R&B-infused “Positions” — which features her signature wavy harmonic production, pizzicato guitar, viola, and trap drums — became Grande’s fifth No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, debuting atop the chart in November 2020. The feat further extended a record Grande had already set, as she has the most number-one debuts in history — solidifying her position as one of pop’s reigning queens.
"drivers license" — Olivia Rodrigo
After Olivia Rodrigo caught attention with her original song “All I Want” from the Disney+ series High School Musical: The Musical: The Series (in which she stars as the lead female, Nini), she took her career to new heights with the instant phenomenon, “drivers license.”
The piano-driven power ballad finds Rodrigo heartbroken and ruminating over an ex-boyfriend while driving around her neighborhood — and past her ex’s street — while speculating that he’s moved on with a new romantic partner. The simple, yet affecting production allows Rodrigo’s tender vocals to shine, starting off with a low-ringing piano before building to an echoing belt-along chorus that climaxes with the heart-rending lyric, “Guess you didn't mean what you wrote in that song about me.”
It’s a sentiment so hyper-specific that it’s relatable to the now 18-year-old’s peers and beyond, which was immediately apparent upon the song’s January release. “drivers license” debuted at No. 1 on the Hot 100, where it sat for a consecutive eight weeks, becoming the longest-running number-one debut single in the chart's history.
The track was also the biggest first-week global streaming debut on Amazon Music, and broke the Spotify record for most streams of a non-holiday song in one day, before breaking its own record the very next day, making it the most ever streamed song on Spotify in a single week.