There is a reason I don’t do forecasts on the Oscars, the Golden Globes, the SAG Awards, and all the other staples of award show season; getting the opportunity to see everything nominated for these awards are too exhausting and time-consuming for my taste. Plus, compared to something like music, movies are not exactly my wheelhouse of critical breakdown. Don’t get me wrong, I will have some movie and TV-based Tuesday Top 10s coming up, but they’ll be few and far between compared to the music and wrestling ones. Luckily for the Grammy Awards, they’re supposed to be seen as the biggest night in music, where only the best of the best walk away with a coveted trophy. That’s right, it’s not a popularity contest…or is it?
OK, I’m not here to condemn the Grammys for their many, MANY wrong decisions of ceremonies past: I’m here to look forward to this year’s Grammys and predict who’ll win a golden gramophone. Now, keep in mind that the Grammys have tons of categories, most of which cover genres of music I’m not at all familiar with; I’m probably the last person you should trust with categories like “Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance”, “Best Opera Recording”, or basically any other award that’s guaranteed to go out on the Grammy’s pre-show stream. But as for the major genres such as pop, rock, rap, R&B, country, and the general field? That’s a can-do for me.
The only problem with that is that it is still a load of awards to cover. Therefore, unlike the Slammy Awards Forecast, where I shoved a load of categories into on post, I’m gonna separate this all into four different posts and you can just read up on the fields that interest you: post #1 will cover the rock and country fields, post #2 will cover the rap and R&B fields, post #3 will cover the pop, dance, music video, and visual media fields, and the post will cover the Big 4 of Best New Artist, Song, Record, and Album of the Year. It may still take as much will power to read as it took for me to write (hence why I’ve decided not to do a Tuesday Top 10 this week), but hopefully it’ll be just as fun as sitting through the ceremony itself will be. I expect SO many piano ballads; I hope not, though. I have to miss out on most of Monday Night RAW for this, and anything that makes me miss my wrestling better be worth it! So let’s go ahead and dive into the rock and country fields to see what we’re dealing with there.
Best Pop Solo Performance
Kelly Clarkson vs. Ellie Goulding vs. Ed Sheeran vs. Taylor Swift vs. The Weeknd
Taylor Swift does battle with two members of her own personal version of the nWo (I imagine she’ll one day have as many members in her squad as the 90s wrestling stable eventually ended up having) in this category, as British musicians and former brief lovebirds Ellie Goulding and Ed Sheeran are also nominated. While Taylor is nominated for her satirical take on her public persona, Ellie Goulding is nominated for my favorite thing to come out of the whole Fifty Shades of Grey phenomenon and Ed Sheeran is nominated for what is sure to be your wedding song if you get married in the near future. Like Goulding, The Weeknd was also on the Fifty Shades of Grey soundtrack, but his nominated song is actually the Michael Jackson-esque earworm “Can’t Feel My Face”. Finally, we have Kelly Clarkson, who came back big with “Heartbeat Song”; not my favorite song by her (or even on the album), but it did its job in letting us know she was back.
Who I Want to Win: Easily Taylor Swift. Love all the other songs, but I’m T-Swift all the way here!
Who Will Win: Taylor Swift. She has this one won, trust me.
Best Pop Duo/Group Performance
Florence + The Machine vs. Maroon 5 vs. Mark Ronson & Bruno Mars vs. Taylor Swift & Kendrick Lamar vs. Wiz Khalifa & Charlie Puth
I think the weak link of this category is Maroon 5; that doesn’t necessarily mean that I don’t think they have a chance in hell of winning, but it does mean that I’ve never cared for “Sugar”. Never cared for it when it was in heavy rotation on the radio and I don’t care about it now. The other nominees, however, I feel have more to them. Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth’s song is a tribute to a dead actor and his character from a popular movie franchise and it could lead to the first Grammy win for both men. Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars already have Grammys, but they could take home more; the Academy may be mostly elderly folk, but I doubt even they could resist “Uptown Funk”. Taylor Swift and Kendrick Lamar went to war with a remix that while not particularly great, I honestly preferred over the album version; sorry, I didn’t think the album version of “Bad Blood” was all that. And then Florence + The Machine jump in with “Ship to Wreck”, a song that probably should have been bigger than it was.
Who I Want to Win: For the love of God, give Florence + The Machine a Grammy already!
Who Will Win: Mark Ronson & Bruno Mars are probably taking it.
Best Pop Vocal Album
Piece By Piece vs. How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful vs. Uptown Special vs. 1989 vs. Before This World
Originally, I thought James Taylor was in the wrong category because the first track on his album sounds so country. It does become more pop over time…I guess. I don’t know, it still sounds country to me in most parts due to the acoustic guitar. But based on name recognition with the modern audience, which you know the Grammys consider when choosing some of these winners, he has no chance. Taylor Swift, Florence + The Machine, Kelly Clarkson, and Mark Ronson are the only serious contenders here. I own Kelly, Florence, and Taylor’s old albums and honestly, none of their nominated albums here are my favorite albums by ANY of them. Hell, Kelly won this award twice in 2006 and 2013 for albums I enjoyed more than Piece by Piece. But you know what they say; an artist must mature, and that the now-mother did on this album. And just because I prefer Ceremonials and Lungs doesn’t mean How Big, How Blue, How beautiful has no worth; quite the contrary and Florence voice is still amazing on it. And 1989 was never gonna sound like Taylor’s old work anyway since it’s her first album to include 0% country songs; but her 80s influence did wonders for it though and it’s solid for what it is. And Mark Ronson is a great producer, so you know his album has some jams on it…singles “Uptown Funk” and “Feel Right” are still the best ones.
Who I Want to Win: Taylor Swift; 1989 may not be my favorite album of hers, but it’s still a good pop album.
Who Will Win: Taylor Swift; she totally has this one won too.
Best Dance Recording
Above & Beyond & Zoe Johnston vs. The Chemical Brothers & Q-Tip vs. Flying Lotus & Kendrick Lamar vs. Galantis vs. Skrillex & Diplo & Justin Bieber
It would be too easy to say that Jack Ü is going to get this award, right? “Where Are Ü Now” was a big hit for Skrillex, Diplo, and Mr. Most Improved himself Justin Bieber; it would make sense that they’d nab the Grammy for it, right? Well, not so fast. While I really do like that song, the other nominees aren’t exactly slouches. This isn’t The Chemical Brothers’ first rodeo and they bought rapper Q-Tip along for the ride for a futuristic, catchy, bleep-bloop kind of track in “Go”. Flying Lotus also teamed up with a rapper, namely current hip-hop star Kendrick Lamar; their song has the most urban touch to it. If an EDM act didn’t get top billing, I wouldn’t be shocked to hear this was just a regular hip-hop song with a unique beat…OK, unique compared to the current trap-obsessed landscape. Above & Beyond teamed with Zoe Johnston on a song that honestly makes me feel like I’m in space when I hear it. And Galantis’ song sounds like something you can rave to; so why I’ve never heard it on the radio, I don’t know.
Who I Want to Win: I’d still love to see “Where Are U Now” win…yes, that means I actually endorse Justin Bieber winning a Grammy. There’s a first time for everything.
Who Will Win: I think Jack U and Bieber got this one.
Best Music Video
A$AP Rocky vs. The Dead Weather vs. Kendrick Lamar vs. Taylor Swift & Kendrick Lamar vs. Pharrell Williams
So this is A$AP Rocky‘s second Grammy nomination; he was previously nominated for Best Rap Song for “F*ckin’ Problems” with 2 Chainz, Drake, and Kendrick Lamar. Even though I secretly do enjoy “F*ckin’ Problems”, I feel like this nomination was more deserved; I’ve never been high a day in my life, but the bright closers and extreme close-ups in “L.S.D.” is how I imagine the experience of being on the drug would be like. Meanwhile, Pharrell Williams basically made “Happy” 2.0 by traveling to many different locations for “Freedom”, but with a message this time. Alison Mosshart of The Dead Weather keeps getting knocked back to the gray by a vicious storm in “I Feel Love (Every Million Miles). Kendrick Lamar is here twice; first for his own video where he’s a guy, almost one of the X-Men in the hood, with amazing floating ability and perfect balance who wants to bring hope to his oppressed people in “Alright” and second as part of Taylor Swift’s star-studded squad out to help her get revenge against a turncoat played by Selena Gomez. For the record, this is probably the closest Selena Gomez will ever get to a Grammy nomination.
Who I Want to Win: Kendrick Lamar and The Dead Weather have my favorite videos here.
Who Will Win: I think it’ll be Kendrick, hip-hop heads!
Best Compilation Soundtrack
Empire: Season 1 vs. Fifty Shades of Grey vs. Glen Campbell vs. Pitch Perfect 2 vs. Selma
Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me was a documentary about an iconic country music star and the soundtack only had a literally four artists on it: Glen Campbell himself, his daughter Ashley Campbell, The Wrecking Crew as a featured artist, and The Band Perry, who won a Grammy last year for their cover track from the album “Gentle On My Mind”. Speaking of covers, you’ll get a few of those on the soundtrack to acapella juggernaut Pitch Perfect 2. Spoiler alert: not every song on it is acapella and it features an unlikely collaboration between Snoop Dogg and Anna Kendrick. Selma will probably be your parent’s favorite album here; it soundtracks a major event in civil rights history, so obviously the soundtrack will be all bluesy and jazzy. Hell, the second track on it is an Otis Redding song. If you’ve seen Empire at all, you’re familiar with the modern rap and R&B music they make on there; I guarantee you’ve heard “You’re So Beautiful” by now at least. Finally, Fifty Shades of Grey joins it’s ancestor Twilight on the list of soundtracks that are better than the actual movie; Ellie Goulding, Beyonce, AWOLNATION, The Rolling Stones, Sia, The Weeknd, and even Annie Lennox are all on this thing.
Who I Want to Win: Either Fifty Shades of Grey for having a sultry, diverse soundtrack or Empire for having such a catchy one.
Who Will Win: Selma. It’s going to be Selma.
Best Song Written For Visual Media
“Earned It” vs. “Love Me Like You Do” vs. “Glory” vs. “See You Again” vs. “Til it Happens To You”
The only song I had to look up for this category was “Til It Happens To You” because I’ve never heard this song which apparently comes from song movie called The Hunting Ground, which I’ve also never heard of. As expected, Lady GaGa‘s vocals are strong, but I can’t say I cared much for the song. As for the hits, Fifty Shades of Grey made it in twice for The Weeknd and Ellie Goulding’s massive pop smashes; most would say The Weeknd’s song would have the better shot at victory, but don’t count my girl Ellie out….or could you? I mean, when it comes down to it, there’s still one tribute song here about a deceased actor and another one that has historical racial importance, actually closed out last year’s Grammy ceremony, and already won an Oscar. Yeah, I think Common and John Legend might have this one.
Who I Want to Win: I so want to see an Ellie Goulding song (whether she wrote it or not) win a Grammy this year. But…
Who Will Win: Common & John Legend have this won.
Do you agree with the forecast? Who do you see winning a Grammy Award? Who are you rooting for to win? Do you even care? Tag me on Twitter@FearlessRiOT and let me know or leave a comment below. Then check out the Grammys this Monday on CBS to see which predictions come true. Hope you all enjoy the show!