The pop field is highly competitive this year as it includes most of the general field nominees as well as some of the hit singles of the year. Big names and NARAS’ favourites are nominated across the four categories of this field. Let’s now take a look at the odds in each of these categories:
Best Pop Solo Performance
- Sam Smith — Stay with Me (Darkchild Version)
- Pharrell Williams — Happy (Live)
- Sia — Chandelier
- John Legend — All of Me (Live)
- Taylor Swift — Shake It Off
The Pop Solo Performance category features three out of the five nominees in the Record and Song of the Year categories, and this results in an intense battle on who gets one of the most important of the genre-field awards. None of the nominees have contested this category before. Therefore, we will have a brand new winner for the second year in a row.
It is highly likely that we will have our first male winner as Sam Smith is the big favourite to win for his melancholic ballad “Stay with Me” (Darkchild Version). He not only provides amazing vocals but is also the current frontrunner for the Record of the Year award for this very same track. The second favourite is Pharrell Williams who had to submit the live version of “Happy” as this song was submitted last year before it became a worldwide hit. And if NARAS want to reward this song, this is their only chance.
The other three nominees have lesser chances at winning but don’t be surprised if they do. Sia’s “Chandelier” is also up for Record and Song of the Year; John Legend’s “All of Me” (Live) was one of the biggest singles of the year; and 7-time winner, Taylor Swift with “Shake It Off” is also in the running for Record and Song of the Year; however, this is the first nomination for Swift as an ‘official pop singer’.
Best Pop Duo/Group Performance
- A Great Big World & Christina Aguilera — Say Something
- Iggy Azalea & Charli XCX — Fancy
- Ariana Grande, Jessie J & Nicki Minaj — Bang Bang
- Katy Perry & Juicy J — Dark Horse
- Coldplay — A Sky Full of Stars
All of the contenders have equal chances at winning. However, it is A Great Big World & Christina Aguilera, with “Say Something”, that could take the award since it is the kind of ballad that the traditional voters will go for. On a further notice, Aguilera won the now defunct Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals back in 2002 for “Lady Marmalade”.
Another strong competitor is Record of the Year-nominee, Iggy Azalea & Charli XCX for “Fancy”. Nonetheless, what might prevent “Fancy” from winning is the fact that is not entirely a ‘pop song’. Pop songs with featured rap artists are yet to win in the pop field.
“Bang Bang” by Jessie J, Ariana Grande & Nicki Minaj could make a surprise; Katy Perry could win her first ever GRAMMY for her collaboration with Juicy J on “Dark Horse”; and lastly we have 7-time GRAMMY winners and the only former nominee, Coldplay for their dance club tune “A Sky Full of Stars”. If they win, they will be the first group to win in this category.
Best Pop Vocal Album
- Sam Smith — In the Lonely Hour
- Ed Sheeran — x
- Ariana Grande — My Everything
- Katy Perry — Prism
- Coldplay — Ghost Stories
- Miley Cyrus — Bangerz
There’s a fierce battle between the two Album of the Year nominees, Sam Smith’s In the Lonely Hour and Ed Sheeran’s x. However, Smith is the front-runner mainly because he holds more nominations (six) than Sheeran (three). Both Smith and Sheeran are first-timers in this category. On the other hand, if a voting split occurs between these two British male singers the winner could be Ariana Grande for My Everything. Grande has received a lot of exposure from the Academy lately.
The rest of the nominees have virtually no chance: Katy Perry is in for the second time with Prism. Britpop band, Coldplay are making their first appearance in the Pop Vocal Album category with Ghost Stories, after winning twice in the Best Alternative Music Album category and once in the Best Rock Album. Controversial pop singer, Miley Cyrus is in for her very first, and only, GRAMMY nomination with Bangerz.
Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album
- Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga — Cheek to Cheek
- Barbra Streisand — Partners
- Barry Manilow — Night Songs
- Annie Lennox — Nostalgia
- Johnny Mathis — Sending You A Little Christmas
The runaway winners here are Tony Bennett, who has won this category a total of eleven times, and 5-time GRAMMY winner, Lady Gaga for their album Cheek to Cheek. The only major thread to this duo would be Barbra Streisand for her duet album Partners. The rest of the nominees don’t stand a chance against these three giants. Just for the record, both Barry Manillow (Night Songs) and Johnny Mathis (Sending You A Little Christmas) have been nominated four times in this category. And four-time GRAMMY winner, Annie Lennox is in for the very first time in the Traditional Pop Vocal Album for her album of covers, Nostalgia.