58th Annual Grammy Nomination Predictions – The Pop Categories!

Taylor Swift, 1989 © Big Machine Records

The Grammy nominations will be unveiled before we know it. Before they are, here’s a look at who might snag nominations in the pop categories. Yes, that means Taylor Swift is a factor. Here we go!

Best Pop Solo Performance 

Ed Sheeran, X © Atlantic

Ed Sheeran, “Thinking Out Loud”

Taylor Swift, “Blank Space” (1989)

The Weeknd, “Can’t Feel My Face” (Beauty Behind the Madness)

Meghan Trainor, “Lips Are Movin” (Title)

Rachel Platten, “Fight Song”

Kelly Clarkson, “Heartbeat Song” (Piece By Piece) 

There are plenty of alluring, deserving pop solo performances this year – it’s just a matter of preference. Saying that this is Taylor Swift’s category to lose would be a massive understatement, no matter how great or popular “Blank Space” was. If the category looks anything like the aforementioned, it could be a crapshoot.

If you buy into the hype of Ed Sheeran being nominated for “Thinking Out Loud” on technicality (outside of his true eligibility period), that instantly intensifies the competition for one of the finest tracks on his X album. Even without him, what if The Weeknd gets a pop nomination for “Can’t Feel My Face” – definitely a better fit in the pop category than urban categories – that also stiffens things.

Trainor’s “Lips Are Movin” is no slouch, though “All About That Bass” was the breakthrough for her, while “Fight Song” by Rachel Platten is so uplifting. Don’t forget about Kelly Clarkson, who can pull off an upset easily it seems. There are others who would be a home here too, but it would be surprising not to see Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran (in some shape or fashion) nominated here. 

Best Pop Duo/Group Performance

Mark Ronson, Uptown Special © RCA

Mark Ronson featuring Bruno Mars, “Uptown Funk” (Uptown Special)

Maroon 5, “Sugar” (V)

Taylor Swift featuring Kendrick Lamar, “Blank Space” (1989)

Meghan Trainor featuring John Legend, “Like I’m Gonna Lose You” (Title)

Kelly Clarkson featuring John Legend, “Run Run Run” (Piece By Piece)

Twenty One Pilots, “Tear In My Heart” (Blurryface)

Pop Duo/Group also has plenty of worthy contenders. “Uptown Funk!” is likely the favorite, no way that you shake it. Sure, this would be a likely category to nominate Taylor Swift and Kendrick Lamar’s remix of “Bad Blood,” but there’s also the possibility that should it be nominated, it is placed in the Best Rap/Sung category. Taylor swift nominated in a rap category potentially – whoa!

Even if “Uptown Funk!” is the favorite, watch out for Maroon 5’s “Sugar,” which was nothing short of sugary sweet. If for some reason there’s an eligibility issue, could the explicit “This Summer’s Gonna Hurt” get a nod here? Also if Meghan Trainor has an abundance of nominations, she could see her duet with Grammy darling John Legend pop up here, perhaps more so than that schmaltzy retro-pop collaboration with Charlie Puth – just saying! Kelly Clarkson could also get John Legend another nod with “Run Run Run,” one of the years great, if underrated duets. What about all this non-love for Twenty One Pilots? Personally, it would be great to see “Tear In My Heart” get some love here.

Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album

Josh Groban, Stages © Reprise

Josh Groban, Stages

Tony Bennett & Bill Charlap, The Silver Lining: The Songs of Jerome Kern

Diana Krall, Wallflower

This hasn’t been the greatest year for traditional pop in its most traditional sense. Josh Groban definitely fits the mode with Stages. Tony Bennett’s collaboration with pianist Bill Charlap is a possibility as well IF this is the category that the particular album is nominated in as opposed to a jazz category.   There’s also the return of Diana Krall with Wallflower, which covers classics including “California Dreamin’” and “Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word.” We all know if Tony Bennett is nominated here though, WATCH OUT! 

P.S., could Nina Simone tribute album Nina Revisited get the nod here if voters “stretch” – would that be far-fetched?

Best Pop Vocal Album

Florence + The Machine, How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful © Island

Taylor Swift, 1989

Florence + The Machine, How Big How Blue How Beautiful

Meghan Trainor, Title

Kelly Clarkson, Piece By Piece

Twenty One Pilots, Blurryface

Adam Lambert, The Original High

Tori Kelly, Unbreakable Smile 

George Ezra, Wanted On Voyage

James Bay, Chaos and the Calm

If there is one category that is Taylor Swift’s to lose, it would seem to be Best Pop Vocal Album. While Taylor Swift is one of the surest nominees in the album of the year category, there are technically better albums positioned beside her (Kendrick Lamar should be a lock there as well). That said, if 1989 isn’t given “the big one” at the Grammys, it could earn Swift her first award for an album since Fearless won both album of the year and best country album.

Who is Swift’s biggest competition – Florence + The Machine and Kelly Clarkson. Adam Lambert is deserving of a nod for The Original High, as are Twenty One Pilots for Blurryface, but both could be easily overlooked. The Weeknd might even muster up an nod here for Beauty Behind The Madness given the pop success and pop crossover appeal. Still, hard to see Taylor Swift miss on this one.

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