Best Pop Solo Performance
Idina Menzel – Let It Go
Taylor Swift – Shake It Off
Meghan Trainor – All About That Bass
Sam Smith – Stay With Me
Sia – Chandalier
Alternatives: Ed Sheeran – Don’t, Pharrell Williams – Happy (Live), Ellie Goulding – Burn
A hotly contested category that can often throw up a few surprises on the night, see Adele beating out Kelly Clarkson 2 years ago with a live version of Set Fire To The Rain, so we could see some similar surprises here. The choices above have all been mentioned in some form in the first few articles so it’s no surprise to see them here. Taylor is no stranger to the Grammys and I expect she will make her first appearance in a Pop category this year, leaving behind her Country roots for good. Sam Smith, Idina and Sia are also pretty obvious choices, three completely different songs which are sure to find their own audience among the voters.
Meghan Trainor is possibly the outlier, placed ahead of Pharrell’s live performance of Happy given that he’s not exactly known for his live vocal performance with that song. All About That Bass will probably miss out on the big awards, but could just sneak in here ahead of a more obvious choice like Ed Sheeran. Ellie Goulding is an interesting one for me, as she’s yet to recieve a nomination at the Grammys. Her worldwide smash Lights missed out on eligibility thanks to its extended 2 year rise to the top end of the Hot 100 so Burn could see her receieve recognition from the voters.
As far as winners go, Idina Menzel has this one in the bag. If Frozen is going to win any award next year it will be for Adele Dazeem’s performance on Let It Go. A monumental vocal performance, the last Disney song to be nominated for a Pop award was Vanessa Williams’ version of Colors of the Wind in 1996, which missed out on the night to Annie Lennox. Idina is the one to beat here.
Best Pop Duo/Group Performance
A Great Big World – Say Something (Feat. Christina Aguilera)
Ariana Grande – Problem (Feat. Iggy Azalea)
Coldplay – A Sky Full Of Stars
Iggy Azalea – Fancy (Feat. Charli XCX)
Magic! – Rude
Alternatives: Lady Gaga – Do What You Want (Feat. R Kelly), Nico & Vinz – Am I Wrong, Katy Perry – Dark Horse (feat. Juicy J)
A category much more representative of the songs topping the charts across the world, Groups and collaborations are leading the way these days. It’s interesting to see that labels are submitting songs for this award and not for the Rap/Sung Collaboration award too. Dark Horse, Fancy and Problem would all be eligible there, but the focus is being places on the Pop performance category. These songs are probably the early favourites, though the two Iggy Azalea songs could compete for votes on the final ballot.
Coldplay and Magic! showcase the other side of the category, taking the spaces usually reserved for Maroon 5. It’s interesting that Coldplay have submitted A Sky Full Of Stars for Pop as they usually appear in the Rock categories, possibly an example of shift the band has taken in the last few years. I’d be surprised if they don’t make it in here alongside Magic!’s huge hit.
That leaves A Great Big World and Christina Aguilera, who surely have this award in the bag already. As I mentioned in my Record of the Year article, Say Something is Grammy gold, the sort of song the voters adore. The understated performance is sure to resonate here, a category I nearly expect Aguilera to make multiple appearances in, if her surprise Lady Gaga collaboration had been submitted. As it stands though, the R Kelly version of Do What You Want is the choice here, so I think Gaga could miss out on what should have been an obvious nomination. I’d be baffled if Say Something doesn’t win this award on the night.
Best Pop Vocal Album
Coldplay – Ghost Stories
Ed Sheeran – x
Katy Perry – Prism
Sam Smith – In The Lonely Hour
Sia – 1000 Forms Of Fear
Alternatives: Celine Dion – Loved Me Back To Life, Lana Del Rey – Ultraviolence, Jason Mraz – Yes!
As much as there have been countless hit pop songs in the last 12 months, it’s hard to say the same about albums. If it wasn’t for acts like Ed Sheeran and Coldplay aiming purely for the Pop category this year, this award could see some major surprises in the nominees. As it stands I’d say Ed, Sam and Sia are the early frontrunners here. All could see success in Album Of The Year, so are obvious picks for the genre award. I’d say Sia could snatch this one from the other two if she doesn’t make it into the main award. The last two years have seen an album not nominated for Album Of The Year winning this award, notably Bruno Mars and Kelly Clarkson.
My alternatives here are exactly that, all three acts have scored nominations in the past, so we could see any of them sneaking in ahead of Coldplay or Katy. Both of these have received plenty of Grammy nominations over the years. Coldplay’s Ghost Stories may not have set the charts alight like their previous releases, but it could find an audience among the voters here. Coldplay have won more Grammys than anyone else I’ve mentioned so far, so I’d be surprised if they don’t score a nomination here.
Katy Perry on the other hand has been nominated a total of 11 times, including appearances in Song, Record and Album Of The Year, but still hasn’t managed to win a trophy. The push for Prism to change this will be big this year, lead single Roar appeared in Song Of The Year, but the album may not be strong enough to follow on from Teenage Dream in the Big 4 again. Pop Vocal Album is her best chance of a nomination, or even a win if the voters want to change her Grammy fortunes for good.