Best Pop Solo Performance
Thinking Out Loud – Ed Sheeran
Love Me Like You Do – Ellie Goulding
Fight Song – Rachel Platten
Blank Space – Taylor Swift
Can’t Feel My Face – The Weeknd
Alternatives: Hold My Hand – Jess Glynne, What Do You Mean – Justin Bieber, Shoud’ve Been Us – Tori Kelly
Best Pop Duo/Group Performance
Sugar – Maroon 5
Uptown Funk – Mark Ronson Featuring Bruno Mars
Bad Blood – Taylor Swift Featuring Kendrick Lamar
FourFiveSeconds – Rihanna & Kanye West & Paul McCartney
See You Again – Wiz Khalifa Featuring Charlie Puth
Alternatives: Lay Me Down – Sam Smith Featuring John Legend, Like I’m Gonna Lose You – Meghan Trainor Featuring John Legend, Shut Up And Dance – Walk The Moon
Best Pop Vocal Album
How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful – Florence and the Machine
Piece By Piece – Kelly Clarkson
Uptown Special – Mark Ronson
Title – Meghan Trainor
1989 – Taylor Swift
Alternatives: Honeymoon – Lana Del Rey, Nick Jonas – Nick Jonas, Communion – Years & Years
Every year I start my pop genre article thinking I have my nominations picked out already and every year I end up changing the list completely by the end. You’re never short of potential nominees for the pop category, but whittling it down to just 5 can be difficult. A couple of songs have me unsure of their eligibility, most notably Jealous by Nick Jonas and Thinking Out Loud by Ed Sheeran released at either end of September last year. I’ve opted to exclude Nick here, while I think Ed will have just about been able to sneak in. Everything else is from 2015 so there’s no other ones that might miss out.
The fact that I’ve included The Weeknd in a Pop category for my predictions this year is baffling. A year ago you’d have never thought he could score a Hot 100 #1, never mind one on the Pop Songs chart. Can’t Feel My Face is the obvious favourite for the Solo Performance award, probably alongside Blank Space. Taylor will definitely be nominated here, with Thinking Out Loud the last of my certain picks for Solo. I’d say Fight Song and Love Me Like You Do are outside picks, despite both being massive hits this year. For me they more than deserve a place here, even though something tells me the voters may edge towards acts like Tori Kelly and maybe even Justin Beiber.
Group is always an interesting one too, where Maroon 5 are all but guaranteed a nomination, especially with a song as big as Sugar. 3 Grammy favourites coming together for an unexpected collaboration? Of course FourFiveSeconds will be here too. I think Like I’m Gonna Lose You could attract the Adult Contemporary voters but in such a competitive category Meghan will probably miss out. Bad Blood and See You Again could find it difficult to score the main prize as they lean towards Rap so heavily. It seems redundant to even suggest that Uptown Funk isn’t the favourite though, success or not, the performance from Bruno Mars on that track more than deserves the awards it is sure to win for him and Mark Ronson.
Taylor Swift will win Best Pop Vocal Album for the first album she has submitted for the category. Anyone thinking anyone else has a chance in that category is kidding themselves. The other 4 are obvious choices and potential Album of the Year nominees too, but if 1989 only gives Taylor Swift one award next year, it will definitely be this.