The question in the Pop categories at the Grammy Awards is always one of eligibility. Which songs and albums will be submitted into genre specific categories when you have the likes of The Weeknd, DJ Khaled and Calvin Harris edging the lines into the pop categories, a factor that’s even more prevalent in 2017 with a certain Spanish worldwide smash. Here’s my predictions for this year’s nominees:
Best Pop Solo Performance
Issues – Julia Michaels
Million Reasons – Lady Gaga
Praying – Kesha
That’s What I Like – Bruno Mars
Shape of You – Ed Sheeran
Alternatives: Look What You Made Me Do – Taylor Swift, Sorry Not Sorry – Demi Lovato, Too Good At Goodbyes – Sam Smith
Best Pop Duo/Group Performance
Despacito (Remix) – Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee (Featuring Justin Bieber)
I Feel It Coming – The Weeknd (Featuring Daft Punk)
Something Just Like This – Coldplay & The Chainsmokers
Wild Thoughts – DJ Khaled (Featuring Rihanna & Bryson Tiller)
1-800-275-8255 – Logic (Featuring Alessia Cara & Khalid)
Feels – Calvin Harris (Featuring Pharrell Williams, Katy Perry & Big Sean), Hard Times – Paramore, I Don’t Wanna Live Forever – Taylor Swift & Zayn
Best Pop Vocal Album
÷ – Ed Sheeran
Melodrama – Lorde
Rainbow – Kesha
Tell Me You Love Me – Demi Lovato
24K Magic – Bruno Mars
Alternatives: After Laughter – Paramore, Harry Styles – Harry Styles, Joanne – Lady Gaga
There’s a number of names here that I expect we will be seeing across plenty of categories in 2018. Ed Sheeran and Bruno Mars are surely two of the front runners for the ceremony in general with each having more than one of the biggest hits of the year eligible here. Both of their huge albums are the obvious favourites in that category, but it will be interesting to see whether they split their hits between the categories and which will be submitted in the Performance category. I’d personally much prefer to see Ed opt for Castle On The Hill here and Bruno 24K Magic, both of which are easily stronger performances than the songs I’ve included above. That said, I think they will stick with the biggest hits – Shape of You and That’s What I Like – in a bid to keep voters invested in just one track.
Both of these songs stand out as danceable smashes next to the trio of female mid tempo/ballads I’ve completed the Pop Solo category. Issues is probably the outlier here and while I was tempted to go for Taylor Swift’s recent hit, or even the powerful vocals from Demi Lovato on Sorry Not Sorry, there’s something about Julie Michaels’ subtle performance here that will resonate with voters. Kesha’s return to the spotlight with a career best vocal performance on the most emotional and heartbreakingly personal song of her career should give her a strong chance of a nomination here too, as well as a strong chance in the Pop Vocal Album category too. It’s Lady Gaga that probably has the strongest chance to upset the Bruno/Ed party though, with Million Reasons giving her the first genuine singalong ballad radio hit of her now lengthy career. I think that the focus will remain on this one track and Joanne might actually end up becoming only the second album of Gaga’s career to miss a nomination.
Pop Duo/Group Performance is where things get really interesting and difficult to predict, where there are 3 songs I’m not even convinced will be submitted here and not in the genre specific category. Wild Thoughts is basically a Rihanna song, which is why I think they will submit it here, while 1-800-275-8255 runs that same line between rap and Pop, but didn’t receive nearly enough Rap radio support to be submitted there. Despacito is the biggest question mark though, as with no Latin specific song category Pop is the only place it has a chance. If they submit the version without Justin Bieber it might even miss out on a nomination completely, a ridiculous situation when the biggest hit of the last decade is snubbed at the Grammys.
The only dead certs in the Group category are surely the two songs that combine a recent Grammy favourite – The Chainsmokers and The Weeknd – with a classic Grammy favourite – Coldplay and Daft Punk respectively. Both Something Just Like This and I Feel It Coming were inescapable at the start of the year and are sure to be favourites here if the aforementioned tracks don’t make the cut.
That just leaves Pop Vocal Album, where outside of the albums I have mentioned earlier, I’d be surprised if Lorde doesn’t pick up a nomination for her highly critically acclaimed second album Melodrama and it could be the second album in a row for Demi Lovato that recieves a nomination here. Outside chances? Paramore could make an appearance in the pop categories again with album After Laughter being their strongest chance, while Harry Styles could join fellow One Direction alumni Zayn Malik with a nomination for his album; ironic considering the latter’s would be for Taylor Swift duet I Don’t Wanna Live Forever. It’s noticeable that Grammy favourites who have only released one single this year so far don’t make an appearance above, but it’s easy to believe that the likes of P!nk, Kelly Clarkson and Sam Smith could sneak in with their recent releases.
Expect to see plenty of these records and albums among the mix in the general field too when I continue my Grammys 2018 Nomination Predictions throughout October.