Our Grammys contest winner praises Miley Cyrus’ nom, boos Lana Del Rey’s snub

“I was glad to see Miley Cyrus make in into the Pop Album category. I had a feeling she would because the album was actually pretty well-received and much better than the other pop starlets this year,” says Gold Derby’s contest champ Jalal Haddad (jhaddad in our forums). Haddad beat all others while predicting the Grammy nominations, earning the #1 position on our leaderboard as well as a $100 Amazon gift certificate.

Also in our chat, this 23-year-old University of Oregon graduate admits, “The most shocking snub for me was Lana Del Rey in every category including Album of the Year. After last year it seemed like she was finally beginning to gain some respect within the recording industry and I incorrectly thought this would be her big year in terms of nominations.” Below, read the entire Q&A with our 2014 Grammy nominations contest winner.

Grammy Awards: Complete list of nominations

How long have you been following/predicting the Grammys?

I’ve always been interested in all of the major awards for as long as I can remember and have been actively predicting the Grammys since the Gold Derby predictions centers started, and before that coming up with my own lists.

Besides Miley Cyrus, were there any longshot contenders you were rooting for this year that came true?

Even though it wasn’t in the predictions center I had this feeling that “Take Me To Church” would make it into Song of the Year. I pushed for it in the forums and am glad it came true. The voters’ branch loves up-and-coming alternative artists like Hozier (think Bon Iver). Meghan Trainor also made it into Song of the Year which a lot of people in the forums were fighting against because “All About That Bass” isn’t that good, but on paper she looks like the perfect contender. Trainor is a female songwriter who finally made it into pop music herself. She also has roots in Nashville.

What were the most shocking Grammy nomination snubs this year?

Besides Lana Del Rey, I was also disappointed to see FKA Twigs receive zero nominations. Her album gained great reviews and she appealed to both R&B and alternative crowds.

Looking ahead to your final predictions, what do you think will win Album of the Year?

Beyonce will win Album of the Year. She is one of the most respected women in the industry and just became the most nominated woman at the Grammys. This is the best album of her career and the way she released it gained a lot of attention. She also has very little competition.

Grammy Awards nominations: Beyonce sets record, Sam Smith sweeps

What are you predicting for Record of the Year?

Record of the Year is most likely Sam Smith. He stands out against the other nominees here because it is the only ballad and the song was insanely popular. “Shake It Off” could also win for Taylor Swift, but I feel like vote splitting could occur between her and Trainor.

And what about Song of the Year?

Song of the Year really could be any of the five nominees. Trainor and Swift could get the support of Nashville. Sia is a very well respected songwriter. Sam Smith had one of the most beloved songs of the year and is being compared to Adele. Hozier’s “Take Me to Church” stands out amongst the five nominees and the song is gaining in popularity on the radio right now while the other four are fading. The situation with Hozier is very similar to Lorde‘s “Royals” which ended up winning last year.

Finally, who do you think will win Best New Artist?

The frontrunner for Best New Artist is clearly Sam Smith. He had a nomination in every single major category and has the voice of an angel. If anyone is going to beat him it would be Haim. This category loves female artists and there is no one cooler in the industry right now than these three sisters. I might end up predicting them closer to Grammy night, but for now I need to sit on it.

What other events do you predict at Gold Derby?

I predict all of the major awards (Oscars, Emmys, Golden Globes, SAG, and Tonys) as well as the critics awards. I also participated in “Rupaul’s Drag Race,” “Project Runway” and “Big Brother.”

Thanks Jalal!

10 biggest snubs in Grammys nominations: ‘Let It Go,’ Lady Gaga …

Who will win the Grammy for Best New Artist? Vote using our easy-drag-and-drop menu below Gold Derby’s Grammys slugfest with Tom O’Neil, Troy “Troy” Escamilla and Quintale “Music Forever” Forte.

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