On November 4, the CMA Awards anointed Chris Stapleton as country music's heir apparent. He won New Artist of the Year, as predicted by Gold Derby's odds, but he also pulled off upsets for Male Vocalist and Album of the Year ("Traveller") against established country stars, and he got the evening's centerpiece performance: a showstopping duet with pop idol Justin Timberlake. Does that mean Stapleton is a force to be reckoned with at the Grammys too?
A country artist has been nominated for Best New Artist at the Grammys for 10 out of the last 11 years:
2004 – Gretchen Wilson
2005 – Sugarland
2006 – Carrie Underwood (WINNER)
2007 – Taylor Swift
2008 – Lady Antebellum
2009 – Zac Brown Band (WINNER)
2011 – The Band Perry
2012 – Hunter Hayes
2013 – Kacey Musgraves
2014 – Brandy Clark
For now our predictions favor this year's country slot to go to Sam Hunt. According to our official racetrack odds, which are based on the combined predictions of our Editors (those of us Gold Derby writers who cover awards year-round), Top 24 Users (those two dozen folks who had the best scores predicting last year's CMAs) and all Users who have entered our predictions contest, Hunt ranks third with odds of 15/2, behind Hozier and Meghan Trainor. Meanwhile, Stapleton ranks 15th with distant odds of 66/1.
Stapleton may have defeated Hunt for New Artist at the CMAs, but Hunt has had more mainstream success; his debut album, "Montevallo," has greatly outsold Stapleton's "Traveller," and Hunt managed a trio of American Music Award nominations – including New Artist of the Year – while Stapleton was shut out.
But sales don't account for everything. Brandy Clark's Grammy nom last year came despite the less-than-stellar commercial performance of her debut album "12 Stories," but she was a critics' darling, and she had an established track record writing songs for other artists.
So does Stapleton. He has written number-one country songs for Kenny Chesney, George Strait and Darius Rucker, and his credits also include tracks recorded by Adele, Alison Krauss and even this year's CMA Entertainer of the Year Luke Bryan. Stapleton's own CMA coronation seems to establish him as the industry's choice. Will that translate to the recording academy's seal of approval at the Grammys?
Who do you think will win New Artist? Make your own Grammy predictions now to the right or at the bottom of this post, and you could win a $100 Amazon gift card as well as a place of honor on our leaderboard and a starring role in next year's Top 24 Users (the two dozen folks who do the best predicting this year's Grammy nominees).
Last year, our Top 24 Users and all Gold Derby Users tied with an accuracy rate of 58.75% when it came to predicting the Grammy nominations, while Editors trailed with 42.50% (Click on any of these groups to see what they got right and wrong last year.)
Which group will be victorious this year? User jhaddad got the top score predicting the nominations last year with a 75% accuracy rate. As some of our Users turn out to be our smartest prognosticators, it's important that you give us your predictions. Your picks influence our Users racetrack odds, which also factor into our official combined odds.
Chris Stapleton CMAs Photo Credit: ABC