As of this writing, Hozier leads our Grammy predictions for Best New Artist. Our , derived from the predictions of our editors who cover music awards year-round and hundreds of our readers, has him in first with odds of 7/2, followed by Meghan Trainor with odds of 5/1. But we shouldn't underestimate breakout country star Sam Hunt.
It's no wonder Hozier and Trainor are favored by our predictors. They were both nominated in the general field last year, which proves the recording academy likes them. Hozier was up for Song of the Year for "Take Me to Church," and Trainor competed for both Song and Record of the Year for "All About That Bass" (they both lost to Sam Smith's "Stay with Me"), but their debut albums weren't released until the current eligibility period, which makes them eligible for New Artist in this contest.
But don't count out Hunt, who ranks third with odds of 15/2. A country artist has been nominated for Best New Artist for 10 out of the last 11 years:
2004 – Gretchen Wilson (lost to Maroon 5)
2005 – Sugarland (lost to John Legend)
2006 – Carrie Underwood (WINNER)
2007 – Taylor Swift (lost to Amy Winehouse)
2008 – Lady Antebellum (lost to Adele)
2009 – Zac Brown Band (WINNER)
2011 – The Band Perry (lost to Bon Iver)
2012 – Hunter Hayes (lost to Fun.)
2013 – Kacey Musgraves (lost to Macklemore & Ryan Lewis)
2014 – Brandy Clark (lost to Sam Smith)
There's reason to believe Hunt could not only be nominated, but win. Though he was shut out at the CMA Awards in November, he rebounded in a big way by winning Best New Artist at the fan-voted American Music Awards, where he defeated chart-toppers The Weeknd and Fetty Wap, demonstrating major crossover appeal. It doesn't hurt that Hunt's debut album "Montevallo" has sold nearly a million copies in the US to date. One thing is for sure: success sells at the Grammys, and Hunt has that in spades.
Do you think Sam Hunt will surprise at this year's Grammys?