Because the Album of the Year Grammy honors the best achievements across all genres, it stands to reason that a contender in that race would win its respective genre category, so it’s no surprise Taylor Swift leads our predictions for Best Pop Album for her Album of the Year frontrunner “1989.” But Album of the Year nominees don’t always prevail here. Will this year’s race end in another surprise?
Usually, if at least one pop album is nominated for Album of the Year, it wins Best Pop Vocal Album. Consider past victors of this category like Justin Timberlake (“Justified,” 2003), John Mayer (“Continuum,” 2006), Amy Winehouse (“Back to Black,” 2007), the Black Eyed Peas (“The E.N.D,” 2009), Lady Gaga (“The Fame Monster,” 2010) and Sam Smith (“In the Lonely Hour,” 2014). All were nominated for Album of the Year. Other artists in recent years have won both awards, like Norah Jones (“Come Away with Me,” 2002), Ray Charles (“Genius Loves Company,” 2004) and Adele (“21,” 2011).
But there have been significant anomalies. In 2013, for instance, the only pop album nominated for Album of the Year was Sara Bareilles‘s “The Blessed Unrest,” which wasn’t even nominated for Best Pop Album. That opened the door for Bruno Mars to prevail for “Unorthodox Jukebox.”
In 2012, Kelly Clarkson won for “Stronger” despite going up against Album of the Year-nominated “Some Nights” by Fun. Clarkson pulled off the same upset victory back in 2005, when her “Breakaway” won Pop Album against Album of the Year contender “Love. Angel. Music. Baby.” by Gwen Stefani.
So the rest of this year’s field should watch out because Clarkson is back with a nomination for her seventh studio album, “Piece By Piece.” Can the powerhouse vocalist pull off another upset against an Album of the Year contender?
Despite the formidable threat posed by Clarkson, Swift is far and away the frontrunner to win this contest according to our racetrack odds. We have nine Expert journalists making their Grammy predictions and all nine say the award will go to Swift, giving her overwhelming 1/10 odds: Phil Gallo, Glenn Gamboa (Newsday), Tim Gray (Variety), Edna Gundersen, Matthew Jacobs (Huffington Post), Tom O’Neil (Gold Derby), Lyndsey Parker (Yahoo Music), Paul Sheehan (Gold Derby) and Chris Willman.
Swift is also backed by all six of our Editors, wwe who cover awards year-round for Gold Derby: Chris Beachum, Marcus Dixon, Rob Licuria, O’Neil, Sheehan and myself.
Our Top 24 Users, who got the highest scores predicting last year’s Grammy winners, aren’t quite as unanimous. Of those who have chimed in, 17 pick Swift, but two are forecasting an upset by Clarkson, while one is going out on a limb for Mark Ronson‘s “Uptown Special.” Ronson previously won this award as a producer of Winehouse’s “Back to Black.”
None of our experts, editors or top users are predicting the other two nominees in this contest: “How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful” by Florence and the Machine and “Before This World” by James Taylor. Are we underestimating them?
Who do you think will win?
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