By an overwhelming margin, “Uptown Funk” by Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars is leading Gold Derby’s predictions to win Record of the Year with 1/3 odds, likely propelled by the fact that Mars has been a mainstay in the category: he was first nominated in 2010 (“Nothin’ on You”) and returned in 2011 (“Grenade”) and 2013 (“Locked Out of Heaven”). He lost those contests to Lady Antebellum (“Need You Now”), Adele (“Rolling in the Deep”) and Daft Punk (“Get Lucky”), respectively.
It’s the loss to Daft Punk that is most intriguing because “Get Lucky” and “Uptown Funk” are similar contenders. Like Daft Punk, Mark Ronson is known for his DJ and production skills, earning much of his popularity in the dance and club markets of the industry. And like “Get Lucky,” which featured Pharrell Williams and Nile Rodgers, Ronson’s nominated record found him commercial success due in no small part to his collaboration with a more widely known vocalist.
If “Uptown Funk” were to win it could be as a way to finally give Bruno Mars his due after three losses, but if that’s the case here then a similar narrative could be spun for Taylor Swift. Despite Swift’s many Grammy successes, Record of the Year has eluded her three times, including in 2009 when she won Album of the Year (“Fearless”). If my reasons for not predicting Swift to win Album of the Year hold true, voters could look to this category as an opportunity to acknowledge what has been a breakthrough year for her as a pop (instead of country) artist. But her nominated song, “Blank Space,” is also up for Song of the Year, a stat only one of her fellow nominees shares, so voters could decide to award her there instead.
The other Record of the Year nominee also up for Song of the Year is Ed Sheeran‘s “Thinking Out Loud,” the third single off of his album “X,” which was Grammy-nominated last year for Album of the Year, but lost. So this could be a chance for voters to finally award him too, though as with Swift they could do that instead in the Song race, where he was previously nominated in 2012 for “The A Team” but lost to Fun‘s “We Are Young.”
Our odds have the other two nominees trailing by a wide margin. The Weeknd‘s track “Cant Feel My Face” is in fourth with 28/1 odds, just ahead of DAngelo and the Vanguard‘s “Really Love” at 50/1. Their underdog status reflects the fact that Record of the Year is notoriously unfriendly to hip-hop artists. Though “Can’t Feel My Face” is nominated in the pop field for Best Pop Solo Performance, it comes from an Urban Contemporary-nominated album. And “Really Love” is an R&B track. No song classified at the Grammys as urban or R&B has ever won Record of the Year, and no predominantly R&B or hip-hop artist has ever prevailed except for Pharrell as a featured artist on “Get Lucky.”
With all that being said, my picks in this category are:
WILL win: “Blank Space” – Taylor Swift
I don’t think Swift is going to win Album of the Year even though our odds are projecting her to. But unlike in that race, she’s never won this one before and I think voters will see it as an opportunity to give her something. It doesn’t hurt that “Blank Space” spent seven consecutive weeks at number-one on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart in 2014 and 2015.
SHOULD win: “Uptown Funk” – Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars
It’s very possible that the odds are correct and “Uptown Funk” will in fact take home this award, and it should. While I personally prefer “Can’t Feel My Face” and “Really Love,” “Uptown Funk” would continue a trend that may have started with “Get Lucky” and it’s a trend I like: collaborations by artists from different genres. Oh, and there’s also the fact that it replaced “Blank Space” as the number-one single on the Billboard chart, only it stayed there for twice as long, 14 consecutive weeks, becoming literally the record of the year.
Who do you think will win?
Make your Grammy predictions beginning with Record of the Year to the right or below. You can also predict the New Artist, Album, and Song categories with many more to be added soon. Just log into your Gold Derby account (or you can register for a free account via Facebook, Twitter or Google) and then start casting your votes.
Gold Derby readers just like YOU often turn out to be our smartest prognosticators, so it’s important that you give us your predictions. You can continue to update and change your forecasts, just click “Save Predictions” when you’ve settled on your choice.
Photo Credit: Taylor Swift by CBS; Bruno Mars by FOX; “Blank Space” by Big Machine Records “Uptown Funk” by Columbia Records