Grammy predictions from our top users: Album of the Year nominees will be Kendrick Lamar, Lorde …

Gold Derby’s Top 24 Users are the folks who got the highest scores predicting last year’s Grammy nominations in the general field, so it’s worth heeding their insights. The recording academy’s eligibility period only ended a couple of weeks ago (September 30), and nominations are still more than a month away, but those two dozen savvy readers already think they know the five who will make the cut for Album of the Year.

Kendrick Lamar is the current frontrunner to win for his fourth album, “Damn,” which is forecast for a nomination by all of our Top 24, and predicted to win by 21 of them, including Miguel Terel Kabigting, who outscored more than 1,200 other users to take the top spot on last year’s predictions leaderboard. This would be Lamar’s third nomination in the race (following “Good Kid, m.A.A.d City” in 2014 and “To Pimp a Butterfly” in 2016), and under most circumstances Lamar might seem like an easy bet. He’s as popular with critics as he is with music fans, and that combination of art and commerce has fueled winners from Lauryn Hill (“The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill,” 1999), to Norah Jones (“Come Away with Me,” 2003), to Arcade Fire (“The Suburbs,” 2011). But the Grammys have been notoriously stingy to hip-hop, and especially rap. Hill’s album included rap, but the only predominantly rap album to win the top prize was “Speakerboxxx/The Love Below” by OutKast (2004).

Next in line according to our Top 24 is Ed Sheeran for “Divide.” They’re unanimous that he will be nominated, and three of them expect him to upset Lamar for the win. Sheeran has only previously won two Grammys compared to Lamar’s seven, but he might have an advantage in that he has previously won in the general field where Lamar hasn’t. Sheeran claimed Song of the Year for “Thinking Out Loud” in 2016. Sheeran is also the kind of adult-contemporary artist Grammy voters tend to prefer (consider recent double winners Taylor Swift and Adele). This would be Sheeran’s second nomination in the Album of the Year race (following “Multiply” in 2015).

None of our top users are predicting a win for anyone else, but they’re almost unanimous that Bruno Mars will get in for the second time for “24K Magic” (he previously contended for “Doo-Wops & Hooligans” in 2012): 23 out of 24 predict he’ll be nominated. There’s less certainty after that with Lorde (“Melodrama“) in fourth place, predicted by a little more than half (13) of our Top 24. And The Weeknd (“Starboy”) rounds out their top five with 11 of them forecasting him for his second bid (following “Beauty Behind the Madness” in 2016).

Other artists are right on the cusp of a nomination according to our top users, including Metallica (“Hardwired…To Self-Destruct”), Lady Gaga (“Joanne”), and Miranda Lambert (“The Weight of These Wings”). Do you agree with their early odds? You can make your own predictions here, and join the discussion with your fellow music fans in our forums.

Be sure to make your Grammy nomination predictions so that Hollywood record executives and top name stars can see how their songs and albums are faring in our Grammy odds. Don’t be afraid to jump in now since you can keep changing your predictions until just before nominees are announced on November 28. And join in the fierce debate over the 2018 Grammys taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our music forums. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.

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