As Gold Derby predicted, 21-year-old New Zealand singer-songwriter Lorde earned a Grammy nomination for Album of the Year for her sophomore effort, “Melodrama.” But there probably weren’t many who anticipated that it would be her only nomination. That surely takes her out of the running in a category against four artists with a combined 26 nominations, right? Maybe not. This is an unusual race, and it could have a twist ending.
As of this writing Lorde ranks third in our Grammy predictions with odds of 4/1, behind “Damn” by Kendrick Lamar (6/5 odds) and “24K Magic” by Bruno Mars (9/4 odds). She has support from one of our Top 24 Users, who got the highest scores predicting last year’s Grammy winners. She’s also tipped to win by Lyndsey Parker (Yahoo Music), one of the Expert journalists we’ve polled for their early picks. So what makes Lorde such a contender despite her lack of nominations in other categories? Here are the top four reasons she could pull off an upset.
1. She’s the only pop artist in a category full of R&B and hip-hop — It’s no secret that the recording academy is skittish around hip-hop artists, so Lamar could be vulnerable for that reason, and also because he could split votes with fellow nominee Jay-Z (“4:44”). And Bruno Mars and Childish Gambino (“Awaken, My Love!”) could split votes among voters who want to support R&B. In a divided field, Lorde could consolidate support from pop, rock, and alternative music fans in the academy and sneak away with the title.
2. She’s the only woman in a category full of men — Lorde additionally stands out as the only woman in this category. Young female artists have done well in this race of late. Taylor Swift and Adele both won this award twice within the last eight years.
3. She’s edgier and more acclaimed than Taylor Swift and Adele — There was backlash after Taylor Swift beat Kendrick Lamar for Album of the Year in 2016, and even more when Adele beat Beyonce in 2017. Voters might be afraid of further criticism for overlooking artists of color, but the backlash could be softened by the fact that “Melodrama” was one of the most acclaimed albums of 2017 with a score of 91 on MetaCritic, which makes it the second most acclaimed in this category, behind “Damn” (95 on MetaCritic). And Lorde is also a bit edgier than Swift and Adele are, so voters may not seem as conservative by awarding her.
4. The Grammys already love her — The recording academy already showed how much they admire Lorde when she won Song of the Year and Best Pop Solo Performance for her breakthrough hit “Royals” in 2014. At age 17 that made her the youngest songwriting winner in Grammy history. Then she avoided the sophomore slump by earning rave reviews for “Melodrama,” so voters may wish to confirm her status as a standard bearer for the next generation of musicians.
Be sure to make your Grammy 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 winners are announced on January 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.