The 60th Annual Grammy Awards will take place at Madison Square Garden this Sunday, January 28, and air live on CBS. So as Gold Derby users scramble to nail down their predictions, I started to question which categories seemed ripe for an upset. Where could you score some major points in our contest by calling the right long-shot for the win? Take a look at my top five potential spoilers below. Do you agree? Sound off in the comments, and let us know which artist you think will claim the most shocking win on music’s biggest night.
1. Album of the Year – Bruno Mars (“24K Magic”) — With leading odds of 5/6 at Gold Derby, Kendrick Lamar is expected to walk away with the night’s highest honor for his thought-provoking album “Damn.” The rapper holds a red hot score of 95 on MetaCritic, and with seven nominations this year he’s expected to leave with an impressive a haul. But if we know one thing about the Grammy Awards, it is that they generally don’t embrace hip-hop in the top categories. OutKast remains the only rap act to win Album of the Year, and that was way back in 2004 for “Speakerboxxx/The Love Below.” On the flip side, Mars is a respected vocalist, musician and performer who has six Grammy nominations this year and five past wins to his name. He’s coming off a win for Artist of the Year at the American Music Awards, so it should shock no one if this more traditional choice claims the top prize at the Grammys. (Current Gold Derby predictions: second place with 14/5 odds)
2. Pop Vocal Album – Kesha (“Rainbow”) — After nearly being blacklisted from the music business following a legal dispute in which the hit-maker sued her former producer and collaborator, Dr. Luke, for sexual assault, Kesha reemerged with her most personal, critically-acclaimed collection of songs to date. Ed Sheeran is currently favored to win the Pop Vocal Album award for his smash hit, “Divide” with 1/4 odds, but Kesha fans shouldn’t give up hope just yet. “Rainbow” was the critics’ favorite among the nominees in this category with a MetaCritic score of 81, compared to just 62 for Sheeran. And in the era of the #MeToo movement Grammy voters may feel compelled to shine a light on one of the bravest, most outspoken celebrities in the fight against sexual violence. That woman also happened to release one of the best albums of 2017. (Current Gold Derby predictions: second place with 8/1 odds)
3. Rock Album – The War on Drugs (“A Deeper Understanding”) — With eight previous Grammy wins, Metallica understandably have leading odds of 2/13 to win Best Rock Album this weekend. These legends of heavy metal clearly have the most name recognition in the field, but watch out for The War on Drugs to sneak in and steal this one. With a MetaCritic score of 81, “A Deeper Understanding” was a bigger hit with critics. It also offers a softer, more universal brand of rock music that could have gotten heavy radio airplay in the 1990s, before Top 40 stations essentially abandoned the genre. If you’re looking for one major upset to score you some points in the predictions contest, this might be your best bet. (Current Gold Derby predictions: third place with 28/1 odds)
4. Rap/Sung Performance – Jay-Z feat. Beyonce (“Family Feud”) — Currently leading this wide open race is Kendrick Lamar featuring Rihanna for their collaboration “Loyalty” with racetrack odds of 1/2. This young duo may be the hottest right now with music fans, but Grammy voters are a different crowd. Jay-Z has won 21 Grammy Awards and leads all nominees this year with eight bids. Add in his wife, who holds 22 Grammys of her own, and you’ve got a slam dunk. There is no way Jay-Z is going home empty-handed on Sunday night, and this is the easiest award to throw his way. (Current Gold Derby predictions: second place with 14/5 odds)
5. Best New Artist – SZA/Julia Michaels/Khalid — No artist in this field has had a more successful run to date than Alessia Cara, who has churned out so many hits in the last year that she barely feels like a new artist anymore. She has four nominations in total, including Song of the Year (“1-800-273-8255”), but she shouldn’t be overly confident. Remember when Esperanza Spalding took down Justin Bieber in this category in 2011? Right on Cara’s heels are R&B newcomers SZA and Khalid, who each reaped five bids of their own, one more than Cara. Then there is Julia Michaels, who is up for Song of the Year for her hit “Issues” and definitely has the clout to stage an upset here. My bet is still on Cara, but this is a four-way race. Sorry Lil Uzi Vert. (Current Gold Derby predictions: SZA in second place with 7/2 odds, Julia Michaels in third place with 18/1 odds, Khalid in fourth place with 28/1 odds)
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.