And the Grammy nomination goes to...
NEW YORK (AP) — Will the Grammys be "Drunk In Love" with Beyonce or will they fall for the sad, soulful sound of Sam Smith? The Recording Academy will announce the nominees for the 57th annual Grammy Awards on Friday, and here's how we think it will play out.
SAM AND SIA
Sam Smith is a shoo-in for nominations in the top categories at the Grammys, including album of the year for "In the Lonely Hour," song and record of the year for "Stay With Me" and best new artist. The British singer, who captured audiences with his emotional, Adele-like songs, also could earn nominations outside of the pop categories. A remix for "Stay With Me," featuring Grammy favorite Mary J. Blige, could compete in some R&B categories, while the remix of "I'm Not the Only One" with A$AP Rocky could be a contender for best rap/sung collaboration. Smith could also be nominated for best dance recording, thanks to his guest appearance on Naughty Boy's hit, "La La La."
Sia, too, could be swimming in a sea of nominations, thanks for her skilled songwriting and solo breakthrough. She's written songs for Beyonce, Katy Perry, Eminem, Maroon 5, Shakira and many others. She also enjoyed her first No. 1 album with "1000 Forms of Fear" and launched a massive, worldwide hit with "Chandelier."
BEYONCE AND BEYOND
If Beyonce doesn't dominate in nominations at the upcoming Grammys, it will be just as surprising as the release of her self-titled album last year.
The pop queen could finally earn the coveted album of the year since the release of "Beyonce" was earth-shattering and well-received. One thing's for sure: Beyonce, who already owns 17 Grammys, will easily sweep the R&B categories.
ARIANA AND IGGY'S BIG 'PROBLEM'
While Ariana Grande and Iggy Azalea both have a strong chance of nominations for best new artist, they could cancel each other when it comes to song and record of the year. Azalea's "Fancy" is most likely to be up for the top honors, but the votes could split between that smash and "Problem." Also, for awards like best pop duo/group performance or best rap/sung collaboration, songs like "Fancy," ''Problem," ''Bang Bang" with Nicki Minaj and Jessie J or "Black Widow" with Rita Ora could cancel each other out.
Azalea, though, should be a top contender in the rap categories, and Grande could earn a nomination for best pop vocal album for "My Everything" — which has launched four Top 10 pop hits — as well as nominations in the R&B categories, including her current duet with the Weeknd, "Love Me Harder."
ALL ABOUT THE GRAMMYS
Yeah, it's pretty clear; she'll be nominated for two: Though Meghan Trainor isn't likely to compete for best new artist alongside Grande and Azalea, she has a better shot of earning nominations for song and record of the year for the ubiquitous "All About That Bass."
HAPPILY EVER AFTER
Oh happy day: Though Pharrell's "Happy" was released before Grammy eligibility — it originally came out in June 2013 as part of "Despicable Me 2" — he submitted a live version of the song, so he has a chance of earning nominations for record of the year and best pop solo performance.
John Legend is in similar shoes: "All of Me," another No. 1 hit, also was released before eligibility, but he could also earned a nomination for the ballad's live rendition.
In the past, live songs have won Grammys: Adele won best pop solo performance for her live version of "Set Fire to the Rain" a year after she dominated the Grammys with wins for album, song and record of the year with "21" and "Rolling In the Deep."
HOT LIKE FIRE OR COLD AS ICE?
"Frozen" may earn a nomination for album of the year since it is the year's best-selling album with 3.6 million units sold. "Let It Go," also a multi-platinum success, could follow its Oscar win with nominations for record and song of the year, among other awards. Oh, how far Idina Menzel has come since John Travolta once called her Adele Dazeem.
Kendrick Lamar, who last year was nominated for seven awards but went home empty handed, could find redemption next year. His latest single, "i," will likely compete in categories like best rap song and rap performance.
RESPECT YOUR ELDERS
Barbra Streisand, whose duets album "Partners" debuted at No.1 and is one of the year's top-selling albums, could earn a number of nominations. Tony Bennett, who released a duet album of standards with Lady Gaga, could also compete in the pop and jazz categories.
Luke Bryan, one of country's brightest stars, has never been nominated for a Grammy Award. The platinum-selling performer, part of the bro-country clan that includes Florida Georgia Line — also dissed from the Grammys — could finally earn a nomination. Last month, Bryan was named entertainer of the year at the Country Music Association Awards — his first CMA win ever. We think Bryan should buy some new, tight jeans for the occasion in February.
While Taylor Swift's "1989" will qualify for nominations next year, her hit "Shake It Off" could earn nominations for song and record of the year as well as best pop solo performance. If it doesn't, hopefully she can shake it off.
Follow Mesfin Fekadu at twitter.com/MusicMesfin