Best Pop Vocal Album
Will Win - Sam Smith "In the Lonely Hour"
Could Win - Ed Sheeran "X"
Should Win - About four albums that did not get nominated here
Commentary - This will be an interesting battle to watch. Sam Smith is a great new artists, whose Stay With Me was a great record, probably going to do well in top categories. But In the Lonely Hour as a whole, was not that great of an album. By comparison Ed Sheeran's X was a much better experience overall (although neither of them could beat Lana Del Rey or Sia this year). This could be a huge indicator of how Album of the Year shakes out, and while I think Smith is in the lead, this could be the place that Sheeran upsets.
Best Pop Solo Performance
Will Win - Sam Smith "Stay With Me"
Could Win - Taylor Swift "Shake it Off" or Sia "Chandelier"
Should Win - Sia "Chandelier"
Commentary - I really hope that Grammy voters throw us all a curve ball and recognize Sia here, but Sam Smith is probably going to snowball here, and just take a lot of awards with him. This one should be an easy win because Stay With Me was one of this year's biggest and best hits. But watch out for Taylor Swift. Shake it Off came in at the last minute and could stage a late-breaking shocker.
Best Pop Duo/Group Performance
Will Win - Katy Perry feat. Juicy J "Dark Horse"
Could Win - Iggy Azalea feat. Chari XCX "Fancy" or Coldplay "A Sky Full of Stars"
Should Win - Jessie J., Ariana Grande, and Nicki Minaj "Bang Bang"
Commentary - Of the bunch, the only one that crosses over the general categories is Fancy, which got a Record of the Year nomination. But here's the problem, it's not really a pop record. It's a rap record with a sung collaboration (so it probably should have been in that category). The category fraud could work, but if they are going to go for a pop record, I think they will go instead for Katy Perry's Dark Horse. It is a pop record with a rap collaboration, and might appeal more to voters who want an actual pop record. Coldplay can never be discounted, and for my money, Bang Bang is a fun record that is probably the best of the bunch. But I think Perry wins here. She has never won a Grammy, and Dark Horse was a huge record.
Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album
Will Win/Should Win - Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga "Cheek to Cheek"
Could Win - Barbra Streisand "Partners"
Commentary - The battle of the legends makes for an interesting race in this category. Barbra has a litany of great artists working with her, actually modeling Tony Bennett's Duets, and it could benefit her. But I think that the double star power of Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett will be hard for Grammy voters to pass up. Plus Cheek to Cheek was a bigger hit overall than Partners, but it will be close.