Last November, the nominations for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance came out. Rightfully, it contained the EDM tracks that often get mixed up in the Best Dance Recording category. All songs are commercial giants. They are overplayed, to the extent that most people are divided on these songs. Here is my fearless forecast on how the Best Pop Duo/Group Performance race will unfold.
“Stay” by Alessia Cara and Zedd
“Something Just Like This” by The Chainsmokers and Coldplay
“Despacito (Remix)” by Daddy Yankee and Luis Fonsi featuring Justin Bieber
“Thunder” by Imagine Dragons
“Feel It Still” by Portugal. The Man
(5) Stay by Alessia Cara and Zedd
If this were the Best Dance Recording category, Zedd would have the credentials to pull off a win. But since the award resides in the pop genre, the duo has to deal with a different set of metrics that might prove challenging for them to meet.
By all means, they are household names. But they are no veterans who are looked at as overdue or who are held in high regard by their peers. When put alongside Coldplay or Justin Bieber, their smash looks like a flop. There is simply no compelling case for their single to win.
(4) “Something Just Like This” by The Chainsmokers and Coldplay
The “Nickelbacks” of this generation have a huge handicap to overcome. The two are becoming the face of selling out. Rewarding them is not in the Academy’s best interest.
Yes, Coldplay has been a perennial nominee. They even bypassed Paramore, Demi Lovato and Miley Cyrus in the Best Pop Vocal Album category. They leapfrogged these artists with an EP that contained five tracks. Even though it is impressive, we must remember the group has not won a Grammy since 2009.
As for The Chainsmokers, my hunch tells me that their victory last year was a fluke, instead of a rule.
(3) “Thunder” by Imagine Dragons
Pride is on the line. I would be happy if I was wrong and Imagine Dragons ends up taking the trophy. After all, “Thunder” benefits from peaking in sales, streaming and airplay during the period the members were voting.
But, if the band couldn’t notch a nod for “Believer”, I’m imagining their support base is not strong. I just can’t put my finger on the kinds of voters or the demographic Imagine Dragons would appeal to. If the Academy wanted to reward a conservative or less mainstream artist, they have Portugal. The Man as their pick.
(2) Despacito (Remix) by Daddy Yankee and Luis Fonsi featuring Justin Bieber
I am going out on a limb. I will ignore the fact that “Despacito (Remix)” is the only single among the five to contend in Record of the Year and Song of the Year. It also leads in racetrack odds online. It is the biggest single of the bunch, of 2017, and probably of all time. I am likely wrong. But… no guts, no glory.
Having the general field advantage doesn’t always translate to genre wins. Iggy Azalea and Charli XCX lost this category to A Great Big World and Christina Aguilera, even when the latter was nowhere to be found in the general field. The Academy will want to prove they aren’t as mainstream as the general public perceives them to be. They will want to project that they are above the craze everyone else is into. It will not be for the right reasons but they will do it anyway… I think.
(1) Feel It Still by Portugal. The Man
If Twenty One Pilots’ “Stressed Out” defeated Rihanna and Drake’s “Work” and The Chainsmokers and Halsey’s “Closer”, I believe “Feel It Still” can do the same and take down the giants. The Academy may want to anoint an artist whose reputation has not been scathed as bad as Justin Bieber’s or The Chainsmokers’. Portugal. The Man is their best bet.
This choice would not be controversial. Radio could not get enough of it. The general public expressed their interest. This is the kind of music that ages well. A year ago, in Album of the Year, I took a gamble and predicted Beyonce over Adele. This is a similar situation and I hope I get it right this time.
WILL WIN: “Feel It Still” by Portugal. The Man
SHOULD WIN: “Thunder” by Imagine Dragons