Presenters shouldn’t stumble over any of the major names at Sunday’s Grammy Awards. That’s because you’re more likely to hear “Sam Smith” than “Iggy Azalea” or “Adele Nazeem” … er, Idina Menzel.
Best new artist
Nominees: Iggy Azalea, Bastille, Brandy Clark, Haim, Sam Smith.
Our pick: This is the easiest prediction of the night: Smith is a remarkable singer, an impressive songwriter — and a big seller.
Record of the year
Nominees: “Fancy,” Iggy Azalea featuring Charli XCX; “Chandelier,” Sia; “Stay With Me,” Smith; “Shake It Off,” Taylor Swift; “All About That Bass,” Meghan Trainor.
Our pick: Swift might have triumphed here with her superior single “Blank Space,” but it was too late to be eligible. I’d vote for the catchy “All About That Bass” because it has a thoughtful message about unskinny female bodies. But voters will stay with Smith’s seductive ballad.
Album of the year
Nominees: “Morning Phase,” Beck; “Beyoncé,” Beyoncé; “X,” Ed Sheeran; “In the Lonely Hour,” Smith; “Girl,” Pharrell Williams.
Our pick: Although her album has some lows to go with plenty of highs, Beyoncé will derail Smith’s sweep because voters admire her boldness, ambition and enduring success. Sheeran’s “X” could be a surprise winner, however.
Song of the year
Nominees: “All About That Bass”; “Chandelier”; “Shake It Off”; “Stay With Me”; “Take Me to Church.”
Our pick: Hozier’s “Take Me to Church” looks like Smith’s toughest competition here, but it’s going to be Mr. Smith goes to the Grammys.