Will Lorde lord over the Grammy Awards or will Daft Punk get lucky with Get Lucky? Competition is tight as some of 2013's biggest hitmakers slug it out for top honors in the coveted best record and song slots.
In roughly 60% of cases, the front-runner for best record is also up for best song, says Tom O'Neil, editor of awards site Gold Derby. That would give Lorde's Royals and Bruno Mars' Locked Out of Heaven the edge.
Mars performed Locked on last year's Grammy show, "and it feels old now," O'Neil says. The widely covered Royals "is in current airplay and has a lot of heat. There's industry respect for the song. Lorde's 17, and voters like to crown newcomers."
Voters "tend to honor something that's still on radio and still seen as contemporary," concurs Phil Gallo, Billboard senior correspondent. "In recent years, the Recording Academy voting base has leaned toward younger, newer artists or at least people who are exploding and seem to be career artists. And Royals is the smartest song of the bunch."
They agree that Daft Punk's Get Lucky could pose a threat, but Imagine Dragons' Radioactive and Robin Thicke's Blurred Lines are long shots.
Blurred "seems featherweight and a kind of novelty, not deserving a place in the pantheon of music," O'Neil says.
All five nominated records "saturated the world," Gallo says. "They were massive hits. It's as if they were looking at the Billboard charts to find what was huge."
Lorde is poised for a marquee two-fer, says veteran Grammy analyst Paul Grein, who writes for Yahoo Music. He predicts she'll triumph in both record and song.
"Royals is a classy record that has some of the adult-alternative appeal of Adele's Rolling in the Deep, which won in both categories two years ago," he says.
O'Neil cautiously predicts that pro-equality Same Love by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis will take song honors.
"Social-message songs have a mixed history," he says, noting that Michael Jackson's Man in the Mirror wasn't nominated the year the award went to Bobby McFerrin's Don't Worry, Be Happy, while the Dixie Chicks' Not Ready to Make Nice and Amy Winehouse's Rehab both won. If the record/song synergy holds up, as it did for Adele and many before her, "Lorde or Bruno could take this."
Pink's Just Give Me a Reason is Gallo's pick for best song "by the slimmest margin," he says. "This is a tough call. It's a tossup between that and Royals. I wish I could say Same Love should be the favorite, but I wonder if it has a resonance the way their other records do."
The dark horse appears to be Katy Perry's self-empowerment anthem.
"Roar, I don't get at all," Gallo says.
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