With the 2015 Grammy Awards only a few days away, Popdust is taking a look at this year's top contenders and doing some crystal ball gazing to determine the likely winners. Music's Biggest Night celebrates every genre under the planet, both critically and commercially—but for the sake of time, we'll be focusing on the Big Four and the pop and country categories. There's really no telling who will walking away with (yet) another golden gramophone or who'll get their first-ever! Beyoncé, Sam Smith and Pharrell Williams lead the pack with six nods apiece.

Performers include: Rihanna, Kanye and Paul McCartney; Sia; Hozier and Annie Lennox; Beck and Coldplay's Chris Martin; Jessie J and Tom Jones; Katy Perry; Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett; Adam Levine and Gwen Stefani; Smith and Mary J Blige; Brandy Clark and Dwight Yoakam; Williams; Miranda Lambert; Usher; Eric Church; Common and John Legend; Madonna; Ed Sheeran (with Herbie Hancock, John Mayer and ?uestlove as part of a star-studded band); Juanes and Lang Lang; AC/DC; and Ariana Grande.

LL Cool J is set to return to host the Sunday, Feb. 8 show, as it airs on CBS at 8/7c.

 

Our predictions are as follows:

Album of the Year

Morning Phase, Beck

Beyonce, Beyonce

x, Ed Sheeran

In The Lonely Hour, Sam Smith

GIRL, Pharrell Williams

Likely Winner: Queen B

Runner-Up: Sam Smith

Beyonce broke the pop template with her surprise release, but she didn't let the quality fall by the wayside. While she didn't blaze many Hot 100 or Top 40 radio hits, the album defined the past year in music and artists' defining trends on their own terms. Sam is the only other possible contender here, having charted several smash hits on the charts.

 

Song of the Year

“Shake It Off,” Taylor Swift (Max Martin, Shellback, Swift)

“All About That Bass,” Meghan Trainor (Kevin Kadish, Trainor)

“Chandelier,” Sia (Sia Furler, Jesse Shatkin)

“Stay with Me” (Darkchild Version), Sam Smith (James Napier, Smith, William Phillips)

“Take Me To Church,” Hozier (Andrew Hozier-Byrne)

Likely Winner: Sia

Runner-Up: Hozier

Lyrically, Sia's powerful track is the most engaging of the bunch. She allows the imagery to take the listener on a journey, without leading them there. They arrive their own. Similarly, Hozier's blistering map is another one of those surreal moments in pop music.

 

Record of the Year

“Fancy,” Iggy Azalea (featuring Charli XCX)

“Chandelier,” Sia

“Stay with Me” (Dark Tower Version), Sam Smith

“Shake It Off,” Taylor Swift

“All About That Bass,” Meghan Trainor

Likely Winner: Taylor Swift

Runner-Up: Sam Smith

Here is where Taylor is the champ. She taught us all how to shake off the haters and embrace who we are. Again, Sam could give her a run for her platinum money—proving that, yes, a ballad could define a generation.

 

Best New Artist

Brandy Clark

Iggy Azalea

Bastille

HAIM

Sam Smith

Likely Winner: Sam Smith

Runner-Up: Iggy Azalea

Sam is gonna win, right? While Iggy did have massive success, too, her music is often rather polarizing. Sam is a safer (but still great) choice. Of course, Grammy voters could pull an "Esperanza Spalding" and gift the honor to Brandy Clark (although she's more than well-known in the Nashville sphere).

 

Best Music Video

“We Exist,” Arcade Fire

“Chandelier,” Sia

“Turn Down For What,” DJ Snake & Lil Jon

“Happy,” Pharrell Williams

“The Golden Age,” Woodkid featuring Max Richter

Likely Winner: Sia

Runner-Up: Arcade Fire

Sia's choreography-heavy video, sans herself, light a fire under 2014. It was unlike anything anyone else was doing, so masterfully done that no other video can possible compete.

 

POP

Best Pop Solo Performance

“All Of Me,” John Legend

“Chandelier,” Sia

“Shake It Off,” Taylor Swift

“Stay With Me,” Sam Smith

“Happy,” Pharrell Williams

Likely Winner: Sia

Runner-Up: Sam Smith

If we're talking vocal champions, Sia is the Olympic gold medalist. And with 2014 being such a massive year for ballads, "Chandelier" swings high above the rest; only Sam comes close, although John could pull an upset, and we wouldn't be mad.

 

Best Pop Duo/Group Performance

“Fancy,” Iggy Azalea featuring Charli XCX

“A Sky Full Of Stars,” Coldplay

“Say Something,” A Great Big World with Christina Aguilera

“Bang Bang,” Jessie J, Ariana Grande, Nicki Minaj

“Dark Horse,” Katy Perry with Juicy J

Likely Winner: A Great Big World, with Christina Aguilera

Runner-Up: Coldplay

"Say Something" seems nearly a decade ago, but in reality, only a year has passed since it made us cry in the corner. With the addition of Xtina, the track elevated even more, ripping our hearts out. Coldplay's entry is another fine moment in pop music and the only other real option (don't worry, we love the other nominees, too).

 

Best Pop Vocal Album

Ghost Stories, Coldplay

Bangerz, Miley Cyrus

My Everything, Ariana Grande

Prism, Katy Perry

x, Ed Sheeran

In The Lonely Hour, Sam Smith

Likely Winner: Sam Smith

Runner-Up: Ed Sheeran

Sam's album is a lovely blend of emotion and commercial. He goes against the grain of what we've come to label as a traditional pop artist. His album is the very definition of a breakup album and helped us through my trying times last year. Also, Ed took off in a new musical direction that showcased his diversity; that could be commended, too.

 

COUNTRY

Best Country Solo Performance

“Give Me Back My Hometown,” Eric Chruch

“Invisible,” Hunter Hayes

“Automatic,” Miranda Lambert

“Something in the Water,” Carrie Underwood

“Cop Car,” Keith Urban

Likely Winner: Carrie Underwood

Runner-Up: Eric Church or Miranda Lambert

As far as solo performances go, Carrie hit it out of the ballpark with "Something in the Water," which highlights every chill-inducing aspect of her voice. Not only does she offer up lilting head voice, but she powers it full-throttle right when she needs to. There's no mistaking, there's no better vocalist than Carrie. Voters are likely to see that, especially after her 2013 Grammy for "Blown Away," which showcased similar aspects of her voice.

 

Best Country Duo/Group Performance

“Gentle on My Mind,” The Band Perry

“Meanwhile Back At Mama’s,” Tim McGraw featuring Faith Hill

“Raise ‘Em Up,” Keith Urban featuring Eric Church

“Day Drinking,” Little Big Town

“Somethin’ Bad,” Miranda Lambert & Carrie Underwood

Likely Winner: The Band Perry

Runner-Up: Tim McGraw, with Faith Hill

This is one of the more diverse country categories this year, which probably means it comes down to Tim's traditional piece and Band Perry's cover of a traditional song. The Kimberly, Reid, Neil trio are most likely to snatch this one up as their modernly polished take is one of the best releases of any act in 2014.

 

Best Country Song

“American Kids,” Kenny Chesney (Rodney Clawson, Luke Laird, Shane McAnally)

“Automatic,” Miranda Lambert (Nicole Galyon, Lambert, Natalie Hemby)

“Give Me Back My Hometown,” Eric Church (Luke Laird, Church)

“I’m Not Gonna Miss You,” Glen Campbell (Campbell, Julian Raymond)

“Meanwhile Back At Mama’s,” Tim McGraw featuring Faith Hill (Tom Douglas, Jaren Johnston, Jeffrey Steele)

Likely Winner: Tim McGraw, with Faith Hill OR Miranda Lambert

Runner-Up: Kenny Chesney

Country music prides itself on its lyrics. 2014 was the year quality stories returned in huge form to the airwaves, these nominees among the best. But it was Tim's nostalgic-dipped piece that returned him to the forefront of one of the finest storytellers the format has to offer, backed with luscious harmonies by his wife Faith. In the face of bro-country, Kenny also broke the mold, offering up a fresh, vibrant "American Kids" to offset country's downfalls. (Miranda is also a possible contender, too. It depends on how the wind is blowing among voters.)

 

Best Country Album

Riser, Dierks Bentley

The Outsiders, Eric Church

12 Stories, Brandy Clark

Platinum, Miranda Lambert

The Way I’m Living, Lee Ann Womack

Likely Winner: Dierks Bentley OR Brandy Clark OR Miranda Lambert

Runner-Up: Lee Ann Womack

Yes, it's a three-way tie for this one. Dierks' emotionally-charged Riser was his breakthrough, which ultimately spawned two massive No. 1 hits with "I Hold On" and "Drunk on a Plane." Meanwhile, Brandy, who is up for the all-genre Best New Artist, has more weight here for a dark horse win. Then, there's Miranda, country's critical darling who delivered a truly wide-ranging, mass-appealing album with Platinum. While she certainly dabbled in pop sheen more than she ever did previously, she still held tightly onto her red dirt roots and southern rock sensibility.

Stay tuned for Grammy updates. Be sure to follow @Popdust and @JasonTheScott on Twitter!