As we get closer to the Sunday’s Grammy Awards, we’re making our predictions in the Big Four categories: Record, album, song of the year and best new artist.

Monday,  we tackled Record of the Year. Tuesday, we looked at Album of the Year. Yesterday, it was Song of the Year. Today, we make our pick for Best New Artist.

The nominees for Best New Artist are:

James Blake
Kendrick Lamar
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
Kacey Musgraves
Ed Sheeran


You could hear gasps in the press room when Lorde and Imagine Dragons weren’t included in this category given that they were two of the biggest success stories of the year. Having said that, it’s hard to argue with this bumper crop —with one exception. The one act who shouldn’t have been nominated is Ed Sheeran. Given that he received a song-of-the-year nomination last year for his break-through hit, “The A Team,” last year would have been the time to nominate him for this award. It used to be that if you had been nominated for a Grammy, you couldn’t be eligible for Best New Artist subsequently, but that rule changed a few years ago.

I would say that Macklemore & Ryan Lewis have a lock on this award, but the Grammy voters are notoriously hard to predict here, for example, picking Bon Iver, who had already had enough success that he shouldn’t have been eligible in 2012,  or jazz darling Esperanza Spalding in 2011. If the Nashville contingency all votes for Kacey Musgraves, she could take it, just as Zac Brown Band did in 2010. And I’d never rule out Blake somehow nabbing it.

Should win: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
Will win: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis