It's the most wonderful time of the year, and I'm not only talking about snow and jingle bells; It's time for the 2015 American Music Awards! Jennifer Lopez hosts the show, airing on Sunday, Nov. 22, and Justin Bieber, 5 Seconds of Summer, Coldplay, One Direction, Selena Gomez, Nick Jonas, and more are all set to perform. The stand-out of the night, though, will be the person who will win the AMAs' "Artist of the Year" award, and out of this year's 10 nominees, some have a greater chance of winning than others.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not throwing shade at this year's nominees. If anything, I am complimenting them — they're a talented and competitive bunch, and they all deserve to be in the category together. This year's group has got to be one of the most diverse I have seen in awhile, featuring artists from every genre of music, each with their own distinct style, sound, and image. Whether Sam Smith, Luke Bryan, Taylor Swift, The Weeknd, Ariana Grande, Meghan Trainor, Maroon 5, Nicki Minaj, Ed Sheeran, or One Direction takes home the crown, it'll be a win. All of this being said, here are my predictions for who is most likely to take home the award based off of their work this past year, in descending order:
10. Luke Bryan
Sorry, all you country music fans. As loveable as Luke Bryan is, and although he tends to win big at the Country Music Awards, shows like the AMAs tend to stick to pop, hip hop, and R&B artists with large, mainstream fanbases and big support systems. Maybe next time?
9. Meghan Trainor
Although the "Dear Future Husband" singer gets tons of airplay, and has had major success since she first came onto the scene less than two years ago, it'll be harder for her to compete with some of her counterparts, like Taylor Swift and Nicki Minaj, who have much more established places in the music industry. Props to her for getting nominated, though!
8. Maroon 5
Everyone loves a little Adam Levine in their lives. While we all dance along to Maroon 5's catchy tunes, they haven't released anything exceptional this past year that'll make them strong enough competitors for the only other group in the category, One Direction. Nothing lost here, however. Maroon 5 have been around for ages, and have won more awards in their time as a band than some do in their whole lives.
7. Sam Smith
This talented singer/songwriter stunned us all with his amazing, heartfelt vocals, making him a male version of Adele of some sort. Since his rise to stardom, he has won notable awards on both the global and U.S. stages, so he's an eligible competitor, but I'm not sure if he is likely to win this year since he hasn't done as much as some of the other contenders.
6. Ariana Grande
The "Focus" singer's latest album was great, and a good representation of her vocal ability. All of her singles had tremendous chart success, and her collaboration with artists like her fellow competitor, The Weeknd, certainly helped. While Grande has collected her fair share of awards in both female and pop categories in the past, I am unsure of how she will do this year compared to her competitors, so the middle of the list seems to be a fair placement.
5. Ed Sheeran
So much love for Ed Sheeran, always. Not only is he a brilliant live vocal performer, but his songwriting skills set the bar for all other artists, which explains why he writes for so many of them, like One Direction and Justin Bieber. He's definitely top five material.
4. Nicki Minaj
The Pinkprint has some of Minaj's most popular hits to date. "The Night is Still Young", "Anaconda", and "Feeling Myself" were all on fire, and helped her stay on the charts from the time that her album was released. Yet even though she shined, the artists above her in this list soared ever higher.
3. The Weeknd
The "Can't Feel My Face" singer's career was on fire in the past year. His album, Beauty Behind the Madness, was a massive success, and beat the streaming record by millions of plays, before Justin Bieber and One Direction broke that record with Purpose and Made in the A.M., respectively. The only reason The Weeknd is not taking the number one spot is because of the ridiculously large fanbases of the two artists ranked higher than him.
2. One Direction
I know, second place?! It was hard for me, too. But after many minutes of racking my brain trying to make sense of this list, it made the most sense. Even though the guys won this award last year, and as much as I love and respect One Direction, I almost feel like their placement in the category again was simply obligatory. Yes, their album prior to their newest release, Four, had large success, and beat all of their past records, but they have had a rocky time since then. Their singles in 2015 failed to surpass some of their biggest hits like "Story of My Life" and "Best Song Ever", and fell to the background of people's minds when Justin Bieber made his comeback. Of course, given the fact that they are One Direction, the biggest band in the world, they still stand a very large chance of winning this award, especially since it is fan voted. The fans are trying their hardest to make sure that the boys go out on a high note as they embark on their hiatus. It could be a tough battle.
1. Taylor Swift
This one, though, is a no-brainer. It always ends up being a battle between the powerhouses that are Taylor Swift and One Direction, and this year, it will be no different. 1989 is Swift's best album to date, IMO, as it helped her tap into genres that she hadn't before and expanded her reach. Every single she released topped the charts and made headlines, whether it was for its infectious nature, or controversial videos. With "Bad Blood" and "Blank Space" in her back pocket, as well as the love of her loyal, adoring fanbase, Swift can easily swipe this award.
The 2015 American Music Awards will be a show to remember, there is no doubt about it. Writing this made me realize how close of a battle this year's "Artist to Watch" category will really be, so best of luck to all 10 of the artists, and a massive congratulations to whoever takes home the coveted award!