The American Music Awards are the only major pop music awards voted on by music fans. The awards will be telecast live from the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles Sunday, November 18, 2012 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC Television.
My predictions are simply that...predictions. It will be up to the music fans to choose the actual winners. My predicted winner in each category is in bold type. I have included comments on each nominee. I am making predictions in the Pop/Rock and General categories.
Artist of the Year
- Justin Bieber - It has been a good year for Justin Bieber. His album Believe has generated two big top 10 hit singles. However, it does feel like his thunder has been stolen a bit by the rise of One Direction.
- Drake - Drake continues to be one of the strongest hip hop artists in appeal to mainstream audiences. However, for this year he does not match some of the stronger stars in this category.
- Maroon 5 - Maroon 5 are riding a career peak. Their single "One More Night" has spent eight weeks at #1 easily becoming their biggest hit ever. Lead vocalist Adam Levine continues to be popular on The Voice. 2012 is looking like Maroon 5's year.
- Katy Perry - Katy Perry's movie was not the hit she had hoped for, but her music continued to hit the charts this year. She is clearly one of today's top pop stars, but this is not her year to be on top.
- Rihanna - Rihanna will give Maroon 5 a run for their money. Her single "Diamonds" is currently near the top of the pop singles chart while we await the release of her new album.
Male Pop/Rock Artist
- Justin Bieber - Justin Bieber won this category two years ago and then lost last year to Bruno Mars. This looks like his year to return to the top riding the strength of his current hit single "Beauty and a Beat."
- Flo Rida - Flo Rida has had a banner year. However, a perennial question remains of whether Flo Rida's songs are actually more popular than he is as an artist.
- Pitbull - Pitbull has turned into a very reliable hitmaker. However, this year does not stand out as his best year. He is a solid nominee in this category, but he's not the winner.
- Usher - Usher has had a strong year among pop audiences as he continues to explore a dance pop sound. However, it looks like this year he will have to yield to his protege for the top award.
Female Pop/Rock Artist
- Kelly Clarkson - Kelly Clarkson released "Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)," one of the biggest hits of her career, early in the year. However, it feels like she won't remain uppermost in the mind of voters this late in 2012.
- Nicki Minaj - Nicki Minaj may contend for this award. 2012 has been a great year for her as she has positioned herself as the queen of party music among pop fans.
- Katy Perry - The fading edge of hits from the Teenage Dream project won't be enough for Katy Perry to win this award.
- Rihanna - Rihanna is clearly one of the world's biggest pop stars of today and, increasingly, of all time. As she preps a new album for release, it feels like she is the top female artist of 2012.
Pop/Rock Band, Duo, Or Group
- fun. - fun. broke into the pop mainstream this year and are one of the most exciting breakthrough acts of the year. However, their fan base seems unlikely to be the ones who will vote to carry them to a big American Music Award win.
- Maroon 5 - I would expect Maroon 5 to win this category as well as Artist of the Year if it wasn't for the dedicated fans of another group.
- One Direction - One Direction are at the peak of their popularity with young girls, a base who seems likely to want to vote for them for an award. I think this is a night we are likely to see the young men of One Direction at the winners' podium.
- The Wanted - Boy band The Wanted did arrive first at the upper reaches of the US pop singles chart, but they have been considered next in line since the point One Direction arrived on these shores. At the American Music Awards that story will continue.
- Justin Bieber - Believe - Justin Bieber's latest solo album has been a solid performer, but it is not a pop landmark. My instinct is that it will not be enough to carry him to victory in this category.
- Maroon 5 - Overexposed - Maroon 5's strong following among adult pop fans and three big hit singles from Overexposed could carry them to victory in this category, but my gut says no.
- Nicki Minaj - Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded - Nicki Minaj appeals strongly to pop fans on the radio in small bites of individual songs. However, a full album can be almost overwhelming in energy level to many listeners.
- One Direction - Up All Night - One Direction made history for British bands when this album debuted at #1 in the US. Look for the group to make history once again and take home the Pop/Rock Album of the Year award.
- J. Cole - J. Cole has a strong career ahead of him. 2012 has been a great year for new artists, and he is likely to be overwhelmed in this category by the other four nominees.
- fun. - fun. are contenders in this category with two huge top 10 pop hits on the year. However, I think the alternative band will have to yield to the boy band.
- Gotye - Gotye introduced himself to US pop fans with the landmark single "Somebody That I Used To Know." However, he has encountered difficulty following it up with another hit. This has limited the excitement about Gotye as an artist.
- Carly Rae Jepsen - Carly Rae Jepsen's breakthrough "Call Me Maybe" is the biggest pop hit of the year. She is my pick for the top new artist of the year, but I think pop fans will disagree with me.
- One Direction - The young men of One Direction have brought the boy band concept back to the forefront of contemporary pop music. They have carried with them a horde of enthusiastic fans. I think the fan following will be strong enough to earn them a crown as top new artist of the year.