Is Hozier a dead cert for the Choice Music Prize?
According to Paddy Power, young Andrew Hozier-Byrne is the 7/4 favourite to walk away with the Meteor Choice Music Prize for Irish Album of the Year this Thursday at Vicar Street.
You could always stick a cheeky tenner on U2, though, for Songs of Innocence. What, 16/1 odds? Hmmm, stranger things have happened. The Choice awards rarely, if ever, end with the bookies' favourite making a speech.
You know the drill. Ten albums, a dozen judges and a cheque for €10,000 courtesy of the Irish Music Rights Organisation (IMRO) and the Irish Recorded Music Association (IRMA).
And let's not forget the second, smaller prize for Irish Song of the Year (the public decides that one - we imagine Kodaline or The Coronas will win this).
Going on form it's impossible to say who'll win.
Funny how, in 2015, with the live event sold out weeks in advance (always encouraging given that, in previous years, the Choice often resembled more of an industry bash for industry folks), we still have the usual huffing and puffing online about who 'deserves' to be nominated, the problems with 'mainstream' acts and who could do with the cash.
Newsflash - this isn't a charity. Yes, Bono and the boys were nominated this year. So, too, were Sinead O'Connor and Damien Rice, neither of whom appears to be stuck for change.
Maybe one day, someone will take it upon themselves to kick-start a hipster-driven alternative to reward the best Irish album you've never heard of.
Until then, the Choice continues to spread its wings, nominating indie favourites (the sublime Delorentos and We Cut Corners are on this year's shortlist), folk heavyweights (James Vincent McMorrow and the aforementioned Hozier), celebrated trad and rock ensembles (The Gloaming and The Riptide Movement) and electronic maestros (we still can't believe that British button-pusher Aphex Twin was actually born in Limerick).
That's a fine shortlist, if you ask us. Will Damo, U2 and Sinead show their faces on Thursday?
Anything could happen, but what we do know is that Delorentos, the Riptide Movement, We Cut Corners and the McMorrow lad will definitely be plugging in their guitars for a sing-song.
As will song-of-the-year nominees Little Hours, Kormac and the Minutes (we love that band). Oh, and my money is on the Gloaming to win the Big Prize. Come on, EVERYBODY loved that album. 5/1 odds, people - you could do worse than stick a score on Martin Hayes and chums. Best of luck, everyone.
> CHRIS WASSER
The Choice live event is sold out