AMAs Flashback: Biggest New Artist Snubs
Carey went on to be one of the biggest pop stars of the past 25 years. She has amassed 28 top 10 hits on the Hot 100. Vanilla Ice had just two. (The third nominee that year, Wilson Phillips, had four.)
That was hardly the only time that the loser of an AMA new artist prize has had greater long-term success than the winner. In 2004, the first year that the AMAs presented one overall New Artist of the Year award, Gretchen Wilson beat both Maroon 5 and Kanye West for the award.
The choice of Wilson, who had a #1 country smash that year with "Redneck Woman," shows the huge popularity of country music. So does the even more surprising outcome in 2009, when country band Gloriana beat Lady Gaga in the category. (The other nominees were Kid Cudi and Keri Hilson.)
Gloriana's eponymous debut album was a hit that year, but it was no match for Gaga's blockbuster success with her debut album, The Fame. The biggest reason for Gloriana's win: They opened for Taylor Swift on her Fearless tour that year.
It's not easy to predict which new artists will sustain (and even grow) and which will fall behind. Often, artists that have huge first years have nowhere to go but down, while those who build gradually over time have a better chance of long-term success. But the surest route to win a new artist award at the AMAs (or the Grammys) is to have a phenomenal first year.