By Julia Tuck
With the 63rd annual Grammy Awards ceremony coming up at the end of January 2021, all eyes are on the recently released nominations. The Grammy Awards have a long history of being associated with excellence in the music industry and representing the artistry of the contemporary era, but this year there were more shocks than reasonable nominees. It is understood clearly that the nominations did not include what many fans expected. For instance, The Weeknd was snubbed perhaps the most by not being nominated for any awards. It was speculated prior to nomination releases that The Weeknd could snag a nomination for Record, Album or Artist of the Year. Despite this, the Weeknd did not even walk away with one nomination even though his hit single “Blinding Lights” remained on the top of Billboard Hot 100 for the longest period of time ever. His new album “After Hours,” which immediately gained attention for blending his R&B style with Pop, was also ignored by the Academy. The Weeknd took to social media following the nominee results and demanded transparency by the Grammys for their choices. There was also a subsequent firestorm by fans who were outraged by this obvious snub. It goes without saying that there was a direct disappointment in the way that The Weeknd was not acknowledged in these awards, but nevertheless, his impact is resounding. It seems that although ceremonies such as the Grammys can highlight the achievements of some, it cannot take away the actual value of other artists not nominated. There were also other nominee snubs involving various artists in different genres who each possessed talent and success in 2020.
According to journalist Justin Curto at The Vulture: “The academy really just had a free-for-all in Album of the Year, with nominations for a finely reviewed Jhené Aiko album, surprise Grammy darlings Black Pumas, a wonderfully unexpected Haim album, an album by musical boy wonder Jacob Collier, and a Coldplay album in the year of our Lord 2020. (Black Pumas also got a Record of the Year nomination, and the academy also eked in another shock nomination for JP Saxe and Julia Michaels in Song of the Year; just as shockingly, AOTY is Coldplay’s only nomination.) Taylor Swift, Dua Lipa, and Post Malone made their expected appearances, but past that, this weird slate shut musicians like Lady Gaga out of the top honor — and others like the Weeknd and the Chicks out of the show entirely.”
However, the nominations for 2021 do not seem as hopeful as people were expecting. There is also a significant disappointment in how three of the year’s biggest posthumous rap albums by Pop Smoke, Juice WRLD and Mac Miller were primarily shunned in these nominations. Pop Smoke has been nominated in one category in regards to Best Rap Performance for “Dior,” after he could’ve been the first posthumously nominated performer in Best New Artist. On the other hand, Juice WRLD, who could’ve become a first-time nominee in the awards off “Legends Never Die,” did not receive any nominations. Juice WRLD’s posthumous album includes hits such as “Come and Go” but unfortunately did not receive many accolades. There are speculations as to why the Grammys chose the nominations they did and what this could mean for the ceremonies to come when leaving out top contenders. Additionally, Mac Miller who earned his first nomination after his death two years ago, did not receive the spotlight this time. It seems that the Grammys were the hardest to love this time around.