This Year’s Grammy Nominations: What The AF Is Going On?

Words by Thomas Bradey-Riseley

After what’s been a turbulent 2020, the Grammys have named their best and the rest yesterday (November 14). While not short of surprises in its 61-year existence – there usually are a few ‘wtf?’ moments – some snubs and acknowledgements are more significant this time round.

The Weeknd hasn’t received a single nomination. He had the biggest charting hit of the year with Blinding Lights. He is due to play the Superbowl half time show the Sunday after the Grammys (February 7) and led almost all industry expert-predictions. It’s an important and surprising omission but not more so than other shocks such as: Rina Sawayama’s self-titled not receiving a nod, Kanye West being placed in a Christian category after he posted a video of him urinating on one of his Grammys earlier this year, and Poppy’s nomination for Best Metal Performance.  

The Grammys constantly trip themselves up by taking one progressive step forward but ignorantly moonwalking back two. The US recording industry event is never without its controversies but ignoring an album that isn’t right up its nose and making up for it by shunning the biggest selling artist of the year isn’t fair to either. 

Does this all matter? Of course it does. Even just a nomination can have a huge ripple effect for an artists’ exposure and confidence. Perhaps The Weeknd’s ‘After Hours’ wasn’t to be considered either Pop or RnB by the respective categories but still should be up for at least one ‘of the year’ awards after having a Billie Eilish domination effect on the 2020 charts.

There’s always contention at The Grammys, perhaps this year’s nominations reflect the bizarre and unexpected year we’ve all had. A blatant and disruptive shift in style of nominations needs to remain consistent if it is to have a positive effect. Will artists who are receiving their first nomination, such as Slowthai, be suffering from delusions of grandeur or is his jubilation and audience’s engagement what keeps the Grammys relevant? Time will only tell, but it is nice to see that a nomination still means something to the artists and their fans. 

The Grammys are sure to serve more surprises on January 31 but that’s the reason we all watch it. It wouldn’t be entertaining if our favourite artists won every award, after all there’s no pleasing everyone. 

See the full list of nominations here – and congratulations to BIMM Dublin graduates Fontaines D.C. for their nomination in the Best Rock Album category. Here’s hoping…

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