The Grammy’s: Award Show or Royal Joke?


The nominations for the 64th Grammy Awards came out on November 23rd and let’s just say, it was quite interesting. The awards ceremony won’t even happen until Jan. 31, 2021, but the nominations alone have been making waves in the news and on social media. Between the major snubs and huge surprises (some more disappointing than others), one can’t help but question if the Grammy’s is a good indicator of the best music throughout the year.
This year’s Grammys was unique because of how much the Recording Academy expanded the number of nominees per category. Now, eight to ten artists/songs/records/albums can be nominated per category. Before, only about seven were nominated per category.
So that I’m not going on and on about the nominees, I’ll give a little summary of the nominations in the general categories. Artists Olivia Rodrigo, Silk Sonic (composed of Bruno Mars and Anderson Paak), Jon Batiste, Doja Cat, Brandi Carlile, Justin Bieber, and Lady Gaga, and Tony Bennett are all nominated the most in the general categories. These categories are Record of the Year, Album of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best New Artist.
This year’s nominations included quite a few odd and unexpected selections. For instance, producer and performer FINNEAS has been nominated for Best New Artist despite having already been active in the music industry for a few years. He even put out an EP in 2019, so he’s not new to solo performing either. Singer-songwriter Brandi Carlile was also nominated for quite a few Grammys despite not being a mainstream artist. She was nominated for Song and Record of the Year in 2019 for her song “The Joke”. Even though her music is great, it’s not probable that she will win this year because of her lack of popularity. Two artists that were nominated a lot this year were Justin Bieber and Jon Batiste. In my opinion, one was well deserved while the other is kind of upsetting. Justin Bieber was nominated for Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Album of the Year among others. Honestly, this is very disappointing because of how subpar his latest album was; it sounds like every other pop album. Plus, his song “Peaches” (nominated for Song and Record of the Year) is a monotone and uninspired song. Jon Batiste, who has the most nominations of all the nominees, is more deserving of his nominations. His mix of jazz, blues, and R&B is so original and musically diverse. He’s one of those artists that doesn’t put himself in a corner and puts his all into a song. Nevertheless, it’s still very surprising to see his genre of music being nominated for the biggest awards, which are normally dominated by pop music.
Just like every Grammy awards before it, the 64th Grammy nominations brought with it a number of missed opportunities and snubs. One surprising nomination snub was Miley Cyrus. This year, she released her rock album “Plastic Hearts”, which garnered praise from fans and critics alike. Personally, I love this album and I think the new style suits her very well. So, it’s disappointing that she didn’t even get nominated in the rock category. Taylor Swift and BTS, two artists with huge cult followings, were only nominated once despite having put out lots of music this year. I’m very upset that Taylor Swift wasn’t nominated much considering that her music was arguably some of the best released all year. Also, Greta Van Fleet, a rock band which has gained a lot of popularity over the past few years wasn’t nominated for anything. This is quite annoying and unexpected since they had already been nominated for, and won, a Grammy back in 2019 for their first album “From the Fires”, so it made sense that they would be nominated for their latest album “The Battle at Garden’s Gate”. Lana Del Rey was another artist who put out music this year and has been nominated before, yet wasn’t nominated this year. Finally, the Italian rock band Maneskin, who has earned a great amount of fans since they won the Eurovision song contest, seemed like a shoe-in for the “Best New Artist” category. Yet, they didn’t get so much as a mention in that category even though they were asked to announce the nominees in other categories. This is a prime example of the Grammy’s using artists for their popularity, yet not acknowledging their musical achievements in the awards ceremony. And this definitely isn’t the first time the Grammy’s has done this, and it certainly won’t be the last.
Because of the Grammy’s long history of controversial nominees and winners, and disappointing results, many people can’t help but question their legitimacy. In my opinion, the Grammys have become more and more like a popularity contest than a judge of the best music. Since what’s popular isn’t always the best music overall, the most popular music sometimes doesn’t deserve the awards. Hopefully, the results of this year’s awards aren’t entirely disappointing as well as the future of the Grammys.