The Weeknd lashes at ‘corrupt’ Grammys over his nomination snub; the Recording Academy responds

Bryan Alexander
 
| USA TODAY

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Grammy nominations: Biggest snubs on music’s biggest night

The Weeknd, Harry Styles, Lady Gaga and BTS all missed out on top categories. The Grammy Awards are January 31, 2021, on CBS.

The Weeknd lashed out against the Recording Academy Tuesday, hours after the “After Hours” singer was shockingly shut out of all Grammy nominations.

The snub came after the three-time Grammy winner was the big victor at Sunday’s American Music Awards with three awards. He’s also on tap to headline the Super Bowl halftime show and has two top-100 hits – “Blinding Lights” and “Heartless.”

“The Grammys remain corrupt,” The Weeknd wrote on Twitter. “You owe me, my fans and the industry transparency…”

Variety called the nominations oversight, “the biggest snub in recent memory, and one that is difficult to explain.” 

The Recording Academy has faced persistent criticism in recent years for the lack of awards process transparency. In January, the academy’s ousted CEO Deborah Dugan alleged in a legal complaint how the “Grammys process is ripe with corruption,” saying that “secret committees” whittle down categories of 20 nominees first voted upon by its 12,000 members. According to the complaint, “the Board uses these committees as an opportunity to push forward artists with whom they have relationships.”

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Harvey Mason Jr., interim president of the Recording Academy, the group that oversees the Jan. 31 Grammys, said in a statement obtained by USA TODAY that he too was surprised by the Weeknd shutout. But he denied any wrongdoing by the organization or the process in the “unusual and competitive year,” which saw a record number of submissions.

“We understand that The Weeknd is disappointed at not being nominated,” said Mason in the statement. “His music this year was excellent.”

“Unfortunately, every year, there are fewer nominations than the number of deserving artists,” the statement said.

Mason directly addressed media reports in publications such as Rolling Stone and TMZ that suggested the snub was due to a testy disagreement between the Recording Academy and The Weeknd over his planned performance in the Super Bowl halftime show.

“We were thrilled when we found out he would be performing at the upcoming Super Bowl and we would have loved to have him also perform on the Grammy stage the weekend before,” Mason said in the statement. “To be clear, voting in all categories ended well before The Weeknd’s performance at the Super Bowl was announced, so in no way could it have affected the nomination process.”

The Weeknd’s media representative did not respond to a USA TODAY request for comment.

Luke Combs, who set records on streaming services and dominated the country charts, was also shut out of recording nominations. Country breakout Morgan Wallen came away empty, too.

A group of young R&B female acts moving the needle also missed out on nominations, including Summer Walker, Teyana Taylor and Kehlani. Late rapper Juice WRLD, Brandy and Chris Brown were also snubbed.

Justin Bieber earned four nominations, but the singer also criticized the Grammys decision-making. He said his fifth studio album, “Changes,” was wrongly viewed as pop, rather than as an R&B project.

Bieber gave thanks, saying he was “flattered” for being acknowledged but thought being left out of the R&B category was a mistake.

“I set out to make an R&B album,” he wrote on Instagram. “’Changes’ was and is an R&B album. It is not being acknowledged as an R&B album, which is very strange to me.”

Contributing: The Associated Press

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