The Recording Academy handed out 87 awards at the 64th annual Grammy Awards on Sunday (April 3), so it was inevitable that there would be some snubs and surprises. And sure enough there were. Take a look.
SNUB – Justin Bieber: The pop superstar received eight nominations this year, a total topped only by Jon Batiste, who amassed 11 nods. But Bieber went home empty-handed. After nearly 13 years of stardom, Bieber has won two Grammys (from 22 nods). He should have more by now.
SURPRISE – Jon Batiste: Even though Batiste was this year’s nominations leader, his win for album of the year for We Are was a surprise. Most figured the top contenders were Olivia Rodrigo’s SOUR and Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga’s Love for Sale. We Are didn’t win for best R&B album, the genre album category in which it was nominated. (That award went to Jazmine Sullivan’s Heaux Tales.) This is the second year in row in which the album of the year winner lost in its genre album category. Last year, Taylor Swift’s folklore won album of the year after losing best pop vocal album to Dua Lipa’s Future Nostalgia. Go figure.
SNUB – Billie Eilish: Eilish also went home empty-handed despite seven nominations, including album, record and song of the year. Eilish has won so many awards – including seven Grammys in the two previous years and an Oscar just one week ago – that absolutely no one need worry about the state of her career.
SURPRISE – Bo Burnham: The comedian’s “All Eyes on Me” from his Netflix special Inside won best song written for visual media, beating last year’s Oscar winner for best original song, “Fight for You” from Judas and the Black Messiah. “All Eyes on Me” is only the second song written for a TV show to win in that category. The first was They Might Be Giants’ “Boss of Me” from Malcolm in the Middle, which won 20 years ago. “Fight for You” wasn’t shut out, though: H.E.R.’s recording of the song won best traditional R&B performance.
SNUB – Halsey: Halsey’s fourth studio album, If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power, was seen as the front-runner for best alternative music album, but it lost to St. Vincent, who won for the second time in the category with Daddy’s Home. Halsey has yet to win a Grammy. Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, who produced the album, won best score soundtrack for visual media for Soul, on which they collaborated with Jon Batiste.
SURPRISE – Jazmine Sullivan: Sullivan’s Heaux Tales won best R&B album, beating out a pair of albums that were nominated for album of the year – Jon Batiste’s We Are and H.E.R.’s Back of My Mind. (Heaux Tales was not nominated for that top award.) Sullivan also won for best R&B performance for “Pick Up Your Feelings.” These were Sullivan’s first Grammy wins, from 15 nominations over the years.
SNUB – Wizkid: The Nigerian Afrobeats singer lost both of the awards he was nominated for – best global music performance for “Essence” (featuring Tems) and best global music album for Made in Lagos: Deluxe Edition. A remix of “Essence” featuring Justin Bieber (who wasn’t listed on the nominated entry) reached the top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100, an extreme rarity for a global music recording.
SURPRISE – Doja Cat featuring SZA: You get the sense the Grammys positioned this award late in the show to make sure that Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga won an on-air award. But the the widely liked “Kiss Me More” beat Bennett & Gaga’s update of Cole Porter’s “I Get a Kick Out of You,” as well as fan-favorite BTS with “Butter.”
SNUB – Selena Gomez: Gomez received her first Grammy nod this year in any category (!) when her EP Revelación was nominated for best Latin pop album. She lost to Alex Cuba, nominated for Mendó. It’s hard to fathom why Grammy voters haven’t supported Gomez more through the 13 years she has been a recording star.
SURPRISE – Barack Obama: The former president’s A Promised Land didn’t win best spoken word album – Obama’s first Grammy loss. He won twice in that category before he was elected president in 2008. But Obama probably doesn’t mind a bit. The award went to actor Don Cheadle for Carry On: Reflections for a New Generation From John Lewis. Lewis, a civil rights icon who died in 2020, helped make a career like Obama’s possible.
SNUB – Jackson Browne: The singer/songwriter’s 15th studio album, Downhill From Everywhere, lost best Americana album. Browne has never won a Grammy, despite a career dating back more than 50 years. This was his eighth nomination. His highest-profile nomination to date came in 1978 when Running on Empty was nominated for album of the year.
SURPRISE – Dream Theater: The band’s “The Alien” won best metal performance, beating tracks by a pair of past winners in the category, Deftones and Mastodon.
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