Grammy nominations 2021: Snubs, quirks and twists
Published on November 25, 2020 at 10.18
BTS snubbed: It was another year, another letdown for K-pop, an international phenomenon the Academy has been glacial to accept. The sensation BTS is up for a single award in the pop categories, meaning it was shut out of the general field even though its English-language hit Dynamite was considered a strong contender for Record or Song of the Year. And the South Korean girl group Blackpink — which in recent years collaborated on bangers with Cardi B, Lady Gaga and Dua Lipa — was surprisingly left out of the Best New Artist race.
The Weeknd left out: The Recording Academy notably sidelined Canadian R&B singer The Weeknd, an artist with three Grammys to his name. His Day Glo-nostalgia hit Blinding Lights achieved global success, and the artist born Abel Tesfaye is set to headline the high-octane Super Bowl halftime show early next year. But despite being widely tipped as a possible 2021 frontrunner, The Weeknd didn’t receive a single nomination.
Only pop: Lady Gaga was relegated to the pop categories as was Harry Styles, whose trippy pop album Fine Line and its provocative track Watermelon Sugar garnered positive reviews. After dropping a widely praised album after a 14-year hiatus and a name change, The Chicks were also ignored, as was Bob Dylan, who this year released his first collection of original music in nearly a decade.
Rock icon deserves more: Fiona Apple — whose classic Criminal won her Best New Artist in 1997 — scored three nominations in the rock and alternative categories but was mysteriously dropped from the top fields. The famously reclusive songwriter released her fifth studio album Fetch The Bolt Cutters in the pandemic’s early days — a career-defining work many critics called a “masterpiece.”
Kanye’s back: A little less than a month after his chaotic presidential bid ended, Kanye West notched a 2021 Grammy nomination — but it had nothing to do with rap. No, the artist who shook hip-hop with his 2004 album The College Dropout is up for Best Contemporary Christian Music Album. The late 2019 album paints a portrait of the artist as a saved man, coming in a year that saw West tour with his impromptu “Sunday Service” performances, a church-esque concert series featuring gospel choirs.