The biggest snubs of the 2020 Grammy nominations

By Entertainment Desk November 22, 2019 10754 1090 comments

Music fans offended by former Recording Academy president and chief executive Neil Portnow’s controversial remark in 2018 (that women need to “step up” in order to earn more Grammy nominations) will no doubt be pleased to see the just-announced list of contenders for the 62nd Annual Grammy Awards.

It is packed with deserving female names such as Lizzo (this year’s top nominee, with eight nods), Billie Eilish (the youngest artist ever to receive nominations in all of the top four categories), Lana Del Rey, HER and Ariana Grande.

But Grammy voters can’t please everyone, not even with the “Big Four” categories now expanded to eight nominees each. So, let’s deep-dive into the biggest snubs and surprises of the 2020 nominations.

Snubbed! Taylor Swift

She may be picking up the Artist of the Decade trophy at this weekend’s American Music Awards and she did receive a respectable three Grammy nominations this year (for Song of the Year, Best Pop Vocal Album and Best Pop Solo Performance), but Lover was passed over for Album of the Year.

Swift was the first female artist in Grammy history to win twice in that all-important category, for Fearless and 1989.

Snubbed! BTS

This was the breakthrough year for the superstar K-pop boy band. Their platinum-selling “Boy With Luv” went to number eight on the Billboard Hot 100, and the video for it set the record as the most-viewed online music video in 24 hours.

BTS also became the first Asian act to surpass five billion streams on Spotify, were named one of Time magazine’s 100’s most influential people of 2019, and were the first Korean act ever to perform on Saturday Night Live.

They even presented at the 2019 Grammys and will have their outfits from that ceremony displayed at the Grammy Museum … but they didn’t land a single nomination in the 2020 Grammys.

Snubbed! Halsey

BTS’s “Boy With Luv” collaborator also had a great year, scoring her first number-one hit with the passionate break-up ballad “Without Me” and even performing at two other major awards shows, the Emmys and CMAs.

“Without Me” seemed like a solid contender for Record and Song of the Year but Halsey was shut out of the Grammys entirely, even in the pop categories.

Snubbed! Maren Morris

The country and western star’s critically acclaimed Girl won Best Album just last week at the Country Music Awards (where she was this year’s most-nominated artist) and she has received nine Grammy nominations in the past.

But Morris was almost entirely passed over, even in the country categories – and she has had to settle for just one nomination: Best Country Duo/Group Performance for “Common”, a duet with the Grammy favourite Brandi Carlile.

Surprise! Bon Iver

The indie-folk veterans have always been embraced by Grammy voters (they won Best New Artist in 2011), but their nomination for Album of the Year for I,I still comes out of nowhere.

This could be the 2020 Grammy equivalent of Arcade Fire’s The Suburbs or Beck’s Morning Phase, both indie-leaning outlier winners in the same category in previous years.

Perhaps even more surprisingly, Justin Vernon and company’s “Hey Ma”, which didn’t crack the Billboard Hot 100, is up for Record of the Year.

Surprise! Vampire Weekend

If Bon Iver aren’t the surprise Album of the Year winners at next January’s ceremony, that honour could go to their fellow indie-rockers Vampire Weekend, who just earned their first Album of the Year nomination for Father of the Bride.

They have been nominated twice before for Best Alternative Music Album and won the award in 2013.

Snubbed! Bruce Springsteen

The Boss has always been a favourite with Grammy voters, with 20 wins to his credit. His 19th studio album, Western Stars – his first album of solo material since 2012 – has also garnered critical acclaim.

Yet Springsteen didn’t receive a single nomination this year. Springsteen on Broadway didn’t even get a nod for Best Music Film.

Snubbed! Sam Smith

Smith was the darling of the Grammys in 2015, when he won Best New Artist, Best Pop Vocal Album for In the Lonely Hour, and Record and Song of the Year for “Stay With Me”.

But he seems to have fallen out of favour with voters for the awards and hasn’t been nominated since.

Last year he was shut out entirely for his second album, The Thrill of It All, and this year his hit duet with Normani, “Dancing With a Stranger”, was skipped over.

Snubbed! Ed Sheeran

The four-time Grammy winner and 14-time nominee had to settle for just one nomination (Best Pop Vocal Album) for his all-star No 6 Collaborations Project. He won no recognition in any of the major categories.

Surprise! Beastie Boys vs Michelle Obama vs John Waters

Amusingly, all three are up for Best Spoken Word – a category that really ought to be presented on air this time around.

Snubbed! Chance the Rapper

In 2017 Chance won Best New Artist and was up for five awards in total, but this year his The Big Day was skipped over for Album of the Year and even Best Rap Album.

He did pick up one nomination, for Best Rap Song.

Snubbed! The Jonas Brothers

Fans were thrilled by the JoBros’ reunion, resulting in the trio scoring their first ever number-one single, “Sucker”.

However, the song garnered only one nomination, for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance, and their reunion album, Happiness Begins, was completely snubbed.

Snubbed! Madonna

The Queen of Pop, a seven-time winner and 28-time nominee, didn’t receive any nominations for her ambitious 14th album, Madame X – other than the remixer Tracy Young being up for Best Remixed Recording, for the Pride Intro Radio Remix of “I Rise”.

Snubbed! Solange

Her big sister Beyoncé got four nominations this year, but Solange Knowles’s critically heralded When I Get Home, which Pitchfork recently ranked at number 81 on its “200 Best Albums of the 2010s” list, was completely overlooked.

Surprise! Black Pumas

The Best New Artist nomination for this fairly obscure psych-soul Austin duo came totally out of left field. Oddly, they received no nominations in any other categories.

Surprise! Tank and the Bangas

Like Black Pumas, this New Orleans funk collective received no other nominations but still got a nod for Best New Artist over more obvious contenders.

Could Black Pumas or Tank and the Bangas be the next Esperanza Spalding? Watch this space.

* The 62nd Annual Grammy Awards will take place on January 26 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California

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Last modified on Friday, 22 November 2019 15:38


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