Untangling the 2021 Grammy Nominations Drama

The statement did little to quell The Weeknd’s disdain, as he tweeted in response, “Collaboratively planning a performance for weeks to not being invited? In my opinion zero nominations = you’re not invited!”

The Academy’s nomination process has always felt a bit puzzling and intentionally opaque—look no further than each year’s Best New Artist nominees, many of whom often already have several albums under their belts and, sometimes, even prior Grammy nominations—and that seems unlikely to change no matter how much anyone protests otherwise.

As Harvey told Variety amid the uproar, “Y’know, it really just comes down to the voting body that decides. We have eight nomination slots to fill in [the Big Four categories: Best Album, Song, Record and New Artist], five in others, and the voters vote for their favorites.” He explained that a committee of about 20 music professionals makes the call for the Big Four, whittling down a shortlist of the “20 top vote-getters in the general field” to even shorter lists. 

“The people in that room care: there’s no agendas in there, there’s no ‘let’s snub this person’ or that person. It’s about, ‘Let’s try and find excellence,'” he explained. “Also, you have to remember that committee can’t vote on something that’s not there.” Though he wouldn’t comment on whether The Weeknd made the initial shortlist, Harvey did admit that the omission didn’t seem, to him, to be reason enough to question their process.

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