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65th Grammy Award nominations: The snubs, surprises and scandals

It’s that time of year again. On Nov. 15, nominations for the 65th Grammy Awards were announced. This is a time when some of the most talented artists of the year get recognition for their hard work. The Recording Academy is made up of highly esteemed and reputable people who vote for the cream of the crop in the music industry. This year, there was a record number of 91 categories, which span across dozens of genres. There were actually five new categories this year: Best Alternative Music Performance, Best Americana Performance, Best Score Soundtrack for Video Games and Other Interactive Media, Best Spoken Word Poetry Album and Songwriter of the Year, Non-Classical. This all leaves room for many lucky nominees and luckier winners. Much like every year, the Grammy nominations lead to some interesting conversations. Some were positive, some were negative and others were just pointing out some fun facts. While the Grammys will not televise all 91 categories, you can catch a good chunk of them, such as Record of the Year and Album of the Year, on Feb. 5, 2023, live on CBS.

So far, it seems that Beyonce is running the show. She has the most nominations out of anyone with nine nominations, including Record of the Year, Album of the Year and Song of the Year. Her album “Renaissance” proved to be a real success and no one seems to be mad about her praise. The Beyhive is a strong group. Kendrick Lamar also found success with his eight nominations after his album “Mr Morale and The Big Steppers” was released this past year. He has proven success at the Grammys in recent years, winning best rap performance last year, and the success just keeps on coming.

While a lot of modern acts are leaving their mark, there is always room for a group of old timers. This year, legendary group ABBA returned to the music scene with their first album in forty years, “Voyage.” After breaking up in 1982, the Eurovision sensation started working on new material in 2017 and the recent album shows that this reunion was worth the wait. Last year they were nominated for Record of The Year for their song “I Still Have Faith In You.” They received four nominations this year: Record of the Year, Album of the Year, Best Pop Duo/Group Performance and Best Pop Vocal Album. For the record, these have been their only nominations; they were not even nominated during their heyday in the 1970s. For shame. Luckily, they are back and they have received respect. Mamma mia, here we go again indeed.

Of course, there is not room for everyone to be celebrated. While everyone knows this going into nomination day, there were some snubs that did not sit well with people. One of the most talked about snubs was Nicki Minaj. This year, Minaj released a hit new song “Super Freaky Girl” that debuted on the Billboard Hot 100, but the Academy did not give it any love. While the fans see this as a snub, there might have already been a sign that this would happen. She already vocalized her displeasure with the Recording Academy when they moved the song’s eligibility from rap to pop, which is a notoriously more difficult category. Therefore, Minaj was completely shut out, but she was not the only snub. Megan Thee Stallion did not receive any love for her hit new album “Traumazine” despite positive reviews and debuting at number four on the Billboard Hot 100. Sir Elton John also got nothing from the Recording Academy from his popular album “Lockdown Sessions,” which featured collaborations with artists like Brandi Carlile, Charlie Puth, Miley Cyrus and more. This is Elton John we’re talking about here, let’s be serious. Morgan Wallen was also on the snub list in the country categories for his hit, “Wasted On You.” This was a surprise for many country fans, but maybe the Recording Academy is not over his history of him yelling racist remarks. Maybe they care about whether or not nominees are problematic. Well actually, if you keep scrolling through the nominees, that might not be true.

While the Grammys are mostly known for music, it is really an award show about recordings in general. This includes the Best Comedy Album category, which is not a category of musicians, but of comedians. It was also a category that started up some conversations. First of all, some congratulations are in order for newcomer Randy Rainbow’s first Grammy nomination for his comedy album, “A Little Brains, A Little Talent,” which is filled with the comedian’s usual political lampoons. However, most of the conversations came from people nominated that are persona non grata. Louis C.K. was nominated for his album “Sorry.” In case you have forgotten, C.K. was accused of sexual harrassment from numerous women, which included many accusations of masturbating in front of the women without their consent. Since those accusations, he has been fired from many big projects. He also won Best Comedy Album last year, well after the accusations. He is once again nominated, and people still are not happy with The Recording Academy. It seems that “canceling” someone is not that effective when that someone is a cis straight white male with money and power. Some more controversy came with Dave Chapelle’s nomination for “The Closer.” Chappelle recently came under fire for transphobic comments, many of which came from “The Closer.” He’s a favorite at the Grammys, with this being his fifth nomination in a row and having won this category three times. Canceling attempts can be difficult when dealing with rich people in power, and that is why Grammy nomination day can be a minefield.

In more positive news, this could be a night of history. This award show could give someone new an EGOT. EGOT is a special title reserved for people who have won an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony. If we’re counting non-competitive awards, only 21 people have an EGOT. There is usually at least one person vying for their completion on awards night, and this year Viola Davis is looking for a Grammy to get her status. If she wins for Best Spoken Word Album for narrating her memoir, “Finding Me,” Davis has the EGOT. This would certainly be well deserved as she has worked so hard for so long. Not having an EGOT does not make anyone’s career less valid, but it is a nice reward for their hard work The Best Spoken Word category is often how actors get their EGOT, or at least the Grammy part if they cannot sing. However, that does not make it any less valid, as a Grammy is a Grammy, and an EGOT is an EGOT. Good luck Viola.

The beauty of this award show is that all sorts of genres get celebrated. From Americana to reggae and everything in between, all sorts of artists get appreciated. Sure, the main categories end up being filled with pop and rap, but all of the categories should still be appreciated. Winning any of them would be an honor. A few months from now, we will see who will get to walk home with a trophy. There could be some awards for fan favorites like Taylor Swift and Harry Styles, newcomers like Wet Leg and Molly Tuttle, or the old timers like ABBA and Bonnie Raitt. You can start making some predictions and get ready to cheer on your favorites in a few months. I know I’ll be cheering for “Six” for Best Musical Theatre Album in the upcoming months. Seriously, see this show if you have the chance. The Grammys are also sure to be filled with some electrifying performances. They have not been announced, but they will certainly be from some popular nominees. So if you want to rock out to some great performances and find out who is the best in music, mark your calendars for Feb. 5, 2023 to tune into the 65th Grammy Awards.

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