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Entertainment How Taylor Swift & Lil Nas X Landed Big Grammy Nominations Without Nods in the Pop Field

04:15  30 november  2021
04:15  30 november  2021 Source:   billboard.com

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Taylor Swift achieved something very unusual in the nominations for the 64th annual Grammy Awards: She received an album of the year nod for evermore, an album that received no other nominations.

Swift has one other Grammy nod this year, as one of the songwriters on Olivia Rodrigo’s Sour, a credit she was granted because two songs on the album contain interpolations of old Swift songs.

Swift isn’t alone in being nominated in a marquee category after being passed over in a subordinate category. Lil Nas X received an album of the year nod for Montero, which was passed over for a nod for best pop vocal album. He also received a record of the year nod for “Montero (Call Me by Your Name),” which was passed over for a nod for best pop solo performance. In Lil Nas X’s case, there’s a plausible explanation for why he may have failed to register in those pop categories.

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Lil Nas X’s only nomination in a genre-specific category was best melodic rap performance for “Industry Baby,” featuring Jack Harlow.

Grammy voters were allowed to vote in up to three musical fields, in addition to the General Field, the Academy’s name for the Big Four categories: album, record and song of the year, plus best new artist. It’s possible that some of Lil Nas X’s supporters in the Academy simply didn’t vote in the pop field, focusing instead on rap and R&B.

Two other record of the year nominees were passed over for nominations in performance categories this year. They are ABBA’s “I Still Have Faith in You” (which was passed over for a nod for best pop duo/group performance) and Jon Batiste’s “Freedom” (which was passed over for a nod for best R&B performance).

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ABBA’s record of the year nod is the group’s first Grammy nomination in any category, so its failure to land a nod for best pop duo/group performance is not a surprise. But Batiste’s failure to land a nod for best R&B performance is a surprise. He was this year’s leading Grammy nominee, with 11 total nominations, the most by any artist since Kendrick Lamar amassed 11 nods six years ago.

Justin Bieber’s soul/pop jam “Peaches,” featuring Daniel Caesar and Giveon, is nominated for song of the year, but was passed over for a nod for best R&B song. That could be in part because his supporters in the Academy are more apt to vote in the pop field than in R&B, but “Peaches” was nominated for best R&B performance – Bieber’s first nomination ever in an R&B category.

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Musgraves’ star-crossed was moved from best country album to best pop vocal album. It wound up not being nominated in that category, though a track from the album, “Camera Roll,” was nominated for best country solo performance and best country song. Those were Musgraves’ only nominations this year. It’s possible that her voters would have been more inclined to find her and vote for her in the country album category.

Carlile’s “Right on Time” was moved from the American roots music field to pop. That didn’t deter her voters. She is nominated for three awards for “Right on Time” – record of the year, song of the year and best pop solo performance. Carlile is also nominated for song of the year for co-writing “A Beautiful Noise,” her collab with Alicia Keys, and as a guest artist on Brandy Clark’s “Same Devil,” which is vying for best American roots performance.

When the Recording Academy announced the 64th annual Grammy nominations on Tuesday, they simultaneously announced that they were bumping the number of nominees in each of the Big Four categories from eight to 10. They acknowledged then that this was a last-minute decision but framed that as a positive.

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“Perhaps in the past, the leadership would have waited for the next awards cycle to make a change,” Harvey Mason jr., Academy CEO, and Tammy Hurt, chair of the board of trustees, said in a joint statement. “But one thing that we’ve heard loud and clear from you is that you are tired of waiting for big changes. You asked for – and you deserve — an organization that is as nimble and brave as you. In that spirit, we went to the board of trustees and made the case for this direction, and just minutes ago, they adopted it.”

In an interview with Billboard last week, Mason denied that the decision was made based on knowing what finished No. 9 and No. 10 in the Big Four categories.

The New York Times published a report on Wednesday, authored by Ben Sisario and Joe Coscarelli, in which those reporters said they had gotten hold of a copy of the initial nominations list, when there just eight nominees in each of the Big Four categories, and thus could see what was added.

According to The Times’ story, the entries that moved up were: for record of the year, “I Still Have Faith in You” and “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)”; for album of the year, evermore and DONDA; for song of the year, “Kiss Me More” (co-written by Doja Cat and SZA, who performed it, and five more writers) and “Right on Time” (co-written by Carlile, who performed it, and three more writers); and for best new artist, Arooj Aftab and Baby Keem.

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On Thursday, Mason issued the following statement. “Realizing that today is a time to celebrate Thanksgiving with family and friends, we reluctantly felt compelled to respond to the suggestive and sometimes erroneous reports we have seen in the media regarding the Academy’s decision to expand our general fields from eight to 10 nominees…

“I applaud our board of trustees, for having the agility and foresight to approve this expansion as a way to honor more music, more artists and more genres. And yes, they did it quickly and decisively, and they did it without knowing who the additional nominees would be. For those who would suggest any counter-narratives to stir drama and drive clicks, I would ask that you please take a fresh look at the new Recording Academy.”

Turning back to this year’s nominees, three of the 10 nominees for best new artist are nominated for the best album award in their respective genres. Rodrigo’s Sour is nominated for best pop vocal album (as well as album of the year), Arlo ParksCollapsed in Sunbeams and Japanese Breakfast’s Jubilee are both nominated for best alternative music album.

Four other nominees in that category received other nominations on this year’s ballot. Finneas has four other nominations — three for work with his sister, Billie Eilish, and one for his work as a producer on Bieber’s album Justice (Triple Chucks Deluxe). Baby Keem has two other nominations – one as a featured artist on West’s DONDA and one for best rap performance for “Family Ties” (featuring Lamar). Aftab and The Kid LAROI each have one other nomination. Aftab’s other nod is for best global music performance for “Mohabbat.” The Kid LAROI’s other nod is as a featured artist on Bieber’s album.

The three other best new artist nominees — Jimmie Allen, Glass Animals and Saweetie — received no other nominations.

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