Once again, the Recording Academy was full of surprises when it announced the nominees of the 59th annual GRAMMY Awards. This year welcomed accolades for some growing popstars, including Justin Bieber and Demi Lovato, as well as recognition of streaming-only albums. (Kudos to Chance the Rapper for standing his ground.) And then there are the headscratchers: Where’s the love for Sia or Taylor Swift? (Yes, Taylor Swift.)
Here’s a look at a few of the most shocking snubs and surprises:
Surprise: Demi and Justin
There’s no doubt that Justin Bieber is a formidable artist, producing hit after hit and earning three GRAMMY nominations. But up until now, the singer had yet to reach such critical acclaim as he did for Purpose, which was nominated for Album of the Year. In total he earned four nominations (putting him at seven overall), largely thanks to his match made in musical heaven with Diplo and Skrillex. Last year, the three won Best Dance Recording for “Where R U Now,” marking Bieber’s first GRAMMY win. But he wasn’t the only popstar to finally get his due. Demi Lovato earned her first nomination ever: Best Pop Vocal Album for Confident.
No one ran away with the summer quite like Sia, who not only earned her first No. 1 single (“Cheap Thrills”) but also released the power pop ballad, “The Greatest,” to rave reviews. Neither song appeared in the Record of the Year or Song of the Year categories, in which she appeared for “Chandelier.” Instead, Sia walked away with a respectable (yet disappointingly slight) three nominations, including Best Pop Vocal Album for This Is Acting and Best Pop Duo/Group Performance for “Cheap Thrills.”
More than just Beyonce’s little sister, Solange released one of the best R&B albums of the year and the standout track, “Cranes in the Sky,” earned the singer her first-ever nomination for Best R&B Performance. Though, the fact that she only walked away with one, especially with Frank Ocean not in contention, is a major disappointment. Where’s the love in the rest of the R&B categories?
Rihanna could prove to be this year’s darkhorse, earning eight nominations, including two of the top awards (Record of the Year for "Work" and Album of the Year for Drake's Views). If she does walk away with any wins, it could only stop Beyonce from inching her way toward GRAMMY history.
Snub: Taylor and Calvin
While Rihanna earned eight nominations, none of them were for “This Is What You Came For” -- you know, that EDM chart-topper written by Calvin Harris and Taylor Swift. If the Recording Academy had any sense of humor -- or a taste for drama -- it would have nominated the two exes in the Song of the Year category and let them awkwardly figure out that acceptance speech.
Surprise: Chance the Rapper
Just by getting nominated, Chance the Rapper is making GRAMMY history. This year, the Recording Academy amended its rules, allowing for streaming-only albums to compete. With the rapper’s mixtape, The Coloring Book (released exclusively on Apple Music), eligible, Chance the Rapper earned seven nominations, including Best New Artist.
The Recording Academy will present the GRAMMY Awards live on Sunday, Feb. 12, 2017 on CBS.