2020 GRAMMY Nominations Snubs and Surprises: Taylor Swift, Halsey, BTS and More
By Meredith B. Kile
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GRAMMY Nominations 2020: The Biggest Snubs and Surprises
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The 2020 GRAMMY nominations were announced on Wednesday morning, and while there was plenty of recognition for some of the year's biggest artists -- like Lizzo and Billie Eilish -- we have to discuss some of the more surprising inclusions (Lil Nas X! Bon Iver!) and shocking exclusions. (Taylor Swift! Maren Morris! Almost every woman in rap!)
So, after you've finished perusing the complete list of nominees, read on for a rundown of the snubs, surprises, and the Star Is Born of it all.
Taylor Swift and Beyoncé Shut Out of Album of the Year... Again
Two of the biggest stars on last year's Album of the Year snub list are back again this year -- with oversights that are sure to have their fanbases up in arms. After being snubbed in all the major categories for Reputation -- and receiving a single GRAMMY nod overall, for Best Pop Vocal Album -- Swift landed a 2020 Song of the Year nomination for her song "Lover," but failed to score a nod for the album of the same name. She did, however, earn two more noms: Best Pop Solo Performance for "You Need to Calm Down" and another Best Pop Vocal Album nod for Lover.
As for Queen Bey, she won Best Urban Contemporary Album in 2019 for The Carters' Everything Is Love, but was left out of the major categories. For the 2020 awards, Beyoncé had two GRAMMY-eligible offerings -- The Lion King: The Gift and Homecoming: The Live Album -- but was left out of Album of the Year once again. She ended up with four nominations in total: Best Pop Solo Performance and Best Song Written for Visual Media for "Spirit" from The Lion King, as well as Best Pop Vocal Album nod for The Gift, and a Best Musical Film nod for the Homecoming documentary.
Halsey, Katy Perry and More of the Pop Girls Get Passed Over
With the Pop Solo Performance category opting for the likes of Billie Eilish and Beyoncé, Halsey and her massive hit, "Without Me," weren't the only ones left out in the cold: Katy Perry's comeback bop, "Never Really Over," was blanked, as was Normani's undeniable smash, "Motivation." (Speaking of the latter, her duet with Sam Smith, "Dancing With a Stranger" was noticeably absent from Pop Duo/Group Performance.)
Alas, Halsey has a message for her fans: "please do not waste your anger or frustration," she tweeted. "i see a lot of you are upset. of course im sad too. none of it matters. literally none of it. you’re here. im here. + everything is gonna stay exactly the same and without me is still a super tight, record breaking song"
Megan Thee Stallion Gets Iced After "Hot Girl Summer"
Despite giving us a "Hot Girl Summer" to remember, the GRAMMY committee was surprisingly chilly to one of the biggest female newcomers in the rap game this year. Megan Thee Stallion was snubbed out of what many thought would be a shoo-in 2020 Best New Artist nomination, and wasn't recognized for her debut mixtape Fever or any of its singles.
In fact, looking beyond Lizzo's success in the Big 4, the only female artists nominated in any of the rap categories are Cardi B -- featured on husband Offset's Best Rap Performance-nominated "Clout" -- and the female performers in J.Cole's Dreamville collective, Ari Lennox and Mereba, who are featured on the Best Rap Album-nominated Revenge of the Dreamers III.
No Girl Allowed
Maren Morris is coming off an Album of the Year win at the CMA Awards, and her second major label album, Girl -- along with its titular single -- has been a country music darling since its release in March. Many had her projected for an Album of the Year nod, or at some recognition in the country categories at the 2020 GRAMMYs, so it comes as something of a surprise that she's only nominated once: in the Best Country Duo/Group Performance category for her "Common" duet with Highwomen bandmate Brandi Carlile.
K-Pop's GRAMMY Breakthrough Still to Come
Despite BTS' breakthrough nomination in 2019, there were no K-Pop acts nominated in any category this year. Given the fact that groups like SuperM, BLACKPINK and the aforementioned Bangtan Boys are some of the most popular acts in the world right now, it seems unlikely that they won't soon be receiving GRAMMY glory -- but 2020 won't be the year.
Lil Nas X Reps Country Music in the Big 4, Scores Album of the Year Nod
No one can dispute that Lil Nas X was one of the biggest names in music this year, with his cross-genre smash "Old Town Road" making an historic run at the top of the charts. However, with the success of the young performer -- who got his start by going viral on the TikTok app -- came the debate over whether he and his song were "country enough" for Billboard and fans of the genre in general.
The GRAMMYs seem to have answered that question in their own way with the 2020 nominations. In most years, the Big 4 categories -- Song of the Year, Record of the Year, Album of the Year and Best New Artists -- include at least a handful of nods for country artists representing the ever-popular genre. This year, there is just Lil Nas and "Old Town Road" -- and one other Song of the Year nod, for Tanya Tucker's "Bring My Flowers Now." No Maren Morris, no Thomas Rhett, no Blake Shelton.
Is this the GRAMMYs way of saying Lil Nas is country enough for them, or a major snub of Nashville's biggest artists and freshest faces? Either way, it looks like the young performer is ready to ride the success of his breakout single 'til he can't no more. (He even scored perhaps the biggest surprise of the 2020 GRAMMY nominations, with an Album of the Year nod for his debut EP, 7!)
Hope You Didn't Forget H.E.R.
Proving herself to be a GRAMMY committee darling, 2019 Best New Artist nominee H.E.R. is back in the Big 4 in 2020 after scoring five nominations and two wins -- Best R&B Performance for her "Best Part" duet with Daniel Caesar and Best R&B Album for her self-titled compilation -- earlier this year.
For her second go-round at the GRAMMYs, H.E.R. finds rarefied air -- landing nods for Record of the Year and Song of the Year for "Hard Place," as well as Album of the Year for I Used to Know Her. This makes her one of the few artists who have been nominated for all four general field awards, though fellow nominees Billie Eilish and Lizzo outshined her a bit by accomplishing all four in the same year. No matter, she also scored a couple more nods -- Best R&B Performance and Best R&B Song for "Could've Been."
Bon Iver Is Back in the Big 4
Though his fourth album, i,i has been critically acclaimed since its release in August -- and has already start to pop up on many Best of 2019 lists -- it's been a while since Bon Iver, aka Justin Vernon, found himself in the general field categories. ("Holocene" scored him Record of the Year and Song of the Year nods back in 2012, the same year he won Best New Artist.)
His 2017 album, 22, A Million, was certainly deserving, but perhaps too eclectic for the GRAMMY committee, landing a nod for Best Alternative Music Album instead. But this year he's back in the majors, earning a nomination for Album of the Year (as well as Best Alternative Music Album and Best Recording Package) for i,i, in addition to a Song of the Year nod for lead single "Hey Ma."
Best New-to-You Artists
The Best New Artist category always provides a healthy mix of expected, radio-friendly talents (this year: Lizzo, Billie Eilish, Lil Nas X, etc.) with a few artists that send you straight to Google to learn more about the acclaimed, fresh talents. This year, many GRAMMY fans may be unfamiliar with the heartfelt psychedelics of Black Pumas, the eclectic funk of Tanks and the Bangas, or the soulful Americana sound of Yola, but you'll certainly know their names come GRAMMY night.
KIND OF A SNUB AND A SURPRISE
A Star Is Born Is Back for More
It seems the GRAMMY committee was as confused about A Star Is Born's split-eligibility as some fans -- and it's hard to blame them. While the Lady Gaga-Bradley Cooper musical drama had its big awards moment in 2019, only the lead single, "Shallow," was eligible for GRAMMY Awards earlier this year.
When it comes to 2020, Gaga did land a Song of the Year nod for "Always Remember Us This Way," however, the full album missed out on Album of the Year -- earning a nod instead for Best Compilation Soundtrack For Visual Media.
The true weirdness comes, however, in the category of Best Song Written For Visual Media. "Shallow" won this GRAMMY in 2019, and Gaga is nominated again in 2020 for "I'll Never Love Again." If she wins in January, she'll almost certainly be the first person to win back-to-back GRAMMYs in the same category for the same project. Just, don't let Jackson Maine be up there for the acceptance speech.