Beyoncé May Lead in Grammy Nominations

Published March 13th, 2021 - 11:13 GMT
Beyoncé
Beyoncé (Instagram)
Highlights
Among Beyoncé's nine nominations are nods for Record of the Year and Song of the Year for Black Parade.

She may lead in Grammy nominations, but don't expect to see Beyoncé taking to the stage at the 2021 Grammy Awards on Sunday.

The Recording Academy interim chief executive Harvey Mason Jr. confirmed Friday to the Los Angeles Times that the 39-year-old singer won't be performing at the show, despite earning nine nominations this year.

The loss of one of the show's most high-profile stars comes after The Weeknd announced he would no longer submit his music to the Grammys due to the 'secret committees' in charge of finalizing nominations.

Among Beyoncé's nine nominations are nods for Record of the Year and Song of the Year for Black Parade.

The categories are among the most prestigious and award both the artist (Record of the Year) and songwriter (Song of the Year).

The Times points out that this marks the third time in recent years that the most high-profile nominee won't be performing, after Kendrick Lamar sat out the 2019 show and her husband Jay-Z didn't perform in 2018.

'It’s unfortunate, because she’s such a big part of the Recording Academy,' Mason said of Beyoncé's decision to skip the show.

'We absolutely wish we had her onstage,' he continued.

The interim Grammys organizer also confirmed that Beyoncé's lack of participation wasn't a ploy to have her make a surprise appearance during the show.

Ben Winston, the British TV producer helming the Grammys this year, was also queried about this year's show. 

When he was asked if viewers would be puzzled by the absence of the highest-profile nominee, Winston reportedly took a pause before replying diplomatically, 'They might.' 

He expressed frustration about being turned down for the virtual award show by performers over past nomination snubs, even though he emphasized that he's just running the ceremony and has no say over the nomination process. 

'You know that’s the deal when you take over the show,' he said.

The producer said he spent months chatting with musicians and label heads to get their feelings on the show.

He claimed that one unnamed performer turned down the show 'because she was like, "I got snubbed three years ago, and I’m still annoyed about it."

'I told her, "Right, but you know that’s nothing to do with me?" She said, "I don’t know — it sort of is, isn’t it?"' 

Beyoncé may feel the Grammys have done her wrong, as she has mostly been nominated in genre categories rather than the highest-profile awards.

She only won a major award once, with Song of the Year in 2010 for Single Ladies.

Her single Black Parade was released in June 2020 amid racial justice protests throughout the year, and it was later collected on the deluxe version of her quasi-Lion King soundtrack The Gift.

The songstress currently has 24 Grammy wins under her belt, and eight more wins would officially make her the most award Grammy artist, surprising the British conductor Georg Solti. 

The confirmation that Beyoncé won't be at the Grammys comes a day after The Weeknd announced he wouldn't have anything to do with the ceremony going forward. 

The 31-year-old singer — real name Abel Makkonen Tesfaye — said he will no longer allow his record label, Republic Records, to submit his music for awards consideration.

He released a statement to the New York Times on Thursday which read: 'Because of the secret committees I will no longer allow my label to submit my music to the Grammys.'

The next day Mason said the Recording Academy is disappointed. He shared in a statement to The New York Times that the show is 'going to take a hard look at how to improve our awards process, including the nomination review committees.'

He is not the only black artist who has criticized the award show as Drake, Kanye West, and Frank Ocean have all publicly voiced their displeasure. 

Back in November, The Weeknd called the Grammy Awards 'corrupt' after he was snubbed in the nominations.

Taking to social media, he wrote to organizers: 'You owe me, my fans and the industry transparency...' 

Insiders said at the time that the Can't Feel My Face artist's camp suspected the lack of nominations were in response to the unpleasant back and forth over whether he would perform in the Super Bowl. 

The artist released the record After Hours in March to strong sales and reviews, and it won Favorite Album - Soul/R&B honors at the American Music Awards last year.

Recording Academy interim chief Harvey Mason, jr. responded to the singer's public complaints at the time in a statement to Rolling Stone.

'We understand that the Weeknd is disappointed at not being nominated,' he said. 'I was surprised and can empathize with what he's feeling. His music this year was excellent, and his contributions to the music community and broader world are worthy of everyone's admiration.' 

Mason continued: 'We would have loved to have him also perform on the Grammy stage the weekend before' the Super Bowl.] Unfortunately, every year, there are fewer nominations than the number of deserving artists.' 

'To be clear, voting in all categories ended well before The Weeknd's performance at the Super Bowl was announced, so in no way could it have affected the nomination process. All Grammy nominees are recognized by the voting body for their excellence, and we congratulate them all.'

Asked by Variety about The Weeknd getting shut out, Mason said at the time, '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. It's really interesting, though.'

Mason opened up about the process Grammy officials take to suss out which performers are nominated, and in what categories.

 'We look at it every year and make tweaks and revisions to the process; we did it this year, last year, we'll do it next year. And I don't think this calls it into question, honestly,' Mason said. 'The process is there so we can continue to monitor excellence.'

The Weeknd first graced the Grammy Awards stage in 2016 as he accepted the gong for Best Urban Contemporary Album for Beauty Behind The Madness, as well the award for Best R&B Performance for Earned It.

Following the successful release of his third studio album Starboy, he earned the Grammy for Best Urban Contemporary Album during the 2017 ceremony for three total in his career.

Last month, The Weeknd hit a milestone in his career as he  was surrounded by masked dancers and a robot choir during his COVID-friendly Super Bowl LV halftime show in Tampa, Florida which was met with generally positive reviews.

Regardless of the Grammy snub, the singer is seeing the most success of his career as it was reported by Variety earlier this week that hit Blinding Lights is the first song in the history of the Billboard Hot 100 to remain in the Top 10 for an entire year.

The upbeat track from the artist previously set a record by remaining in the Top 5 for 43 weeks.

The previous Top 10 record was held by Post Malone, whose Circles spent 39 weeks in the upper part of the charts.

The next milestone on tap is the Imagine Dragons' streak of 87 weeks in the Billboard Hot 100 with their 2012 track Radioactive.


© Associated Newspapers Ltd.

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