This year has been full of awful surprises, but perhaps the latest about the GRAMMYs wasn’t a surprise at all? The nominations for the 63rd Annual GRAMMYs just came out. When The Weeknd scrolled down and saw his name wasn’t there, he wasn’t happy. He didn’t keep a stiff upper lip like most do in that situation. Also, he didn’t call his agent to complain.
He goes full social media rage and tells the world the GRAMMYs are “corrupt“!
That’s not how we teach our kids to handle a loss. Yet, in these days of “participation ribbons” and the wussification of sports, maybe that’s the new thing?
Working for The Weeknd at the GRAMMYs?
Was there a point to The Weeknd (nee Abel Tesfaye) calling out the GRAMMYs? If you keep up with modern music, you may think so. And, if you know that little known social media up-start called TikTok, the answer is a resounding “Yes!”
His most recent album After Hours didn’t even catch a sniff of approval from the Recording Academy (home of the GRAMMYs). Neither did his wildly popular single “Blinding Lights.”
Think about this: If you had a single that was Number One on the Billboard 200 for more than three weeks, score big at the 2020 AMAs, and oh yeah…will be headlining the Super Bowl halftime show, wouldn’t you think the GRAMMYs would be singing your praises too?
Of course, you would. Yet, the album and single got a big fat goose egg from the muckety-mucks at the Recording Academy. To wit, The Weeknd doubles down on Instagram:
His song was everywhere. In the UK, the 80s-homage synthesizer melody was in the chart’s top spot for eight weeks. That doubled his success in the states. Yet, bupkus. So, of course, the GRAMMYs have responded. And yeah, it’s about as disappointing as the snub The Weeknd received.
The GRAMMYs Hit a Sour Note
Recording Academy Chair and Interim President/CEO, Harvey Mason Jr. had to respond as The Weeknd’s social media blitzkrieg went viral in seconds. So, he found an email to THR and offered this apoplectic response in writing:
“Congratulations to today’s GRAMMY’s nominees who have earned their peers’ recognition for their incredible work. There were a record number of submissions in this unusual and competitive year. We understand that The Weeknd is disappointed at not being nominated. 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. We were thrilled when we found out he would be performing at the upcoming Super Bowl and we would have loved to have him also perform on the GRAMMY stage the weekend before.”
“Unfortunately, every year, there are fewer nominations than the number of deserving artists. But as the only peer-voted music award, we will continue to recognize and celebrate excellence in music while shining a light on the many amazing artists that make up our global community. 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.”Recording Academy Chair and Interim President/CEO, Harvey Mason Jr., THR, Nov. 2020
In plain-speak: “Sure the song did well, but my assistant had to tell me what happening on The Tweeter, so I crafted this line of crap and burying the guy named after two-and-a-half days in the middle of this statement.”
I don’t know about you, but I believe Harvey. Right?!
Other Snubs Cry Out
Turns out The Weeknd struck a chord among the music faithful. Many other acts got snubbed — Bob Dylan, Harry Styles, Luke Combs, Pop Smoke — but they’ve remained quiet. Well, not everyone.
A couple of well-known snubs have spoken out about corruption at the GRAMMYs. This was Justin Bieber:
Never shy for a little attention, Nicki Minaj got on the GRAMMYs corruption bandwagon too.
What’s interesting is this isn’t the first time “corruption” has been hurled in the GRAMMYs’ direction. The Recording Academy has faced persistent criticism for a clandestine voting process. Former CEO Deborah Dugan tried to fix things at the Recording Academy. She called the organization out for corruption and said there was a “boys’ club” mentality.
She was shown the door for her efforts. Today, that veil remains over the GRAMMYs and corruption is still the buzzword of the day.
That’s the thing with voting: You win some, you lose some, and it ends up you miss a lot! But when you have all those accolades to your credit, not to mention 1.8 billion streams that The Weeknd has earned, Harvey Mason Jr. can stick his empathy in one of those flashy golden horns and suck it.
Just ask Kid Cudi to close this song out: