It wouldn’t be an awards show without an accompanying list of grievances.
But while the nominations for the 64th annual Grammy Awards certainly validated the Recording Academy’s revived commitment to diversity, some familiar names – and frequent visitors to the Grammy podium – were either shunned or relegated to smaller genre categories.
Billie Eilish, Doja Cat, H.E.R. and Olivia Rodrigo are among the top nominees this year, while jazz-R&B musician Jon Batiste scored a leading 11 nominations.
Popular chart-toppers such as Miley Cyrus, Drake, and BTS weren’t given much support.
“The thing that keeps me up at night is that we don’t get a chance to honor all of the amazing projects produced every year,” Recording Academy CEO and President Harvey Mason Jr. tells USA TODAY. “I come from the music sphere and know the feeling of putting your heart and soul into a project, hoping to get recognized. But we only have 10 slots and one winner (for each category).”
Grammys 2022:Take a look at the nominated candidates
You can find more Grammys hereHow to learn more about Jon Batiste
Here are some notable surprises and snubs:
Grammys 2022: Snubs
Despite a guest list featuring Stevie Nicks, Joan Jett, Dua Lipa and Billy Idol, Cyrus’ seventh studio album, “Plastic Hearts” was blanked. Maybe voters didn’t cotton to her valentine to the ’80s, which is a shame. The release not only brims with Cyrus’ passion for the era but singles “Prisoner” (with Dua Lipa) and “Angels Like You” (featuring a co-write with Ryan Tedder) exemplify her ability to marry authenticity with rock charm.
Kelly Machine Gun
Kelly’s fifth album “Tickets to My Downfall,” was his debut studio album. It established Kelly as a pop punkster who had largely abandoned hip-hop. Kelly’s guitar-backed anthems weren’t worthy of one Grammy nod. MGK could have a future Grammy nomination due to his musical partnership with Blink-182’s Travis Barker, and a smash rock song with “Papercuts” from the upcoming album “Born with Horns.”
Expect another round of Drake and Kanye. The latter scored an album of the year nod for his much-tinkered with “Donda.” But Drake, despite breaking Spotify records, becoming the eighth artist in Billboard history to earn 10 No. 1 albums with “Certified Lover Boy” and outselling Ye with first-week sales, was only recognized for best rap album and best rap performance (“Way 2 Sexy” with Future and Young Thug). The Weeknd wants a response.
We’ll acknowledge that “Butter” isn’t as hearty a slice of pop perfection as its predecessor, “Dynamite.” But it’s still a blissfully fun contribution from the K-pop superstars – not to mention the song of summer that broke a record on Spotify’s global chart for biggest song debut in the platform’s history. Only one nomination was made for the best pop group/duo performance. BTS Army would appreciate a comment.
Get more awardsAMAs performance reviews – Brutally honest
Megan Thee Stallion
A nomination for best rap performance (“Thot S—”) is acceptable, but the most recent best new artist winner had every reason to expect that her debut album, “Good News,” would earn a few back slaps. It debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 album chart, spawned the platinum singles “Body” and “Cry Baby” (with DaBaby) and pushed Megan further into the conversation of notable current female rappers.
The double Grammy-winner released “Positions” to reasonable acclaim as she continued to push a sound that mingled pop with R&B and trap. Even though the album featured more club thumpers than breathy songs of seduction, it was still a top-ten hit. It was also the single that earned her a Grammy nomination. It will compete for the best pop vocal album award, although it was expected that it would be in the Grammy spotlight.
“Solar Power” is among the works that earned Jack Antonoff his producer of the year nomination, but as for the artist herself? MIA for this year. While “Solar Power” wasn’t as adored as her 2013 debut “Pure Heroine” or 2017’s “Melodrama,” it signified a stylistic shift that usually appeals to the Grammy crew. Lorde has called “Solar Power” her “weed album” due to the songs being steeped in hazy psychedelic pop and sparser instrumentation than her past work. Evidently, she was preferred by voters in clubs.
As we know from her “Miss Americana” documentary, the album of the year category is the one that Swift covets the most, so no doubt she’s pleased with “Evermore” landing among the year’s heavyweights. But whither “Willow,” which she performed as part of a medley at this year’s Grammy ceremony? Or “No Body, No Crime,” which returned Swift to her country radio roots? Swift’s nod to the album seems obligatory due to these omissions, but it isn’t.
Recording Academy honcho Mason confirmed the embattled country singer was eligible to be nominated (“As long as the requirements meet our standards as far as date and genre, we don’t decide who is eligible,” Mason told USA TODAY). But despite the massive commercial success of “Dangerous: The Double Album,” and hit singles “Sand in My Boots,” “7 Summers” and “More Than My Hometown,” Grammy voters didn’t acknowledge Wallen, who was caught on camera uttering a racial slur in February.
Alicia Keys, Kacey Musgraves, Lizzo
One year you’re a Grammy darling and the next cycle, a distant memory. But not entirely. Keys, who has earned an impressive 15 Grammys (amid 29 nominations), popped up only in the best immersive audio album category (recordings released on formats such as DVD-Audio, Atmos and Blu-Ray) for “Alicia” and shares a record of the year nod not for her solo work, but “A Beautiful Noise,” which she performed with Brandi Carlile on “Every Vote Counts: A Celebration of Democracy” (it’s also on the digital version of “Alicia”).
Meanwhile, former album of the year winner Musgraves, whose “Golden Hour” garnered an armload of trophies at the 2019 ceremony between the general and country categories, only nabbed a bit of recognition for “Camera Roll” (best country song and best country solo performance), from her current album (aka “the divorce one”), “Star-Crossed.”
As for Lizzo, she’s just a year removed from scoring her first three career Grammys, but her 2021 single with Cardi B, “Rumors,” didn’t merit any attention.
Grammys 2022 surprises
Faithful viewers of “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” are well-aware of Batiste’s nimble musicianship with his band, Stay Human. But even with the jazz/R&B trailblazer’s sterling resume, his 11 nominations – the most among any artist this year – his isn’t a name expected among the album of the year (“We Are”) and record of the year (“Freedom”) lineups. It’s been a celebratory period for Batiste, who snagged an Academy Award in 2021 for best original score for “Soul.” Despite three previous Grammy nominations, he has yet to win. But with his current multiple nominations spread across jazz, R&B, American roots and classical categories, that will likely change in January.
We’re the first to agree that ABBA’s absence among Grammy winners is blasphemous. But we’re also rational enough to realize that while their ’70s and ’80s output – “Mamma Mia,” “Waterloo,” “Dancing Queen” “The Winner Takes It All” – was undoubtedly deserving of awards praise, the single “I Still Have Faith In You,” from the group’s first album (“Voyage”) in 40-plus years, is an odd inclusion for record of the year.