The Recording Academy decided to expand the number of Grammy nominees just 24 hours before the list was released Tuesday – in favor of artists including Kanye West, Taylor Swift, ABBA and Lil Nas X – according to a report in the New York Times.
The move, which caused the list of nominees in the top four general categories to grow from eight nominees to 10, was positioned as a natural progression by CEO Harvey Mason jr. when asked about it by Variety on Monday. “We saw it as an incredible opportunity for us to honor more artists and shed light on more amazing music and potentially offer a greater opportunity for more genres of music to be honored,” he said.
As for the steepness of the move, “it’s something we’ve been talking about for a while, but it ended up happening quite recently,” he said. “We looked at the vote and the amount of posts [for the 2022 Grammys] and saw it as a great opportunity. ” Advance lists of the nominees, which are traditionally served by the media 24 hours before the announcement, came much later than usual on Monday. Sources tell Variety that the extension of the top lists was the reason for the delay.
Lil Nas X’s “Montero (Call Me by Your Name)” and ABBA’s “I Still Have Faith in You” were added to this year’s record; Swift’s “Evermore” and West’s “Donda” were the additional nominees for this year’s album; Doja Cat’s “Kiss Me More” and Brandi Carlile’s “Right on Time” were put at the last minute for song of the year (Carlile’s second nomination in the category); and Baby Keem and Arooj Aftab were added to the best new artist field, according to the report.
The Times was able to determine which artists benefited from the shift from eight to 10 by comparing the final list with a list created before Monday’s decision – a version that “had begun to circulate outside the Recording Academy before the nominations. was announced Tuesday. ”The Times said it had received a copy of the previous list.
Mason told the Times that the artists added to the list were simply the ninth and tenth most voted by members of the academy, and were determined by Deloitte, its partner to collect and set up votes. As if the multimillion-dollar Grammy Telecast ratings were a consideration for the Swift-West addition, he replied, “One thousand percent no. It was not a consideration.”
Academy co-president Valeisha Butterfield Jones added: “While it may seem hasty, it was really a thoughtful, well-meaning process that was also data-driven.” Reps for the Academy did not immediately respond Variety‘s requests for further comment.
Other questions about the final nominations were raised this week by record label Linda Chorney, who said she woke up this week to Google alerts linking to news stories showing she had been nominated for Best American Roots Performance for sin sang “Bored”. Rolling Stone was among the publications that included Choney’s song on a list of nominees, screenshots and cached search results. But when the official list spread, Chorney’s song was not among the nominees, and a song by Rhiannon Giddens took the place that had apparently been hers. Chorney says she wrote to some of the journalists who published a story in which they claimed a nomination for her and heard apologetically back from someone that the information had been cut and pasted from a wrong source, but she has not received any feedback. on what that source was.
With no explanations on the way as to why erroneous news accounts could have credited her with a nod, Chorney believes she did earn a nomination – and that it was somehow discarded. Chorney has been taking on the Grammys for changes in the voting process over the years since she landed a nod in the category for best Americana album in 2012, which she believes was made to prevent self-publishing artists like her from re-entering. Variety has also contacted Acedemy representatives on Chorney’s issues.
The Times’ news of details about last-minute expansion of top nominations sets an awkward tone for the next Grammy Awards, an institution that has been marred by an ongoing series of gruesome controversies over the past five years.
Last year, Weeknd was shockingly excluded from all nominations despite having one of the year’s most successful albums and singles with “After Hours” and “Blinding Lights.” Mason’s predecessor Deborah Dugan was fired when she claimed there were conflicts of interest and covered up allegations of sexual misconduct and even a rape. Earlier this year, the Academy eliminated its “secret” nomination committees, which had curated the final nominated lists for most categories, but it was only after several years of complaints about insider trading that culminated with the Weeknd dude. The list goes on.
Mason has promised a new era of transparency, but the controversy has continued.