2021 GRAMMY Nominations Snubs and Surprises: The Weeknd, Luke Combs and More

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The nominees for the 2021 GRAMMYs are here — along with a few major snubs (The Weeknd was completely shut out?!) and surprises. (Meryl Streep is now a 6-time GRAMMY nominee!)

On Tuesday, the Recording Academy announced the nominees for the 63rd Annual GRAMMY Awards. Beyoncé leads the pack with nine nominations, followed by Taylor Swift, Dua Lipa and Roddy Ricch with six apiece. Brittany Howard scored five nods, while Billie Eilish, Phoebe Bridgers, Justin Bieber and Megan Thee Stallion all earned four.

However, as is the case every year, some names we expected to see didn’t make the cut, while other artists popped up in some truly unexpected categories. Here’s a look at some of the biggest snubs and surprises in the 2021 GRAMMY nods.

Snubs

The Weeknd Gets Shut Out

Is Nevada still counting the votes for the GRAMMYs Big Four? The Weeknd’s exclusion from not just the major categories, but every category, is a shock on par with the last minutes of Uncut Gems. The R&B singer has a chart-topping album, After Hours, a TikTok-powered single, “Blinding Lights,” and an upcoming spot at the Super Bowl halftime show, just a week after the GRAMMYs. The stars were aligned for some major nominations, and instead…nothing?

Lady Gaga and Harry Styles Stay Stuck in Pop

Fans and bettors alike had Big Four hopes for Gaga and Styles, both of whom added thrilling new chapters to the pop landscape this year. But unfortunately, Gaga’s delightful and hypnotic return to weird, Chromatica, and Styles’ soaring sophomore effort, Fine Line, didn’t get farther than the Best Pop Album and Performance categories. (Styles also landed a Best Music Video nod for “Adore You.”)

Katy Perry and Selena Gomez Get Blanked

There just weren’t enough pop nominations to go around this year, which unfortunately meant no nods for pop queens Katy Perry and Selena Gomez, both of whom released some of the most interesting and introspective music of their careers. Perry’s sixth studio album, Smile, led by singles “Never Really Over,” “Harleys in Hawaii” and “Daisies,” received no recognition, nor did Gomez’s Rare, its titular single, “Look at Her Now” or “Lose You to Love Me.”

Album of the Year Remains Pretty White

Though the category did introduce some lesser-known names like Jacob Collier and Black Pumas, the snubbing of The Weeknd — along with contenders like Roddy Ricch, Summer Walker, Chloe x Halle and Brittany Howard — meant that there wasn’t a whole lot of representation to speak of (yet again) in Album of the Year. While Song and Record of the Year were able to honor a more diverse group of artists, only two of the eight AOTY nominees featured BIPOC performers.

Luke Combs Can’t Crack Country

While Combs and his platinum sophomore effort, What You See Is What You Get, have been dominating the country airwaves and awards shows — winning Album of the Year at both the CMA Awards and Academy of Country Music Awards in 2020 — he was completely shut out of this years GRAMMYs, failing to crack even the country categories. (Other country snubs this year included strong Best New Artist contenders Morgan Wallen, Gabby Barrett and Jimmie Allen.)

The Chicks and Bob Dylan Won’t Return to GRAMMYs Glory

Two musical legends returned to GRAMMYs eligibility this year: The Chicks with a new name and Gaslighter, a fiery album about infidelity and starting over, and Dylan with Rough and Rowdy Ways, a celebrated album of original songs, his first since 2012. However, with 62 nominations and 23 wins between them, both acts were completely shut out of this year’s GRAMMYs.


Surprises

BTS Lands Another K-pop GRAMMYs First

Representation varied in the Big Four categories, but this year’s GRAMMYs did offer a few notable crossovers. While Justin Bieber scored his first country nod for his Dan + Shay collab “10,000 Hours,” the Best Pop Duo/Group Performance offered two global entries. J Balvin, Bad Bunny, Tainy and Dua Lipa’s multi-lingual collab, “Un Dia (One Day),” got a nod in the category, as did BTS for “Dynamite.”

The boy band were the first Korean group to be nominated for a GRAMMY back in 2019, in the Best Recording Package category. Now, they’ve broken through again, to the musical categories — though it was still a bit of a disappointment to not see more K-pop representation in the Big Four. (No BLACKPINK for Best New Artist?)

Dr. Luke Sneaks Back Into GRAMMY Noms

Not really a surprise, as Doja Cat‘s “Say So” was one of the biggest songs of the year, but it’s….interesting to see Dr. Luke slip back into the GRAMMYs good graces for the first time since his legal battle with Kesha. (Dr. Luke, real name Lukasz Gottwald, produced “Say So” under the pseudonym Tyson Trax.)

Noah Cyrus Lands a Nom Miley Never Did

It can’t be easy being Noah Cyrus, attempting to chart your own musical success while fighting off comparisons to your famous family members. But the 20-year-old singer made a major statement on Tuesday with her Best New Artist nomination, earning an honor that eluded sister Miley and tying her big sis for number of GRAMMY nods. (Shockingly, Miley has just one in her career so far: Best Pop Vocal Album, for 2013’s Bangerz.)

Black Pumas Prove They’re No One-Nom Wonder

Last year’s dark horse Best New Artist nominees, Black Pumas — an Austin-based band led by singer/songwriter Eric Burton and guitarist/producer Adrian Quesada — impressed the GRAMMYs once again this year with the deluxe version of their debut album, featuring singles “Black Moon Rising,” “I’m Ready,” and “Colors,” which was also nominated for Record of the Year and Best American Roots Performance.

Big Stars Shine in Small Categories

While no one was shocked to see Taylor Swift’s folklore earn nominations in the top categories, it was a bit more surprising to see her land another major nomination for Cats. The singer and Broadway legend Andrew Lloyd Webber followed up their Golden Globes nom with recognition in Best Song Written For Visual Media, for their original track for the film, “Beautiful Ghosts.”

And as usual, some fun famous names popped up in the spoken word and comedy categories, the most notable being Meryl Streep for her work narrating a children’s classic, E.B. White’s Charlotte’s Web.


The 63rd Annual GRAMMY Awards will be held on Jan. 31, 2021 — “rain or shine, COVID-19 vaccine or not” — and air live on CBS and CBS All Access.

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