HOLLYWOOD—With several major artists overlooked, it will be a year of upheaval. The Grammys aren’t exactly known for their brevity; and this year’s list of nominees includes a total of 84 categories. They have expanded the categories-to eight nominees, instead of the traditional five. It’s to improve diversity. Not that you’ll actually find any jazz or classical candidates in some of the top categories.
Will there be a Beyonce boycott? Beyonce and Jay-Z released a joint album “Everything is Love,” this year. Over the years, the couple had multiple opportunities to practice their “gracious loser” face at the Grammys – with neither artist winning Album of the Year, despite multiple nominations.
“What does Beyonce have to do to win Album of the Year,” asked a mystified Adele at the podium in 2017, having just beaten the star’s “Lemonade” for the main prize. This year, though, it got worse: the couple’s joint album “Everything Is Love” failed to secure a nomination in any of the big four categories. According to published reports, it seems that Jay-Z’s attack on the Recording Academy made voters uncomfortable. The record still received a couple nods in the urban and video categories – but that raises the question of whether the couple, who’ve historically been a front-row fixture at the ceremony, will boycott the event?
What about Ariana Grande, was she snubbed? She’s one of pop’s biggest stars, but Grande has never won a Grammy. That could change this year, with her cathartic, confessional “Sweetener” album up for Best Pop Vocal Album and the single “God Is A Woman” is up for Best Pop Vocal. It is a surprise to see her omitted from the big four categories, given the emotional and cultural impact she’s had over the past year. Even more unusual is the total absence of “No Tears Left To Cry” her uplifting response to the Manchester Arena bombings, from the nominations list.
Taylor Swift is a darling of the Grammys, with 10 wins under her belt – including two Album of the Year wins. The Recording Academy had no love for her “Reputation” album, which garnered a single nomination in the pop category. The signs were there last year, when the record’s first single, “Look What You Made Me Do,” failed to secure a nomination – but after selling two million albums, breaking YouTube records and staging the highest-grossing tour of 2018, many assumed Swift would walk away with a clutch of nominations. It wasn’t to be – but voters beware. Swift buries hatchets, but she keeps maps of where she put ’em. Truth be told, Swift is number one on Billboard with her “Reputation” album.
Who the heck is Kacey Musgraves? She recently picked up an Album of the Year at the Country Music Awards. That sets her up for a successful Grammys where voters are likely to respond to “Golden Hours'” timeless melodies and effortless charm.
The question will the ceremony get political, as with many awards show? There were plenty of political moments at the 2018 Grammys – Kendrick Lamar rapping about black power, Kesha addressing the #MeToo movement and Camila Cabello’s poignant speech about immigration.
Can you believe that Guns N’ Roses could win their first Grammy ever for the deluxe edition of 1987’s “Appetite for Destruction,” an album which didn’t receive a single nomination the year it was released. Are you ready Axl?
Kanye West – one of hip-hop’s most innovative and respected producers – receives his first ever nomination in the Producer of the Year category for the sequence of five albums he worked on this year – including Pusha T’s “Daytona,” Teyana Taylor’s “KTSE” and his own record, “Ye.” Drake is back! After withholding his “More Life” mixtape from consideration last year, he’s all over the 2019 nominations list with his attention-sapping double album “Scorpion.”
Dua Lipa and Jorja Smith are the first British stars to be nominated for Best New Artist since James Bay in 2016. The soundtrack to “A Star Is Born” was released after the eligibility period – but one song, “Shallow” was released as a single days before the deadline, and earned nominations for both Record of the Year (recognizing everyone who worked on the track) and Song of the Year (which goes to the writers). It’s likely to be a big Oscar contender, too.
Speaking of the Oscars, as of press time, the Academy is still waiting on a host. It may just go host-less. Funny that last week’s Star-gazing article was just about Oscar hosting. Talk about a bizarre coincidence. Anyway, Sting and Shaggy got a nomination for Best Reggae Album for their weird. but-not-awful-but-still-what-were-they-thinking collaboration “44/876.” The Grammys will air on February 10, 2019 on CBS from the Staples Center.
Rose’s Scoop: Kanye West wants to collaborate with Bob Dylan, he tweeted on Twitter. Unfortunately, Bob Dylan does not have a Twitter account.