1. SURPRISE: Jay Z dominating
While I wasn’t bold enough to call him for Record or Song of the Year, the utter domination of Jay-Z was the best surprise this year. With 8 nominations including three in the general field, four in the rap field, and one for Best Music Video, Jay-Z is the most nominated artist this year. As an artist who has constantly fought for equal representation of rap at the Grammys and an indisputable living legend, the domination is well earned. 4:44 is one of the best albums of the year and of Jay’s career, and with this being his thirteenth album, he was overdue for General Field nominations. Winning is another question, but his overarching presence in the nominations is incredible.
2. SNUB: Lack of country and rock in the General Field
Miranda Lambert easily deserved nominations for Album and Song of the Year and Metallica for Album of the Year as well. There are zero country or rock representatives in any of the general field categories in years where both genres landed surprise major hits and yielded quality material. In a year dominated by hip-hop and R&B, this should have been expected, but for an institution with a history like the Grammys, it was a shock nonetheless.
3. SURPRISE: P!NK and Kelly Clarkson get love
In the single most crowded category of the year, veteran pop divas P!NK and Kelly Clarkson got nominations for their respective lead singles, “What About Us” and “Love So Soft.” While I presently don’t think either will win, hopefully, this bodes well for their albums next year.
4: SNUB: Lorde
Despite landing a nomination in the marquee category, the lack of Lorde nominations is quite a shock. She should have been an easy call for Best Pop Solo Performance and Best Pop Vocal Album; also, she had a strong chance for Record and Song of the Year and Best Music Video. Lorde scoring one nomination seems very fishy, I find it hard to believe Coldplay got in with an under-the-radar EP over her critically acclaimed album. This snub is inexcusable.
5. SURPRISE: SZA Pulls Through For The Women
In a male-dominated lineup, SZA is the most nominated female artist with a stunning five nominations ranging from rap to R&B to the General Field. Ctrl is a stunning album and she has had an enviable year. Well deserved.
6. SNUB: Demi Lovato and Ariana Grande Get Shafted
Ariana clearly deserved nominations for “Somewhere Over the Rainbow (Live from Manchester)” and “Beauty And The Best (with John Legend).” Demi also deserved nominations for “Sorry Not Sorry” and “Tell Me You Love Me.” Sadly both ladies were shutout in favor of lesser vocal performances and albums like “Shape Of You” and “Kaleidoscope EP.”
7. SURPRISE: Ed and Taylor Shut Out
Widely acknowledged as the frontrunner for this year’s ceremony, Ed Sheeran was completely shut out of the general field and relegated to the two (modern) pop categories in a shocking twist. Also, barring her two songwriting nominations, Taylor Swift’s “Look What You Made Me Do” received a stunning zero nominations despite it being eligible for four categories.
8. SNUB: Nicki Minaj
Despite featuring on around 30 tracks this year and having plenty of them submitted, Nicki came up short with no nominations this year. Hopefully, this leaves room for her fourth album next year.
9. SURPRISE: New R&B/Hip-Hop Acts Get Support
After years of tone-deafness, the Grammys really showed support for newer acts. Julia Michaels landed two General Field noms, SZA landed five overall nominations, Migos; Rapsody; and Tyler, The Creator got their first Grammy nominations, and Lil Uzi Vert, Cardi B, and Khalid got multiple nominations each.
10. 1D Guys Shut Out
I expected Harry to get at most around three or four nominations, and I thought Zayn and Niall had admirable chances. Sadly, despite all five boys submitting hit songs, they received a total of zero nominations. Does The Academy have a bias against former 2010s boy-banders?