2022 GRAMMYs Nominations: Snubs & Surprises

This afternoon (Tuesday, November 23), The Recording Academy announced the nominees for the 64th Annual Grammy Awards. In light of some changes to voting and eligibility, the disbandment of secret committees, and the addition of a few new categories, the 2022 Grammys nominations were actually less terrible than they could have been.

Jon Batiste leads this year’s nominations with 11 nods. H.E.R., Doja Cat, and Justin Bieber follow with 8, and Billie Eilish and Olivia Rodrigo are right behind them with 7. This year’s general field featured scores of expected names and titles like “drivers license,” Donda, and Arlo Parks. Nonetheless, there were a few headscratchers in the Big 4 categories (did anyone see Arroj Aftab coming?) and some even bigger shocks in the genre categories. Here are ten of the biggest snubs and surprises of the day:

SURPRISE: Lady Gaga & Tony Bennett Overperform

When Love for Sale, Tony’s farewell album and his second collaborative album with Gaga, dropped on the last day of the eligibility period, the writing seemed to be on the wall. Most predictors assumed that Love for Sale would ride a few career/sympathy votes to a slight overperformance. In this case, most people thought Love for Sale would show up in Album of the Year in addition to all but guaranteed nods in Best Pop Duo/Group Performance (“I Get A Kick Out Of You”) and Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album. What actually happened was something much more impressive. Gaga and Tony bagged nominations in the three aforementioned categories as well as recognition in Record of the Year and Best Music Video for “I Get A Kick Out Of You.” This is Tony’s first ROTY nomination since 1966 and his first-ever nomination for Best Music Video.

SNUB: Miley Cyrus and WILLOW Ignored in Rock

Despite successful branding shifts and well-received projects, both Miley Cyrus and WILLOW were rejected from the final lineups in the rock categories. Many fans and pundits were hoping for Miley to pull off a Best Rock Album nomination for Plastic Hearts and a Best Rock Performance nomination for “Nothing Else Matters.” As for WILLOW, it would have been so great to see her in Best Rock Song and Best Rock Performance for the Travis Barker-assisted “t r a n s p a r en t s o u l.”

SURPRISE: Jon Batiste Also Overperforms

In my Album of the Year breakdown, I alluded to this possibly being a big year for Jon Batiste. What I was not expecting, however, was a jaw-dropping 12 nominations. After picking up a Best Original Score Oscar at the top of the year, Batiste was lauded with nods across the American Roots, Jazz, R&B, and Visual Media fields including Album of the Year (WE ARE) and Record of the Year (“Freedom”). An immense talent, this was one of the better surprises of the day.

SNUB: Moneybagg Yo Comes Up Short

While the Rap categories were passable this year, the Academy definitely relied on name recognition to fill up some of those slots. The hyperfocus on familiar rap icons like Kanye West, Drake, Jay-Z, DMX, etc., prevented them from making space to honor the younger rap stars that owned the year. One of 2021’s better rap releases, Moneybagg Yo’s A Gangsta’s Pain deserved a spot in Best Rap Album while “Wockesha” should have shown up in Best Rap Performance and even Record of the Year. While we’re at it, Isaiah Rashad’s The House Is Burning was also unfairly snubbed in the Rap Field. As was Polo G with “RAPSTAR” and Hall of Fame.

SURPRISE: ABBA Makes Grammy Debut

Despite several decades at the zenith of global popular music culture, ABBA has never been nominated for a Grammy — until today. The iconic group earned a Record of the Year nomination for “I Still Have Faith In You.” What’s interesting is that the song failed to score a nomination in Best Pop Duo/Group Performance like fellow ROTY nominees “Kiss Me More” and “I Get A Kick Out Of You.” Virtually no one was expecting to hear ABBA’s name this morning, but it’s definitely one of the more welcome surprises of the day.

SNUB: Normani’s “Wild Side” Goes Missing

The stars seemed like they were aligning. Normani and Cardi B’s “Wild Side” was holding steady on the charts, peaking at radio during the voting period, and experiencing its third or fourth wind on TikTok. As one of the biggest R&B songs and music moments of the year, it seemed like “Wild Side” was becoming an increasingly safe bet for Best R&B Song and Best Music Video nominations. If you wanted to be extra bold, maybe even Record of the Year. Alas, none of that happened. “Wild Side” was unfortunately left out of contention in all of its eligibility categories. #NotMyBestMusicVideoNominees!

SURPRISE: Selena Gomez Lands First Grammy Nomination

After six studio albums in English, Selena surprised some viewers today by earning her very first Grammy nomination for a Spanish-language EP. Revelación earned a nod in Best Latin Pop album helping Selena join fellow Disney/Nick peers Miley Cyrus, Ariana Grande, and Demi Lovato as Grammy nominees. Go, Selena!

SNUBS: All-Male Progressive R&B Album Field

The closest thing we got to a woman nominee in this category is Nai Palm of Hiatus Kaiyote. To leave the category so devoid of women in a year that gave us Tinashe’s 333, Little Simz’s Sometimes I Might Be An Introvert, and Tkay Maidza’s Last Year Was Weird, Vol. 3 is absolutely ridiculous. Just last year the academy did not nominate any women in Best R&B Album, and while they’ve fixed that problem this year, they’ve let the ball drop in Progressive R&B Album.

SURPRISE: The Academy Doesn’t Go Crazy for The Kid LAROI

The Kid LAROI has had a true breakout year. Many expected to see him in Record and Song of the Year for his Justin Bieber-assisted “STAY,” and even in Best Pop Duo/Group Performance with his Miley Cyrus duet “Without You.” In actuality, LAROI received just one nomination (Best New Artist). Thanks to a rule change, The Kid LAROI was also recognized in Album of the Year for his contributions to Justin Bieber’s Justice (Triple Chucks Deluxe).

SNUB: Wizkid Ignored In The General Field

Wizkid picked up expected nominations in Best Global Music Album and Best Global Music Performance, but “Essence (feat. Tems)” and Made In Lagos (Deluxe) deserved to be in the final lineups for Record and Album of the Year, respectively. “Essence,” arguably the most singular record of the eligibility period, dominated the globe and absolutely deserved recognition in the main categories… especially over some of the songs that made the final cut.

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