Were the Grammys Rigged for 2021 Nominations?


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As 2020 proved itself to be a turbulent year with the pandemic, many found themselves immersed in the music industry more than ever, streaming and exploring various media platforms. Despite uneventful quarantine-filled days, top hits such as Roddy Ricch’s “The Box” and The Weeknd’s “Blinding Lights” entertained millions of people holed-up in their homes. With the upcoming announcement of the Recording Academy’s 2021 Grammy nominations, many were predicting favorite artists and songs to be chosen, given the evident and consistent hype on prominent social media apps. However, after the long-anticipated release of the list, countless users on social media platforms reacted in repudiation of the Recording Academy for a supposed “rigged” nomination process, where many artists were “cheated” out of their well-deserving records. 

The Grammys, a distinguished award ceremony for musical artists, has faced criticism in the past for their allegedly biased results. Fan-favorites such as Bob Marley, Nicki Minaj, and Queen, although having been nominated, have never taken a Grammy home despite the undeniable performances of their albums and singles in their respective years. There was an uproar in 2014 when the Grammy for Rap Album of the Year was awarded to rapper Macklemore instead of rap-veteran Kendrick Lamar, even leading Macklemore to apologize for the win after the awards ceremony. So when highly acclaimed albums such as The Weeknd’s “After Hours” and former One-Direction member Harry Styles’ “Fine Line” failed to even be nominated for the Grammys’ four major categories, many people took to social media to call out the Recording Academy for their unreasonable nominations. 

When Deborah Dugan, the former chief executive of the Recording Academy, was placed on administrative leave for misconduct in January 2020, she stepped forward claiming she had “evidence of serious irregularities in the voting [process].” In an interview with ABC, Dugan mentioned that “the prestigious US music awards were “tainted” by conflicts of interest,” as well as likening the Grammys to a ‘“boy’s club” where votes were manipulated by “secret committees.”’ After the controversial 2019 Grammys, where top-performing artists such as Ed Sheeran and Ariana Grande were robbed of nominations in certain major categories, Dugan revealed that “an unnamed artist and their representative sat on the nominating committee for the song of the year category in 2019… [thus] ending up on the shortlist ahead of [deserving] acts.” 

When it comes down to who we want to win, the struggle just seems like a tug-of-war between respective fanbases of competing artists. However, corruption is rampant in the Grammys and the Recording Academy. 2020 is not the first year to encounter a severely misjudged list of nominated artists and records. Most notably, the Weeknd was robbed of his recognized album “After Hours” which, despite featuring two No.1 hits, “Blinding Lights” and “Heartless,” received zero nominations in total. Admittedly, such rigging and cheating would be expected out of an award ceremony as powerful as the Grammys; however, it’s unbecoming that even despite the blatant statistical evidence that absolutely proves an artist eligible for a nomination, “conflicts of interest” and immoral intentions must overpower the excruciating dedication of artists and their supporters.