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The Biggest Snubs from the 2021 Grammy Nominations

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Northwestern chapter.

As an avid award show viewer, I am always staying up to date with nominations and social media chatter prior to the actual ceremony. The Grammy’s has typically been my favorite award show, since I love watching the performances and supporting my favorite musicians. This year, I was eagerly awaiting nominations to see if my favorite artists would be recognized for their work this past year. 

The Grammy’s typically garner controversy for their choices and lack of diversity. This year’s nominations were no exception, with many popular artists being robbed and fans turning to social media to express their frustrations with the award show. Here is my list of the top 5 most surprising snubs in the 2021 Grammy nominations.

The Weeknd

The Weeknd’s latest album “After Hours” has been his most polished, cohesive project in his entire discography. Inspired by 80s synths, this refreshing album was a departure from his typical melancholy tunes and a jump to the pop genre. The album’s leading single, “Blinding Lights,” topped the Billboard charts and had its own Tik Tok dance trend. Given his previous 10 nominations and 3 Grammy wins, it seemed like he was a shoo-in for Record of the Year, Song of the Year and Album of the Year. Despite the commercial and critical acclaim for his album, The Weeknd came up short with zero nominations, leading to a large outcry on social media among his fans.

Mac Miller

Mac Miller’s posthumously released album “Circles” was his most honest, mature project to date. Miller has previously been shut out of Grammy nominations and wins, with only one nomination in 2018. Fans hoped he would finally receive recognition for his last project, yet he was not nominated in any categories. With intimate lyrics and down-to-earth production, “Circles” highlighted the evolution of Miller’s career, so it was disappointing to see the Grammy’s fail to nominate it.

Fiona Apple

While Fiona Apple earned three nominations for Rock Song, Rock Performance and Alternative Album, many were shocked that she wasn’t nominated in the main Album of the Year category. After eight years of not releasing music, Apple put out “Fetch the Bolt Cutters” earlier this year to widespread critical acclaim. Regarded as Apple’s best work to date, the experimental album included masterfully crafted, poetic lyrics. The highest reviewed album of 2020, it seemed like it would be a frontrunner to win the Album of the Year award, yet it wasn’t even nominated for the honor.

The Chicks

Like Apple, The Chicks released their comeback album this year with “Gaslighter,” their first album in 14 years. A scorching tell-all about band member Natalie Maines’s ex-husband, “Gaslighter” seemed poised to be nominated in country, folk and general categories. With bold, fiery lyrics and masterful production by Grammy-nominated producer Jack Antonoff, this passionate album was some of their most impressive work to date, yet it received no recognition by the Grammy academy.

Pop Smoke

Although he was nominated for Best Rap Performance for “Dior,” the late rapper, who passed away in February this year, was cut out of the Best New Artist category. Pop Smoke blew up this year with upbeat tracks like “Mood Swings” and “What You Know Bout Love,” which gained popularity on Tik Tok. He would have been the first posthumously nominated performer in the Best New Artist category had he received the nomination. Rap fans across social media were disappointed and blamed the Grammy’s for continuing to overlook artists of color.

It will be interesting to see how the results turn out when the Grammy’s air on Jan. 31. Despite these big snubs, I will still be tuning in to see what other surprises are in store!

Jessie Chaiet

Northwestern '23

Jessie Chaiet is a senior from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, studying Journalism and Economics at Northwestern University. In her free time, she loves to go to the gym, keep up with the latest pop culture news and curate Spotify playlists.