Taylor Swift only got her ROTY Grammy nom because of shenanigans

63rd Annual GRAMMY Awards – Arrivals

This week, the Grammy nominations came out. I remarked that the categories seemed expanded, because (going by my own memory) I didn’t remember a time when there were eight or nine artists or albums in the big categories. I assumed that I just missed the announcement that categories were being expanded and shrugged. As it turns out, it was a bit more complicated than that. Twenty-four hours before the nominations came out, the Recording Academy had a meeting in which they added a bunch of artists and albums into the categories. So half-assed. It’s also kind of funny because that meeting was the reason why Taylor Swift’s Evermore and Kanye West’s Donda were added to Album of the Year. Those albums would not have gotten in without that Recording Academy meeting on Monday:

The organization behind the Grammy Awards decided at a meeting on Monday — just 24 hours before this year’s nominees were announced — that the top categories should expand to 10 nominees from eight, a last-minute move that added stars like Kanye West, Taylor Swift, Abba and Lil Nas X to the existing slate of potential winners. When the nominations were revealed on a live webcast the next morning, Harvey Mason Jr., the chief executive of Recording Academy, hailed the surprise shift as a way “to make room for more music, more artists and more genres, and to embrace the spirit of inclusion.”

But among the added names were some of pop’s biggest stars and people who were already on the ballot elsewhere. For album of the year, the two contenders added to the ballot were Swift’s “Evermore” and West’s “Donda,” joining titles by Justin Bieber, Olivia Rodrigo, Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga, Doja Cat, H.E.R., Billie Eilish, Lil Nas X and Jon Batiste.

The nod for “Evermore” was Swift’s sole nomination for her own music on Tuesday. (She is also nominated as a songwriter on Rodrigo’s “Sour.”) West’s nomination for “Donda” brought his career total to 75.

It was possible to discover which artists benefited from the expansion because their names were absent from an early version of the “final nominations list” that had been created several days before the announcement and included only eight names in those categories. That version had begun circulating outside the Recording Academy before the nominations were announced on Tuesday, and a copy of it was obtained by The New York Times.

The expansion in the top categories comes after the academy has trumpeted a new era of openness and transparency in its awards process. The 64th annual Grammys will be the first in more than 30 years without the use of anonymous nomination review committees, which were charged with whittling down voters’ choices to create the final ballot — a step that was intended to safeguard the awards’ integrity but was accused of allowing manipulation behind the scenes.

Mason defended the move to add more nominees as a sign of a newly nimble, responsive Recording Academy, and said that the added names brought new sounds, styles and faces to the top categories. “For us this is all positive movement,” he said. “This is us honoring more great artists, more great music, giving artists an opportunity to shine and showcase.”

Mason said that the artists added to the list were simply the ninth and tenth most voted by the academy’s members, and were determined by Deloitte, the academy’s longtime partner in collecting and tabulating votes.

[From The NY Times]

The ninth and tenth most voted? That’s a huge slam for artists like Swift and West. Their peers didn’t think their albums were “the top eight” albums and Swift and West would not have gotten those nominations without a behind-the-scenes intervention. The Times also points out that in the Record of the Year category, Lil Nas X’s “Montero” and Abba’s “I Still Have Faith in You” were the last-minute additions. For Song of the Year, the last-minute editions were: Doja Cat’s “Kiss Me More” and “Right on Time” by Brandi Carlile. In an effort to be more inclusive and expansive, the Recording Academy is out here, handing out (insulting) participation trophies to some of the biggest stars in music. Which just begs the question, again, what is wrong with Recording Academy voters that they couldn’t get it “right” the first time?

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Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Swift’s IG.

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32 Responses to “Taylor Swift only got her ROTY Grammy nom because of shenanigans”

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  1. Angel says:

    People have different taste I guess. I didn’t like evermore at all, but I did enjoy Justice and Donda.

  2. Royalle says:

    It’s tragic that when artists start writing actually good songs , quality, thoughtful deep material, that they’re bumped out of the running. That pretty much tells you where the industry is at. Trash gets nominated more than talent and substance.

  3. Anony83 says:

    This is weird but I understand why they did it. I will say though, Evermore was my favorite Taylor Swift album in years. Maybe it dropped too early in the year? My memory of it was that it was very much a pandemic album.

    But, if the Grammys actually want to take inclusion and diversity seriously, they need to change how their categories are designed. It’s a mess every year, particularly how it treats BIPOC performers.

    • Millenial says:

      I think Evermore was just too similar to Folklore, so I could see why they didn’t want to nominate it to begin with. Same vibe.

      • Anony83 says:

        Okay. There’s definitely a chance I was confusing Folklore with Evermore.

        I liked both but I actually think Folklore was the one I was thinking of.

    • Anastasia says:

      I didn’t even realize they came out this year, I definitely thought they were last year.

      • Arpeggi says:

        Honestly, 2020 is a 600+ days year in my mind, I still have a hard time remembering which year it is and I write dates every freacking day

    • Simmons says:

      Swifties do be greedy, don’t they?
      Evermore is very clearly a companion effort for Swift to bid her third AOTY for Folklore last year. But I guess she’s not satisfactory and as this article speculated, big names held a last minute intervention at the Recording Accademy and managed to insert themselves in at the 11th hour. Though, I don’t think the academy was appreciated about these people’s heavy-handness, else there wouldn’t have been an NYT report in the first place with recorded words like: “… the list were simply the ninth and tenth most voted by the academy’s members …”
      Ouch indeed.

  4. Ainsley7 says:

    It’s not about the music. It’s just a popularity contest. Both Kanye and Swift have pissed off people in the industry for different reasons. It is what it is.

    • Jan90067 says:

      Thank you, Ainsley! I was going to write the exact same thing before I scrolled and found your comment.

    • Jules says:

      For sure. There is such a disconnect here, we know the Grammys are fixed and corrupt, so why are they still being discussed like it’s important? Doja Cat is talking about being pressured to do shit by the music industry. As soon as musicians stop playing the game, they will lose popularity. I’m sure Lil Nas will sweep the Grammys, but all it means is that he is compliant to being used.

  5. MissMarirose says:

    I’m just here to say that that suit looks pretty fabulous on Lil Nas X.

    • Jillian says:

      Lil Nas X looks fantastic in everything, he never lets the clothes wear him. Grammys better give him all the awards, he’s amazing

  6. canichangemyname says:

    I’m just amazed anyone takes the Grammys seriously anymore. I don’t see this as any specific insult to Swift – she made a good album, and she consistently does good work. I haven’t listened to Donda yet, but I do think Kanye West is supremely talented in spite of my feelings about him as a person (conflicted). Honestly, I’m not really mad at any of the nominations (LOVE Lil Nas X – he’s easily my favorite this year), but the Grammys are always a mess, and I don’t think being ‘snubbed’ should even be considered an insult.

    • Commonwealthy seemed witty at first says:

      100%. Jay Z has never won best rap album, Beyonce has never won album of the year. The Grammys do not reflect the mainstream music market, and harms the credibility of everyone who actually wins. Oscars so white is a top to bottom structural problem, but America’s music industry is structured to recognize Black talent (even where monetary rewards don’t always get attributed fairly, the talent is obvious and the charts reflect it). The Grammys willfully ignore reality, and jokes on them, cos it just makes me think less of the Grammys, not of the snubbed artists. I’m only paying attention now cos I hope they do better by the new crop of artists, led by Lil Nas X. Love that kid.

    • Simmons says:

      Tell that to Swift. She seems very thirsty for Grammys.

  7. els says:

    Grammys always did dirty even to the greatest artists so I don’t really take it seriously anymore. Like Beyoncé’s Lemonade or The Weeknd’s After Hours. And how can Justin Bieber be nominated like every time? I swear this guy is nominate every year.

    I loved Evermore but not as much as folklore.

    • Sof says:

      I know she is not liked on this site, but I’ll add to that list Lana del Rey’s Norman F-ing Rockwell.

  8. Guest says:

    Who cares about the Grammys? I can’t take those people serious honestly. I still remember how TayTay reacted when she did not get a nomination for Reputation. I have never seen such a sore loser. There are artists who deserve to be recognized but aren’t. I stopped taking those awards serious years ago. Thumbs up for people like TW and Ocean. People like Beyonce should follow. Lemonade was a masterpiece and I am not a Beyonce fan. Kendrick was better than Taylor in 2014/2015. How the fuck did TW not get a nomination last year? And I don’t care about ppl saying how great Taylor’s album was. Blinding lights is the biggest hit of all time according to Billboard. Geez I am white and I can smell the injustice from a mile away. Just because someone doesn’t fill stadiums doesn’t mean that the music is worse. It baffles me and makes me sad at the same time….hate these award shows with a passion because it is always about how much you hustle not how good you actually are.

    • Commonwealthy seemed witty at first says:

      Preach, sibling.

    • Hmm says:

      How was she a sore loser? Her reaction was literally to say “I guess I have to make a better album”

      • Guest says:

        Geez she almost cried. This is not about life and death. It’s a fucking Grammy. She already has God knows how many…. Grow the fuck up.

      • Betsy says:

        @Guest – so she was a sore loser by showing emotion? How is that a “sore loser”?

    • JJ says:

      Um, no. Taylor Swift expressed her disappointment, and said she needed to make a better record. Who cares if she “nearly cried”? She wasn’t ungracious, she didn’t lash out at the nominees, she didn’t trash talk anyone. She said she felt industry pressure and then was disappointed not to get a nom. Your comment feels very much like internalised misogyny, or just a dislike of “TayTay”.

      • ExpectationvsReality says:

        Can we not equate disliking/critiquing Taylor Swift with internalized misogyny? I’ve seen that term used a lot in reference to Taylor recently and it’s so annoying. Does Taylor face some sexist remarks? Of course. Society in general is pretty misogynistic. But that does not mean every issue someone has with her is because of that. Guest may hate/dislike Taylor, but they haven’t said anything misogynistic.

      • Simmons says:

        @ExpectationvsReality, that’s the Modus Operandi of Swifties and Swift. Victimize oneself.

  9. CE says:

    The grammys are so passé. I literally have not valued a Grammy win in like a decade

  10. Daisy says:

    This is embarrassing. If I was Taylor or Kanye I’d simply excuse myself; it’s not like they have any chance of winning anyway. And considering the massive overperformance of Tony and Gaga (who even expected a Record of the Year and Best Music Video nomination?), I think AOTY is theirs to lose. Also the thought of Tony winning the last AOTY before the committees were instate in 1995 and the first after they got removed is interesting to say the least.

  11. Emma says:

    The Grammys reward compliant and unchallenging musicians. They are massively over-hyped and yes they offer a spectacle, an overly long one, but it doesn’t necessarily indicate quality to be included or not included on one of their extremely arbitrary lists. It’s more of an insider popularity contest.

  12. DeluxeDuckling says:

    Lil Nas X’s MONTERO is definitely my favourite album of the year 🙂

    The Grammy’s are lame tho

  13. NCWoman says:

    I don’t think you have to like Swift or West to recognize that they are both leagues above Bieber. The question isn’t, Why were they added late? It’s, Why Bieber was there in the first place? His inclusion says the most about exactly how unhealthy the Grammy nomination process remains.

  14. Normades says:

    They knew how stupid they’d look if some of the biggest/most anticipated albums were not nominated. I think they were trying to avoid the fiasco that was last year’s Weeknd snub. Should have added Butter to record of the year. Still so shortsighted and they look even worse now.