In a last-ditch effort to deprive their brand of any lingering meaning, the Grammy Awards aired the Grammy Awards nomination show last night on CBS, announcing nominations of the four largest awards in between medley performances by Lady Gaga and Sugarland, Usher, and Jason Aldean. The actual Grammys will air in February. (Spoiler: Adele will win everything.)
Kanye West led the nominations with 7 nods, although that’s only because he has two albums in the voting period. Don’t start applauding yet — My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy was not nominated for Album of the Year, and Bruno Mars’ Doo-Wops & Hooligans was. While you chew on that, here’s a quick rundown of the rest of the highlights.
Because of the nutty eligibility period, Kanye West has two albums in the Best Rap Album category and Mumford and Sons was shut out of Album of the Year. The Grammys work opposite to the Oscars in that instead of voting on films nobody has seen yet, they vote on albums everyone heard last year.
Bon Iver cleaned up Song of the Year and Record of the Year nominations with “Holocene.” (He was inexplicably snubbed for Album of the Year, which is weird considering how album-oriented he is compared to Bruno Mars). Other artists that will lose to Adele are Mumford and Sons (Song/Record, “The Cave”), Katy Perry (Record, “Firework”), Foo Fighters (Album, Wasting Light), the probably-pissed Lady Gaga (only Album, Born This Way) the definitely-pissed Kanye West (Song, “All of the Lights”) and Rihanna (Album, Loud). Meanwhile, Adele and Bruno Mars were both nominated for all three, and if 12+ million copies say anything, Miss A is gonna win it all.
Best New Artist was even-handed: one country, one electronic, one indie, one hip-hop, one pop. Skrillex, of all people, became the first electronic artist to be nominated for Best New Artist since C+C Music Factory(although Duffy may be included in that, as she is a robot). Also nominated were The Weak Sauce Country Band Perry, the otherwise-snubbed Nicki Minaj, J. Cole, and Bon Iver.
Putting on our music-snob headphones for a second—hang on, Bon Iver as Best New Artist? These are all of the places that put For Emma, Forever Ago in their best of 2008 list. These are 24 pages of shows Bon Iver has played. “Skinny Love” topped indie-girl mixtapes three years ago. But okay, we’ll roll with it, only because we love “Beth/Rest.”
Overall, this was a surprisingly open playing field. The Grammys went outside of their usual comfort zone a little bit and invited diverse artists like Skrillex, Bon Iver, Radiohead, Cut Copy, Tony Bennett, Memory Tapes, Mastodon, and Robyn to watch each other lose to an artist decidedly within their comfort zone.