Grammy nominations: Five things the Recording Academy got right...and wrong

grammys-gaga-arcade-fireImage Credit: Erik Kabik/Retna Ltd; David Atlas/Retna/Retna LtdThe list of Grammy Award nominees announced last night included more than a few surprises, of both the pleasant and head-scratching varieties. Here are the Recording Academy’s five best and worst calls this year. We’ll be thinking about them as we look forward to the Feb. 13, 2011 live awards show on CBS. In the meantime, let us know what you think.

RIGHT: Arcade Fire‘s Album of the Year nod for The Suburbs was a major coup for indie rock…

WRONG: …but what were Academy voters thinking when they included quintessential singles artist Katy Perry‘s uneven Teenage Dream in the same category?

RIGHT: Bruno Mars‘ fingerprints were all over the pop charts this year, so it’s fitting that he received seven nominations…

WRONG: …but with a résumé that impressive, he should have been a lock for a Best New Artist nomination. His absence there is a strange snub.

RIGHT: The Fame Monster put pop royal Lady Gaga in contention for Album of the Year for the second year in a row…

WRONG: …but “Bad Romance,” the best song from that disc, was relegated to female pop vocal and music video categories. No Song of the Year or Record of the Year nods? Rah-rah-ridiculous!

RIGHT: The Academy recognized worthy lesser-known acts like the Black Keys and Mumford & Sons with multiple nominations…

WRONG: …but filled out the list with too many predictable choices like John Mayer, whose most recent album underwhelmed even some fans.

RIGHT: Gorillaz“Stylo” got a much-deserved spot in the music video category….

WRONG: …but the cartoon band’s only other appearance was in Best Pop Instrumental Performance, for a minute-long album intro. That’s just weird.

(Follow the Music Mix on Twitter: @EWMusicMix.)

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Comments (166 total) Add your comment
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  • Melly

    “but with a résumé that impressive, he should have been a lock for a Best New Artist nomination. His absence there is a strange snub”

    #ResearchFail Grammy rules make Bruno Mars ineligible for Best New Artist.

    • Simon Vozick-Levinson

      How so? The rules state that this award is “For a new artist who releases, during the Eligibility Year, the first recording which establishes the public identity of that artist.” Bruno Mars released his first solo hit single in July 2010, and an EP in May.

      • Julia

        “First recording” is in reference to a debut album, not a single or other tracks. His album was released after the deadline.

      • Julia

        So, if you want to blame someone, blame his label for not having the foresight to release his album two weeks earlier.

      • Phil

        And Simon I thought for sure that Bruno woulda been a definite EW Entertainer of the Year, but seriously, y’all snubbed him too?? That to me is the bigger offense than the Grammy snub, which he’ll prolly get NEXT year. Seriously The Men of The Good Wife ranked higher than Bruno’s year in your offices?! THATS RIDICULOUSLY INSANE, I’ve been hard on you alot this year, but that to me is almost inexcusable!

      • Lady Gaga

        How about Charice for Best New Artist?

      • sally

        They changed the eligibility rules for best new artist after Lady GaGa got snubbed. Now if you have a previous nomination one year you can still be nominated the following year. So Bruno will probably get a nod in that category next year.

      • Who?

        Because he is neither Best nor an Artist.

      • Mike

        So, “Who?”…if a person with an amazing voice plays his own instruments and writes his own lyrics, what does that make him?

      • Person Who Talks

        @Simon Vozick-Levinson: While we have you commenting, can you please explain A.) Your absolute obsession with Kanye West, and B.) Your refusal to accept the fact that there is music out there other than rap and mainstream pop. You seem to have an utter disdain for any rock or indie music (with the exception of the Cloud Cult rip-off Arcade Fire), what gives? As an aspiring music journalist I am slightly insulted by how you, as EW’s head music writer, completely ignore most rock music…thats just not right!

      • wagonmaker

        @person who talks – I think you’ve read selectively. This reviewer is also “obsessed” with Radiohead an McCartney too – is that rock enough for you? Really, dude -

      • Kim

        Finally some love for Black Keys and Arcade Fire!

    • Rock Golf

      Yet Esperanza Spalding, whose debut came out in 2006 and is nominated for a 2008 album is nominated for Best New Artist. In fact, Spalding’s album came out on May 20, 2008, before Lady Gaga’s debut! The Fame was released in the States on Oct 28, 2008.

      • Musicfan5

        I completely agree about Esperanza Spalding. You shouldn’t be able to release THREE albums (2006, 2008, 2010) and be up for Best New Artist. Maybe if the award were Breakthrough Artist…but putting her in the new artist category is just wrong.

      • neetsie

        Who is Esperanza Spalding?

    • Dee Jones

      I agree. He should have gotten Bieber`s spot. really!

    • dipshat

      NEED YOU NOW peaked at two on billboard hot 100 as did Gnarl’s Barkley’s Crazy in 2006 (it was also nominated for record of the year at 2007 grammys but that’s a totallydifferentstory)Gnarls Barkley crooner Cee-Lo was nominated for FUDGE YOU! It was produced by Bruno Mars who is in turn featured on B.o.B’s NOTHIN’ ON YOU. B.o.B has another song called Airplanes Part II which features Haley Williams and Eminem. Eminem in turn has a nod for LOVE THE WAY YOU LIE which features Rhianna. Rhianna has been unfairly pitted against Beyonce, who in turn has been unfairly pitted against Alicia Keys. Keys is featured on Jay-Z’s EMPIRE STATE OF MIND. Good night everybody!

      • @dipshat

        Great connections!

    • Person Who Talks

      And the absolute worst snub: Julian Casablancas!!!! Phrazes for the Young was an incredible album!

  • Woot

    You still forgot to mention so many other WRONGS on here. Just goes to show how bad the Grammy’s are now.

    • Kalie

      I agree. For instance, I think it’s weird that the cast of “Glee” was nominated.

      • sam

        they were nominated for soundtrack for a tv show or movie etc etc…that’s not really weird.

      • Rock Golf

        They were also nominated for Best Pop Vocal – Duo or Group for “Don’t Stop Believin’ (Regionals version)”

    • Lee

      Oh–give me a break. The Grammys are doing a much better job than they did 20-30 or even 40 years ago! (You must be very young if you don’t realize that.) At one time, there’s no way the Grammys would’ve nominated such artists like Arcade Fire, Lady Gaga or even Eminem for the major categories. Now they are. I remember it took them years to finally nominated Madonna. And they basically snubbed the Beatles, Bob Dylan, Rolling Stone and the Who during the 60s. Let’s be grateful that the Grammys are finally catching up with the times even though I still have no idea why they nominated Katy Perry. I guess it’s a Sheryl Crow throwback.

  • LOL

    The Rock categories are strong. Happy to see Neil Young’s “Le Noise” recognized.

    • Rock Golf

      Four of the five Best Rock Solo nominees are over 60: Clapton, McCartney, Plant & Neil Young.

      I’ve seen actual rocks that were younger than these fossils. I’m over 50 myself, but isn’t it time for a new generation of rockers?

      • Leslie

        I have see “rocks” less then a second old and over a billion years old. So, I don’t really get your point.

      • Darrin

        His point, which I agree with, was that the nominees in this category were phenomenal…. in 1974. Did anyone actually know that these geezers even released new music in the past year? There’s gotta be a few someones under 60 who rocked in the past year.

      • Keith

        So are you saying that just because they are older that they can’t release good material? How wrong you are.

      • Rock Golf

        @Keith: I’m saying the nominations were flat-out lazy. I do not for a second believe there was only one solo rock artist under 60 who released a great album last year. How about Alison Iraheta? Brandon Flowers? Ed Kowalcyzk?

    • mark

      the rock are probably the strongest categories this year; that and alternative album.

  • Rod

    So right about Bad Romance. That was the Song and Record of the Year. It was everywhere and everyone knew that opening hook! Ridiculous snub!

    • Musicfan5

      Agree. Nine years from now Bad Romance will probably top many critics list as best song of the decade. I can’t believe it wasn’t nominated.

      • Kathy

        So true…best new song in the last five years, for sure!

      • jay thompson

        @Musicfan5: “Nine years from now Bad Romance will probably top many critics list as best song of the decade.”

        LOL maybe critics with incredibly low standards.

      • Jalal

        That’s what I have been saying forever! This is such a mistake!!

  • beachmom

    That only gets us started though. How about the snub of Flying Lotus in the Electronic category? Where was Laura Veirs for the folk category or Beach House for the Alternative Rock category?

    On the other hand, I was heartened to see Janelle Monae and Robyn get mentions.

    • Toastface Killa

      Flying Lotus was pretty upset about that last night on twitter! Its crazy, he has the pedigree and support I thought he would have been a shoe in!

    • Rich

      Beach House, along with LCD Soundsystem & The National, are too “under the radar” to appeal to the mainstream Grammy voters. Those albums will all figure high in critics’ “Best Of 2010″ lists I’m sure.

      Grammy tends to like names it already knows. That’s why Gorillaz seemed a bigger snub in this category.

  • Torrence5

    Bad Romance was my pick for Record of the Year – guess I missed that. But the F*ck You/Forget You tune should not be include. The rest I can live with; except Albumn of the Year – bad choice with the exception of Recovery (which I don’t liek but admit was a dam fine rap albumn)

    • Kevin

      Why should F*ck You not be included? It’s easily one of the best songs of the year, so what’s the problem?

  • JT

    I agree about Bad Romance. That was a MAJOR snub. I’m also hugely bummed about Florence & the Machine’s snubs for Record and Album of the Year. (also, is everyone else as tired of all these pop up ads on this site as I am??!!!)

    • AcaseofGeo

      Hate the PoP uP adds. Bad Romance and Empire State should have both been in RECORD of year. Bad Romance shoulda been the eventual winner. IT “WAS” this year.

      • simps

        if you have firefox you can download the adblocker addon, which blocks the popups.

  • elchango

    The Grammys have become like your parents trying to be hip with what’s cool with the kids now.

    • tim

      The Grammys have always been that.

      • TONY

        Agree and disagree. The Grammys have always struggled to be hip and cool like a 40 year old parent of teenagers; but also appreciative of commercially successful music too.

        It is a tough balancing act. The “best” of the year hardly ever sells the most records.

  • nbflowers

    Was very happy to see the Arcade Fire Nod for Album of the year. And agree, Gorillaz should have gotten more nods that they got. And how did Bad Romance not get nominated in record/song of the year categories? That having bene said, it is probably Eminen’s year.

  • Jade

    Where is Muse in all of this? That’s something the academy finally got right.

    • Melissa

      Heck yes! I am so happy for Matt Bellamy and the boys in all the categories they’re nominated in. :)

  • Maggie

    pleasantly surprised to see so many nominations for Lady Antebellum. I knew they’d get a bunch in the country categories but was shocked to see song, record, and album of the year. shocked in a good way, they’re one of my favorite groups, and their album is #2 is sales this year (behind Eminem). I’d listen to them over Taylor Swift anyday, they can actually sing!

  • Mike

    Katy Perry for album of the year???!!! Janelle Monae should have had that spot instead.

    • Preston

      Janelle is very good, but maybe she’s a little too good to the Grammy committee with her style and music.

    • Asher

      Absolutely correct!

    • Colleen

      I seriously don’t get the whole Katy Perry thing. Her voice is not good and her songs are fluff. And they only sound good when someone else sings them. I’m glad my radio station if doing Christmas music now so that I don’t have to hear California Gurls anymore.

    • Delon

      The biggest snubs for me were Janelle Monae and Bilal. They both released amazing albums. Bilal should’ve been up for R&B album and Janelle deserved an album of the year nod much more than Katy Perry. I’m very happy about Fantasia’s 3 nominations in major R&B categories; best R&B song, album and female.

  • chad

    I heard OZZY got a nod which was nice. I am personally sick of the teenie bopper crap. Real music needs to come out again and you guys keep snubing rock and metal bands. Glad to see EM getting the love with all of his nomanations. I just hope the grammys wont be as bad as the AMAs where.

  • Stephen

    I thought that the grammy voting rules were if the ALBUM from said artist wasn’t released within the time, and if they do not win this year, then next year they can be eligible for next year….. Some poo like that, which is why lady gaga couldn’t get a nomination 2 years ago, Drake last year, so on and so forth, soo confusing =/

  • Stephen

    But only if they don’t win any grammy’s this year… but i hope Bruno Mars takes home some hardware grammy night!

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