Last night, in between LL Cool J and Taylor Swift beatboxing “Mean” and Maroon 5 performing that 311 song that was somehow number one for nine weeks, the nominees for the Grammy Awards (or at least, selected categories of them) were delivered live.
And like always, they they didn’t disappoint the armchair critics with their surprises and, in some eyes, oversights.
Unlike last year – a.k.a. Adele-apalooza: Beyond Thunderdome – no one artist was dominant; the most nominations scored by any one artist was six, and six separate artists hit that number: Mumford & Sons, Fun., Kanye West, Frank Ocean, Jay-Z, and Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach.
That’s a pretty eclectic list, but there’s more to dig into from the big list.
The critically lauded (and EW-beloved) R&B singer’s Prince-style opus Kaleidoscope Dream hasn’t made a huge impact yet commercially, but it still nailed down five well-deserved nominations, including a major nod for Song of the Year for the ultra-sexy “Adorn.”
Snub: Carly Rae Jepsen
Sure, “Call Me Maybe” was nominated for some big prizes, including Song of the Year and Best Pop Solo Performance, but why was it left off the list for Record of the Year? And why didn’t Jepsen get a nod for Best New Artist? Grammy voters seemed to be implying that while they would honor her huge sales year, they may not be expecting her to stick around.
Surprise: Frank Ocean
Everybody knew he’d grab one or two (most likely in the Best New Artist category), but tying for most nominated? True, his Channel ORANGE has already topped dozens of year-end critics’ lists; still, it was a pretty fantastic surprise to see the Grammys actually recognize a truly iconoclast record to the extent that they did.
Snub: Boy Bands
Don’t pity One Direction too much—they can go wipe their tears with the receipts of their ginormous record sales. Still, considering their year-long ubiquity, it’s a little surprising that Grammy voters didn’t throw them a bone or two. And though Justin Bieber’s Believe didn’t do the gargantuan sales numbers it was supposed to, there are still some excellent tracks on there that almost certainly deserved a smaller nod or two.
Yeah, she got that nomination for Best Pop Vocal Album, but why doesn’t everybody adore The Truth About Love? It’s one of the best pop albums of the year. Seriously, if Katy Perry’s Teenage Dream could get the nod last year… Come on, voters.
Surprise: Jeff Bhasker
It’s super cool to see Bhasker, who split his time behind the boards for both Kanye West and Fun., getting recognition as a nominee for Producer of the Year (though he was only nominated for his work on Some Nights). That’s a killer category too; he’ll go head-to-head with Auerbach, Diplo, Markus Dravs, and Salaam Remi.
The rap categories are all pretty impressive this year, recognizing definitive zeitgeist artists like Kanye, Jay-Z, Rick Ross, Drake, 2 Chainz, and Wiz Khalifa. But why can’t any of those songs or albums make the crossover into the major categories? Save Frank Ocean (who really exists on a different plane), there’s no hip-hop in the Album of the Year, Record of the Year, or Song of the Year categories. Meanwhile, Ed Sheeran grabbed a Song of the Year nod for “The A Team.” The Grammy voters couldn’t leave that behind in favor of something like “New God Flow”?
Surprise: Tom Waits
There’s no logic to what makes Waits’ excellent album Bad As Me an “alternative” entry, but it’s always cool to see America’s most beloved folk-blues outsider pick up a nod.
What stand out as the biggest snubs and surprises this year? Let us know your picks in the comments below.
Read More on EW.com:
Grammy nominations announced: Frank Ocean, fun., and the Black Keys dominate
What songs did you listen to the most this year? EW’s music staff weighs in
Frank Ocean’s ‘Channel Orange’ — the EW review