Last Updated on November 25, 2020 by Scott Shetler
The 2021 Grammy Awards feature some of the biggest Grammy snubs we’ve ever seen. From the Weeknd’s shocking omission, to ignoring the Chicks and Run the Jewels, to overlooking Fiona Apple and Harry Styles in the Album of the Year category, the Grammys have a lot of explaining to do.
Let’s run down the biggest Grammy snubs of this year, starting with the artists who got no nominations at all, followed by those who get fewer than expected.
Grammy Snubs 2021: Artists Who Didn’t Get Nominated At All
The Weeknd. This is the one that nobody can stop talking about. One of the biggest artists of the year, with the biggest song (“Blinding Lights”) of the year, who’s eligible in numerous categories from Pop to R&B, somehow comes away with zero nods? Why did the Weeknd get zero nominations? Click to read our in-depth article examining the possible theories.
The Chicks. Natalie, Martie, and Emily returned this year with Gaslighter, their first album in 14 years. Their last effort won five Grammys, but this time they weren’t even recognized at all. Two things seem to work against the Chicks this year: Their album didn’t produce any major hits, and it felt more pop than country, so pigeonholing it into a particular Grammy category might have been difficult.
Luke Combs. Combs has taken that next step from country music star to a superstar who transcends the genre. He’s blown past Luke Bryan, Eric Church, and others as the male artist who most dominates country music. He even made some mainstream moves, like appearing on Saturday Night Live. Yet the reigning CMA Album of the Year winner (and former Grammy Best New Artist nominee) wasn’t nominated for anything from his What You See is What You Get album.
Run the Jewels. RTJ4 is the best rap album of the year, period. Coming out right at the height of the protests against police brutality, the album was raw and lyrically powerful as it addressed many of the problems facing society today. The Grammys have never embraced Killer Mike and El-P, however, giving them only one minor nod back in 2018.
Other noteworthy snubs: Bob Dylan’s acclaimed Rough and Rowdy Ways couldn’t even get an Americana or Folk nomination. The guy who usually wins all the Americana Grammys, Jason Isbell, was shut out this year. K-Pop group Blackpink didn’t get recognized for the stirring “How You Like That.” And plenty of potential Best New Artists were overlooked, including Rina Sawayama, Gabby Barrett, Conan Gray, Summer Walker, and Orville Peck.
Artists Who Didn’t Get As Many Nods As Expected
Fiona Apple. Fetch the Bolt Cutters was the universal choice for Album of the Year. Pitchfork even gave it a historic 10.0 rating, for crying out loud. Fiona did scoop up three noms, but her absence from Album of the Year is a head-scratcher. Especially when you look at who was nominated instead (Coldplay?!)
Harry Styles. A lot of observers thought this was Harry Styles’ year. He did score three nods, including Pop Vocal Album and Pop Solo Performance for “Watermelon Sugar,” but he was left out of Record and Album of the Year. That’s especially surprising because he would’ve been at least a co-favorite in either of those categories had he been nominated.
BTS. The K-Pop phenoms earned their first legit Grammy recognition this year as “Dynamite” nabbed as Best Pop Group Performance nom. It was a strong contender for Record of the Year, though, so the lone nod has to be considered a letdown.
Maren Morris. Like the Weeknd’s “Blinding Lights,” Morris’ “The Bones” was a cross-genre smash that was among the biggest hits of the year. Yet it only got a single nod for Best Country Song. Morris didn’t even earn any nods with her supergroup The Highwomen, which disappointingly picked up just one nod in a songwriting category.
Which artists do you think were the biggest snubs?