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The Weeknd and Justin Bieber speak out against the Grammys

By Camille Santiago Published Nov 25, 2020 2:45 am

The Grammy Awards announced the list of nominees for next year—some were ecstatic about the news (Billie Eilish's new song gets a nomination ahead of its release and BTS earned their first Grammy nomination for Dynamite), but others were disappointed, including The Weeknd and Justin Bieber.

Justin Bieber was nominated in three categories: Best Pop Vocal Album for Changes, Best Pop Duo/Group Performance for Intentions featuring Quavo, and Best Pop Solo Performance for Yummy. While he is "flattered" that the Recording Academy acknowledge and appreciate his music, he believes that his latest album was seen differently.

"It is not being acknolwedged as an R&B album," the musician said. He found this "strange" and "weird" that the Recording Academy identified it as pop music despite it having elements of R&B in terms of chords, melodies, vocal styles, and such. But despite this, Bieber says that he is still "honored either way"

Meanwhile, The Weeknd was snubbed and wasn't nominated in any category. This year The Weeknd, or Abel Tesfaye, released his fourth studio album named After Hours, and has been successful with hits like Heartless, In Your Eyes, and Blinding Lights, which has about 1.6 billion streams on Spotify to date. He wrote on social media, "The Grammys remain corrupt. You owe me, my fans and the industry transparency."

After the livestream announcement on November 24, Recording Academy interim president Harvey Mason Jr. spoke with Variety to address the issue as to why The Weeknd was shut out from the Grammys.

“Y’know, it really just comes down to the voting body that decides,” Mason Jr. said. “We have eight nomination slots to fill in [the ‘Big Four’ categories: Best Album, Song, Record and New Artist], five in others, and the voters vote for their favorites. It’s really interesting, though."

He also told Rolling Stone in an interview that he understands where the artist is coming from, and that he, too, was "surprised" and "can empathize." "His music this year was excellent, and his contributions to the music community and broader world are worthy of everyone’s admiration,” he wrote.

“We would have loved to have him also perform on the Grammy stage the weekend before [the Super Bowl]" He also explained, "Unfortunately, every year, there are fewer nominations than the number of deserving artists … To be clear, voting in all categories ended well before The Weeknd’s performance at the Super Bowl was announced, so in no way could it have affected the nomination process,” Mason Jr. says. “All Grammy nominees are recognized by the voting body for their excellence, and we congratulate them all.”

Photos from The Weeknd and Justin Bieber's Instagram (@theweeknd, @justinbieber)