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The Weeknd slams Grammys as 'corrupt'

Philipp Jedicke
November 25, 2020

Beyonce leads Grammy nominations field, while Canadian artist The Weeknd accuses the Grammys of corruption and Justin Bieber is disappointed.

The Weeknd
The Weeknd had a record-breaking year but didn't get a single Grammy nominationImage: Jens Kalaene/dpa/picture alliance

Comedian Trevor Noah has been confirmed as the host for the Grammy Awards music and media extravaganza. The awards night is to be broadcast live on the American CBS network on January 31, 2021.

US superstar Beyonce is way out in front of the field with a swag of nine nominations in this year's coveted music awards.

Riding on the huge success of her album Black Parade, dedicated to the Black Lives Matter movement, Beyonce is set to be the big winner with her nine nominations in eight categories.

U.S. singer Beyonce Knowles performs onstage during 2018 Coachella Valley Music And Arts Festival Weekend on April 14, 2018 in Indio, California. Wind is blowing her frizzed hair and artificial smoke refracts the lights behind her.
Singer Beyonce Knowles performing at the Coachella Valley festival in 2018Image: Getty Images for Coachella/K. Winter

Other multiple nominees are Taylor Swift, Dua Lipa, Roddy Ricch, Billie Eilish, Megan Thee Stallion and DaBaby. Along with the winners, there have to be some losers, and that always creates disappointment and frustration among those who miss out. This year some musicians are sharing their displeasure vocally on social media — including two Canadian stars: Justin Bieber and The Weeknd.

Disappointment and anger for Justin Bieber and The Weeknd

Bieber doesn't agree with the stylistic classification of his album Changes under Pop and wrote on Instagram: "Changes was and is an R&B album. It is not being recognized as an R&B album, which is very strange to me."

He added that he wouldn't like his remarks to be interpreted as ingratitude, and that he was still honored by his nominations in four categories.

His countryman, R&B star The Weeknd, was not so diplomatic. He vented his anger on Twitter, saying "The Grammys remain corrupt. You owe me, my fans and the industry transparency."

The Weeknd's latest album, After Hours, shot to the top of the hit parade and spent four weeks in the number one slot on the Billboard Album Charts. The single "Blinding Lights" was the USA's longest-running top 10 hit ever.

Word on the street in the US entertainment media is that the Recording Academy wanted to punish The Weeknd for deciding to appear in the coveted halftime show of the Super Bowl and not at the Grammy gala. Recording Academy chief, Harvey Mason Jr., denied the rumor.

Bob Dylan remains silent

The level of anger and disappointment surrounding this year's nominations seems to be higher and the willingness to indulge in public rants greater. Whether this is due to the highly tense situation in the music industry during the coronavirus pandemic or the ever lower emotional inhibition threshold in social media is an open question.

Bob Dylan, who received critical acclaim with the album Rough And Rowdy Ways and had a number 1 on the Billboard charts with the single "Murder Most Foul," was not nominated this year either.

Singer Bob Dylan performing, wearing a white hat
Several end-of-year lists see Bob Dylan's album among the best of 2020Image: picture-alliance/dpa/D. Castello

He has already won 10 Grammys in the course of his career and was nominated 38 times. But Dylan did what he always does when the drama mounts: He remained silent. It's possible he didn't even submit his album.