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MOVING THE GOALPOSTS

Inside scoop from Grammyland is that, after a heated battle on the screening committee, Post Malone has been kicked out of the contenders for Best New Artist. Why rule out Malone, the biggest breakout act in recent memory and a streaming goldmine, not to mention an artist who appeals to a broad demographic?

Compare Post to the most recent BNA winner, Alessia Cara. He dropped his first hit, “White Iverson,” in 2015; Cara released hers, “Here,” the same year. She wasn’t previously nominated ahead of her BNA nod, which would be disqualifying; neither was he. Neither has released three albums, which would also rule them out. What was the justification presented by the committee for ruling against Post in this virtually identical case? The “coming to prominence” clause. The argument is that Post has become much more prominent than Cara did before her nomination—ostensibly too big for the newcomers category. Needless to say, that’s a totally arbitrary determination. Why can’t the year’s Best New Artist be one who’s achieved great fame?

BNA is the only topline category the screening committee gets its fingerprints on, and the criteria for qualification are ever-shifting and seemingly arbitrary. And it appears that just as they wanted Cara in, they just as strenuously wanted Malone out—once again hiding behind the ever-shifting rules to justify removing a major young artist from consideration. Is this indicative of a feeling about Post on the screening committee’s part, and does it signal the possible mistake of a full-on snub by the Secret Nominating Committee? Several insiders say to expect blowback. Despite the much-ballyhooed diversity initiative led by task force head Tina Tchen, this committee is off to a disappointing start.

This news comes alongside scuttlebutt that James Corden will not return as Grammys host. Who has the finesse to step in as ringmaster in this contentious and fragile moment?

Speaking of the Grammys, it’s hard not to view Taylor Swift’s slated opening perf at the American Music Awards tonight (10/9)—her first awards-show spotlight in three years—as throwing down the gauntlet to Music’s Biggest Night. Tay’s star power will likely supercharge the AMAs’ first-hour ratings, challenging Grammy to nominate her or risk further viewership erosion. Taylor never makes a big move that isn’t strategic. Look what you made her do.

 

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