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PRESS REACTION TO GRAMMY NOMS: WTF?

It’s all but unanimous: The biggest shocker of the 2021 Grammy nominations is the total absence of The Weeknd. The consensus and oddsmakers' favorite for Album, Record and Song failed to even be nominated in any of the major categories—or anywhere else, for that matter.

“Do you know who got more Grammy nods this year than The Weeknd?” Randall Roberts asked—rhetorically—in his L.A. Times reaction story. "Renee Zellweger, Maxi Priest, Rachel Maddow, Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga, the Okee Dokee Brothers and Mister Rogers, that’s who.”

In The New York Times, Ben Sisario also expressed his disbelief that Luke Combs had been shut out, that BTS and Pop Smoke had been exiled to the outer-fringe categories and that Black Pumas had received an AOTY nomination for the slightly expanded deluxe version of their excellent but low-profile debut album, which came out way back in June 2019.

Likewise, Lil Baby, whose QC/Motown/Capitol release My Turn is the biggest album of 2020, was relegated to a pair of nominations in the Rap field, eliciting the following verbal flip-off from QC co-head P.

In a section of the L.A. Times piece headed “Best rap album is filled with olds,” Roberts elaborated on P’s point: “This year, young rap stars like Lil Baby, DaBaby and Lil Uzi Vert, as well as the recently departed Pop Smoke and Juice WRLD, ran hip-hop, especially on Spotify’s crucial RapCaviar playlist. The Academy took a pass on the lot of them in the rap album category, instead celebrating classicists nearly twice their age. The nominees? Jay Electronica (44 years old), Freddie Gibbs (38) and Alchemist (43), Nas (47), Royce da 5’9” (43) and, the youngest of them at 35, D Smoke.”

Other notable shut-outs included Bob Dylan, Summer Walker, Alicia Keys, Gabby Barnett, The Chicks, Blake Shelton, Selena Gomez and Jason Isbell, while you’ll have to do some scrolling to find Harry Styles, Maren Morris, H.E.R. or Fiona Apple.

In addition to Sisario, New York Times critics Jon Caramanica, Joe Coscarelli and Jon Pareles weighed in, using language like “baffling,” “eye rolls,” “head-scratch” and “bizarre hodge-podge” as they bounced off each other in their comments.

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