Grammy snubs 2022: Miley Cyrus shutout; Drake, BTS miss out on major nominations
It wouldn’t be an awards show without an accompanying list of grievances.
But while the nominations for the 64th annual Grammy Awards certainly validated the Recording Academy’s revived commitment to diversity, some familiar names – and frequent visitors to the Grammy podium – were either shunned or relegated to smaller genre categories.
Billie Eilish, Doja Cat, H.E.R. and Olivia Rodrigo are among the top nominees this year, while jazz-R&B musician Jon Batiste scored a leading 11 nominations.
But popular chart-toppers including Drake, Miley Cyrus and BTS didn't get much love.
“The thing that keeps me up at night is that we don’t get a chance to honor all of the amazing projects produced every year,” Recording Academy CEO and President Harvey Mason Jr. tells USA TODAY. “I come from the music sphere and know the feeling of putting your heart and soul into a project, hoping to get recognized. But we only have 10 slots and one winner (for each category).”
Grammys 2022: Check out the nominees
More Grammys: What to know about Jon Batiste
Among the notable snubs and surprises:
Grammys 2022 snubs
Despite a guest list featuring Stevie Nicks, Joan Jett, Dua Lipa and Billy Idol, Cyrus’ seventh studio album, “Plastic Hearts” was blanked. Maybe voters didn’t cotton to her valentine to the ’80s, which is a shame. The release not only brims with Cyrus’ passion for the era but singles “Prisoner” (with Dua Lipa) and “Angels Like You” (featuring a co-write with Ryan Tedder) exemplify her ability to marry authenticity with rock charm.
Machine Gun Kelly
His fifth studio album, "Tickets to My Downfall," established Kelly as a pop-punkster who formally ditched his hip-hop roots. Still, his slick, guitar-fronted anthems didn't warrant a single nod. But between his ongoing musical partnership with Blink-182's Travis Barker and a hit rock single with "Papercuts," from his upcoming "Born with Horns" album, MGK should have a reason for future Grammy consideration.
Prepare for another round of Drake vs. Kanye. The latter scored an album of the year nod for his much-tinkered with “Donda.” But Drake, despite breaking Spotify records, becoming the eighth artist in Billboard history to earn 10 No. 1 albums with “Certified Lover Boy” and outselling Ye with first-week sales, was only recognized for best rap album and best rap performance (“Way 2 Sexy” with Future and Young Thug). The Weeknd would like a word.
We’ll acknowledge that “Butter” isn’t as hearty a slice of pop perfection as its predecessor, “Dynamite.” But it’s still a blissfully fun contribution from the K-pop superstars – not to mention the song of summer that broke a record on Spotify’s global chart for biggest song debut in the platform’s history. So only one nod for best pop duo/group performance? The BTS Army would like a word.
More awards: Brutally honest reviews of AMAs performances
Megan Thee Stallion
A nomination for best rap performance (“Thot S---”) is acceptable, but the most recent best new artist winner had every reason to expect that her debut album, “Good News,” would earn a few back slaps. The critically acclaimed release bowed at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 album chart, spawned the platinum singles “Body” and “Cry Baby” (with DaBaby) and pushed Megan further into the conversation of notable current female rappers.
The double Grammy-winner released “Positions” to reasonable acclaim as she continued to push a sound that mingled pop with R&B and trap. Though the album leaned more heavily on breathy ballads of seduction rather than club thumpers, it still earned her a No. 1 single with the title track, which landed a Grammy nod for best pop solo performance. The album will also compete for best pop vocal album, but there was an assumption it would warrant a bigger Grammy spotlight.
“Solar Power” is among the works that earned Jack Antonoff his producer of the year nomination, but as for the artist herself? MIA this year. While “Solar Power” wasn’t as adored as her 2013 debut “Pure Heroine” or 2017’s “Melodrama,” it signified a stylistic shift that usually appeals to the Grammy crew. Lorde has called “Solar Power” her “weed album” due to the songs being steeped in hazy psychedelic pop and sparser instrumentation than her past work. Apparently, voters preferred her in the clubs.
As we know from her “Miss Americana” documentary, the album of the year category is the one that Swift covets the most, so no doubt she’s pleased with “Evermore” landing among the year’s heavyweights. But whither “Willow,” which she performed as part of a medley at this year’s Grammy ceremony? Or “No Body, No Crime,” which returned Swift to her country radio roots? The omissions make Swift's album nod seem obligatory, which it certainly is not.
Recording Academy honcho Mason confirmed the embattled country singer was eligible to be nominated (“As long as the requirements meet our standards as far as date and genre, we don’t decide who is eligible,” Mason told USA TODAY). But despite the massive commercial success of “Dangerous: The Double Album,” and hit singles “Sand in My Boots,” “7 Summers” and “More Than My Hometown,” Grammy voters didn’t acknowledge Wallen, who was caught on camera uttering a racial slur in February.
Alicia Keys, Kacey Musgraves, Lizzo
One year you’re a Grammy darling and the next cycle, a distant memory. Well, not completely. Keys, who has earned an impressive 15 Grammys (amid 29 nominations), popped up only in the best immersive audio album category (recordings released on formats such as DVD-Audio, Atmos and Blu-Ray) for “Alicia” and shares a record of the year nod not for her solo work, but “A Beautiful Noise,” which she performed with Brandi Carlile on “Every Vote Counts: A Celebration of Democracy” (it’s also on the digital version of “Alicia”).
Meanwhile, former album of the year winner Musgraves, whose “Golden Hour” garnered an armload of trophies at the 2019 ceremony between the general and country categories, only nabbed a bit of recognition for “Camera Roll” (best country song and best country solo performance), from her current album (aka "the divorce one"), “Star-Crossed.”
As for Lizzo, she’s just a year removed from scoring her first three career Grammys, but her 2021 single with Cardi B, “Rumors,” didn’t merit any attention.
Grammys 2022 surprises
Faithful viewers of “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” are well-aware of Batiste’s nimble musicianship with his band, Stay Human. But even with the jazz/R&B trailblazer’s sterling resume, his 11 nominations – the most among any artist this year – his isn’t a name expected among the album of the year (“We Are”) and record of the year (“Freedom”) lineups. It’s been a celebratory period for Batiste, who snagged an Academy Award in 2021 for best original score for “Soul.” Despite three previous Grammy nominations, he has yet to win. But with his current multiple nominations spread across jazz, R&B, American roots and classical categories, that will likely change in January.
We’re the first to agree that ABBA’s absence among Grammy winners is blasphemous. But we’re also rational enough to realize that while their ’70s and ’80s output – “Mamma Mia,” “Waterloo,” “Dancing Queen” “The Winner Takes It All” – was undoubtedly deserving of awards praise, the single “I Still Have Faith In You,” from the group’s first album (“Voyage”) in 40-plus years, is an odd inclusion for record of the year.