The Weeknd fans are not happy after the Canadian artist was snubbed from every category – both general and genre specific – ahead of the 2021 Grammys.
Recording Academy Interim President Harvey Mason Jr. spoke with Variety immediately after the Grammy Awards nominations livestream and addressed the elephant in the room. The publication asked Mason Jr. how The Weeknd could have possibly been shut out, despite the critical and commercial success of After Hours.
“Y’know, it really just comes down to the voting body that decides,” the Grammys boss replied. “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.”
“We look at it every year and make tweaks and revisions to the process; we did it this year, last year, we’ll do it next year,” he said of the voting process. “And I don’t think this calls it into question, honestly. The process is there so we can continue to monitor excellence. I was in the ‘core room’ this year [which decides the Big Four] and I observed.”
Mason Jr. rejected the idea that the voting committee, which comprises of approximately 20 music professionals, was anything but fair to all the artists up for awards consideration.
“The people that were in it are music professionals — they are excellent, at the top of their craft in songwriting and producing, and there are a lot of artists,” said Mason Jr. “They were critically listening to every song that came across their desks — or virtual desks — so I don’t think it shows a flaw in the process.”
“I think it’s actually… as you get a nomination, you start to really appreciate the process, where you’re saying, ‘I really made it through a strenuous and thoughtful process,’ to get to who are really the deserving nominees for that given year,” he explained.
The Weeknd himself responded in a scorched-earth tweet accusing the Grammys of being “corrupt,” insisting that the Recording Academy “owe me, my fans and the industry transparency.”
The Grammys remain corrupt. You owe me, my fans and the industry transparency…
— The Weeknd (@theweeknd) November 25, 2020
Following The Weeknd’s charge of corruption, Mason issued a response, via Variety.
“Congratulations to today’s Grammy nominees, who have earned their peers’ recognition for their incredible work. There were a record number of submissions in this unusual and competitive year,” he wrote.
“We understand that The Weeknd is disappointed at not being nominated. I was surprised and can empathize with what he’s feeling. His music this year was excellent, and his contributions to the music community and broader world are worthy of everyone’s admiration. We were thrilled when we found out he would be performing at the upcoming Super Bowl and we would have loved to have him also perform on the Grammy stage the weekend before,” Mason continued.
“Unfortunately, every year, there are fewer nominations than the number of deserving artists,” he added. “But as the only peer-voted music award, we will continue to recognize and celebrate excellence in music while shining a light on the many amazing artists that make up our global community. 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. All Grammy nominees are recognized by the voting body for their excellence,” he concludes, “and we congratulate them all.”
The Weeknd struck back at Mason Jr.’s closing remark, accusing the Recording Academy of planning a performance for weeks before suddenly pulling The Weeknd’s invite.
Legendary eight-time Grammy-winner and three-time Hall of Famer Elton John is also accusing the Recording Academy of snubbing The Weeknd. John argues that “Blinding Lights” deserved a nod for Record of the Year and Song of the Year.
Meanwhile, The Weeknd’s fans took to social media to share their displeasure that he was snubbed in this year’s Grammy nominations.
Me seeing harry me seeing
is nominated abel isn't
for the grammy's nominated pic.twitter.com/LYO0mSEbWt
— Febe ♡'s Louis 🦋| follow limit (@nialldapimp) November 24, 2020
After Hours and The Weeknd deserved better. The blatant racism and robbery is outrageous.
Stream Blinding Lights. It's still breaking the record for longest running song in the Billboard Top 10.
Since the Grammys want to snub Abel. We'll keep him in their faces. pic.twitter.com/lHmnCbBHCf
— ً (@weekndlustt) November 24, 2020
Awards do not determine an artist! Abel is the biggest artist this year, charts don’t lie. Let’s go and stream ‘Save Your Tears’, the next single off ‘After Hours’! #WeLoveYouAbel pic.twitter.com/DpnQa1tFgB
— The Weeknd News (@NewsWeeknd) November 24, 2020
The Grammys need to come out with a statement saying that The Weeknd didn’t submit any of his music to be nominated. If not, then we’ll 100% know that Abel was the biggest snub in Grammy Nominations’ history.
— mariano 🦦 (@TheRapAgenda) November 24, 2020
At the end of the day, it's just awards. This can't Change the full domination this year. A masterpiece album, amazing music videos, all the success & broken records. Abel, you're the artist of the year with album of the year, and no one can change that. #WeLoveYouAbel pic.twitter.com/KhYtdJsIIU
— The Weeknd News (@NewsWeeknd) November 24, 2020
And stop bringing up album sales and numbers we KNOW The Weeknd ate this year up commercially but that’s not what the Grammys are based on. Abel released EXCELLENT music this year as well. He had a unique comeback with well thought out music. He was snubbed.
— changkyuns baby mama (@mmmhdebora) November 24, 2020
ET Canada has reached out to The Weeknd’s rep for comment.