A Grammy Nominations FAQ: The Ten Biggest Questions About The Weeknd, BTS & More

Here are 10 questions you might've been wondering about following today's announcement, and our best attempt to answer them for you.

11/24/2020 10:18:00 PM

Here are 10 questions you might've been wondering about following today's GRAMMYs announcement, and Billboard's best attempt to answer them for you.

Here are 10 questions you might've been wondering about following today's announcement, and our best attempt to answer them for you.

Born This Way, respectively). But since that early peak, the Recording Academy has cooled on her somewhat -- none of her subsequent albums have received AOTY recognition, including the acclaimed A Star Is Bornsoundtrack in 2020, though that set's power ballads"Shallow" and"Always Remember Us This Way" did receive song of the year nods, while"Shallow" also saw record of the year recognition.

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It seemed like the enthusiastically received Chromaticaand its Hot 100-topping Ariana Grande duet"Rain on Me" might make her a major Grammys contender again, but it seems the Recording Academy currently prefers its dancefloor stompers from Dua Lipa. Gaga is again relegated to the pop categories, where she's up for best pop vocal album for 

Chromaticaand best pop duo/group performance for"Rain on Me." (She's won both categories before, withThe Fame Monster in 2011 and"Shallow" in 2019, respectively.)Harry Styles, on the other hand, has essentially no pre-2020 Grammys history, having never been recognized either as a member of globe-conquering boy band One Direction or as the group's biggest solo star. That longtime reluctance to embrace Styles likely goes a long way towards explaining why his blockbuster sophomore LP

Fine Line(and its pair of smash hits,"Adore You" and"Watermelon Sugar") is absent from the Big Four. Styles superfans can take some solace in him scoring his his first nominations in the genre categories, as he's up for both best pop vocal album (

Fine Line) and best pop solo performance ("Watermelon Sugar") -- as well as best music video ("Adore You").4. Who is Jacob Collier and why did he get an album of the year nomination?The most unexpected name by far in the Big Four categories is that of Jacob Collier, a 26-year-old white British R&B singer and multi-instrumentalist, who is up for album of the year for his 

Djesse, Vol. 3set. The nomination will come as a surprise to many, as not only does Collier lack the name recognition of most of his starry fellow nominees, but he's yet to make a single appearance on either the Billboard Hot 100 songs chart or the Billboard 200 albums chart.

How to explain his presence, then? Well, for one thing, though he's not a hitmaker necessarily himself, he does feature a number of them on Djesse, Vol. 3-- T-Pain, Ty Dolla $ign, Daniel Caesar and Tori Kelly are among the popular vocalists who make appearances on the set, as well as prior Grammy nominees Rapsody and Tank and the Bangas. And Collier isn't without his own Grammy history, having won four times already for his arrangement work -- taking home both best arrangement, instruments and vocals and best arrangement, instrumental or a cappella in 2017 ("Flintstones" and"You and I," respectively) and then again in 2020 ("All Night Long" and"Moon River," respectively).

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Another reason Collier might have the Grammys inside track: His mentor is none other than the legendary Quincy Jones, who signed Collier to his management company in 2014 and has helped oversee his career ever since. In addition to being one of the most venerated figures in music industry history, Jones also just happens to be the most-nominated artist ever at the Grammys, having racked up 80 such nods over his nearly seven-decade career, as well as the second-most-winning artist, with 28 total statues on his mantle.

5. What about Black Pumas? Why are they nominated for AOTY for a deluxe edition of their album?If you're not already familiar with them from their steady presence on Triple A radio or from a number of critics' best-of lists from 2019, you may also remember alt-soul duo Black Pumas from their 2020 nod for best new artist, which they ultimately lost to Billie Eilish at this year's ceremony. That nomination was a bit of a surprise for the still relatively left-of-center outfit, but it's a much bigger shock this year to see them making the jump to album of the year recognition for 2021 -- specifically for the deluxe edition of their self-titled debut album.

Why the deluxe edition? Well, the regular edition of the album wouldn't have been eligible, having been released back in June 2019, before the start of the 2021 eligibility period. However, the deluxe reissue of the debut set -- featuring three new original tracks, four live versions of songs on their album, and four new covers of artists including Tracy Chapman and The Beatles -- dropped this August, rendering it fair game for the 2021 nominations. (With 11 total additional tracks, it qualifies the set as mostly new material, even though only three of those new tracks are studio originals.)

It's not totally unprecedented for the Grammys to recognize a deluxe reissue: The deluxe version of Lizzo's Cuz I Love Youwas also nominated for album of the year last year. However, in that case, both versions of the album would have been Grammy-eligible, and the deluxe was likely favored simply because it was the only version that included"Truth Hurts," one of the year's biggest hits and a nominee for both song and record of the year at the 2020 awards. Black Pumas are clearly a burgeoning Grammy favorite -- the group is also up for both record of the year and best American roots performance for"Colors," a Triple A No. 1 hit earlier this year -- but their AOTY nomination on something of a technicality is sure to generate much debate in the months leading up to the 2021 ceremony.

6. Has an album ever been nominated for album of the year without making the Billboard 200 before?Not this century, anyway, if ever. Every album that has been nominated for album of the year since 2000 has at least appeared somewhere on the Billboard 200 before. In fact, the overwhelming majority of nominated titles have made the chart's top 10 -- occasionally peaking lower, but very rarely outside of the top 50. The most notable exceptions there are likely Diana Krall's 

When I Look in Your Eyes -- a surprise jazz nominee in 2000 that had debuted and peaked at No. 68 on the 200 before its nomination, eventually reaching a new peak of No. 56 following the awards -- and H.E.R.'s I Used to Know Her, an EP compilation whose AOTY nod last year was also somewhat unexpected, and which had peaked at No. 86 on the 200.

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Interestingly, not only does Jacob Collier's Djesse, Vol. 3then become the first album in Grammy history to receive an album of the year nomination before making the Billboard 200, but Black Pumas' self-titled album comes just one spot away from sharing the honors -- the deluxe edition of their debut bowed at No. 200 on the chart dated Oct. 24, 2020, falling off the listing altogether the next week.

7. Why is Megan Thee Stallion nominated for best new artist, despite becoming a star in early 2019?Good question. The Grammy criteria in this category is kept fairly vague, stating that it"recognizes an artist whose eligibility -year release(s) achieved a breakthrough into the public consciousness..." It disallows"any artist who had achieved a breakthrough in a prior eligibility year," as well as artists who had previously won a Grammy -- like Roddy Ricch, who was ineligible for the award for 2021 following his best rap recording win as a featured artist on Nipsey Hussle's"Racks in the Middle" last year.

Megan had a big 2019, as her Fever mixtape reached No. 10 on the Billboard 200, and her hit"Hot Girl Summer" (featuring Nicki Minaj and Ty Dolla $ign) reached No. 11 on the Hot 100. But she had an even bigger 2020, scoring her first two Hot 100 No. 1s alongside Beyoncé ("Savage") and Cardi B ("WAP"), respectively. The committee that makes the final determinations on eligibility decided to allow her to compete for best new artist again. (She was entered last year but wasn't nominated. If she had been, that would have eliminated her chances of competing for best new artist again.) The Grammys try to walk a fine line between honoring the rules as written and showing some flexibility when needed. Alessia Cara won best new artist three years ago, even though she had previously had a top five hit,"Here," on the Billboard Hot 100.

It's worth noting that Megan is by no means the artist with the longest recording history in this crop of best new artist nominations -- dance DJ Kaytranada has been releasing singles and remixes since at least 2012, with his proper debut album (the acclaimed

99.9%) arriving back in 2016. But again, his profile was raised somewhat in late 2019 with the release of his sophomore album Bubba, his highest-charting entry on the Billboard 200 to date, so he was deemed eligible for best new artist for 2021.

8. Why was Doja Cat's original version of"Say So" nominated (rather than the remix with Nicki Minaj), whereas the version of Megan Thee Stallion's"Savage" that is nominated is the remix with Beyoncé?Another simple answer: That's how the recordings were entered in the Grammy process and presented to the voters. It's not as if the voters had the option of going with one or the other. Entries are generally made by artists' camps -- their record companies and managers -- and when it comes to songs with multiple notable versions, they'll usually choose the version they think has the best chance of contending with voters.

9. Is BTS'"Dynamite" the first K-pop recording to receive a Grammy nomination?Yes. BTS' Hot 100-topping smash is up for best pop duo/group performance at the 2021 awards, which marks the first musical nomination for them or any other K-pop act. (The group's 

Love Yourself: Tearset was nominated for best recording package at the 2019 ceremony.) Though"Dynamite" is sung primarily in English, the song is joined in the best pop duo/group performance nominations by the bilingual"Un Dia (One Day)" by Bad Bunny, Dua Lipa, J Balvin and Tainy -- the second such song in the category's history, following"Despacito" by Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee featuring Justin Bieber in 2018.

10. Has either best rock performance or best country album ever fielded a group of all-female (or female-fronted) acts before?No, though both have come close. In the nominations announced today, all six in the best rock performance category (Fiona Apple's"Shameika," Big Thief's"Not," Phoebe Bridgers'"Kyoto," Haim's"The Steps," Brittany Howard's"Stay High" and Grace Potter's"Daylight") and all five in best country album (Ingrid Andress' 

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Buna ne olub yene? Stupid answears ever....😑😑😑 Which part of korean pop is Dynamite, other than it was sung by a korean artist? Dynamite is actually a pop-disco full english song. If any American pop artist sings in other language than english, will they be categorised as pop or *insertcountry'slanguage*-pop? RecordingAcad

No black artist is winning in the general category, they made those nominees to cover up for Weeknd and not encourage racism. SelenaGomez she deserved more respect, 💽'rare' was positively received by critics, and was number one in most of the world not to mention singles GRAMMYs you've been caught fucking slacking

They r trashed with words every single year still they r not remending,just like dogs tail no matter how hard u try to straight it, it will always remain bending 😂😂😂😂 the weekend deserves grammy for blinding lights didn’t ask PORQUE SELENA GOMEZ NO FUE NOMINADA LPM tremendo álbum se mando este año y lo único que hicieron fue ignorarla

Hey Billboard, just a little heads up...Dynamite is sung ENTIRELY in English. Sooooooooooo Xenophobia and Racism, right? Ik who's going for a full TLC match at the gram event this year. TheWeeknd Hi, please check out my gig if you need any kind of graphic design So u meant, Artists have to come up with only English songs to get Grammy? (I respect every artists who works really hard)

I appreciate every artist that stayed silent, pretending like nothing just happened and takes pride in their nominations. WTF!!! No nominan a The Weeknd 🤔 y sí a Bad Bunny 🤬🤮 theweeknd ArianaGrande ladygaga selenagomez Harry_Styles halsey DESERVED A GRAMMY !!!!!!!!! Do not blame justin he is nominated for country and pop categories and Abel is a R&B Artist

Can we get a list of some big names that did not submit their work? Shut up we want justice for The Weeknd I have one more question WHY BLACKPINK NO ARE NOMINATED TO THE BEST NEW ARTIST? HERE MY QUESTION WHO TF HOED ABEL WIT HIS GRAMMYS Grammys are corrupt. BEYONCE and Jay Z are corrupt. boycottGrammys BlinkVotingCrew INSHAALLAH NEXT YEAR BP NOMINATION AND BTS AGAIN

GlobalBlackPink where's BlackPink ? RecordingAcad Ohmmmmmmyyyyyyyyggghghhhhhhhgggggggggdhdhsjsixudbslsogbdsisgshdbxidjdbdidhdifjfiri? GlobalBlackPink Sai daqui cachorra biscoiteira The albulm was after the grammy deadline but blackpink defo deserved BNA Ohmmmmmmyyyyyyyyggghghhhhhhhgggggggggdhdhsjsixudbslsogbdsisgshdbxidjdbdidhdifjfiri

اااااااا 😭😭😭 It's literally an English pop song but y'all still have to label them as kpop 💀 tell me about BTS_twt getting just 1 nomination GRAMMYS IM GONNA HEX U These were released 5 minutes ago. What you mean? 🙄 One question again : why mots 7 didn't nominated? 💜💜💜BTS💜💜💜 GlobalBlackPink Where is bp best new artist ?

BTS are nominated but still got robbed Grammy is used to boycotting black artists! I feel sad about not swing The Weeknd not even been nominated... what happened?... What on earth is that question? Ohmmmmmmyyyyyyyyggghghhhhhhhgggggggggdhdhsjsixudbslsogbdsisgshdbxidjdbdidhdifjfiri Ohmmmmmmyyyyyyyyggghghhhhhhhgggggggggdhdhsjsixudbslsogbdsisgshdbxidjdbdidhdifjfiri GRAMMYs BTS BTS_twt

Por qué no haces un artículo de como está no fue nominada Ohmmmmmmyyyyyyyyggghghhhhhhhgggggggggdhdhsjsixudbslsogbdsisgshdbxidjdbdidhdifjfiri BTS are 2nd Kact to get nom we know this we r educated!!💜 Ohmmmmmmyyyyyyyyggghghhhhhhhgggggggggdhdhsjsixudbslsogbdsisgshdbxidjdbdidhdifjfiri Before il go to sleep but the question is why did the MOTSAlbum not a nominee for the AOTY lets admit black swan and ON were savage all the tracks in the album but anyways hope someone can answer it hehehe

clickbait bullshit they released after the cutoff y’all do anything for clicks We want explaining for this and how blackpink was 7/8 artists who have biggest chance to get nominations for best new artists but others get nominated Can you explain why there was no nom for AOTY for MOTS7? positions isn't there coz the cutoff was like 2mths ago. thank u next.

My real question is why BTS' MOTS:7 doesn't nominate? Can you explain it? Blackpink for BNA, who are the others ? Doja ok Meghan Ok but the others ? I'm not mean like certain but BTS deserve more too, it's not just Fact only Robbed 🚶