As Grammy voting begins, Gen Z acts are favorites. But could a 95-year-old take the top prize?

Amid reforms in the Grammy nomination process, Olivia Rodrigo and Lil Nas X are considered early favorites. But a (very) old-school album could steal the show.

10/26/2021 8:55:00 PM

Given the Recording Academy’s long-established weakness for old-timers and cross-generational hookups, an emotional Gaga/Bennett victory could make for a solution to what feels like the lack of a clear front-runner for pop music’s most prestigious prize.

Amid reforms in the Grammy nomination process, Olivia Rodrigo and Lil Nas X are considered early favorites. But a (very) old-school album could steal the show.

The 2021 ceremony, held later than usual in mid-March due to pandemic-related delays, was shadowed byallegations of corruptionfrom the Weeknd, who publicly criticized the academy after his smash “After Hours” album failed to receive a single nod; his comments echoed those of other high-profile Black artists, including Frank Ocean and Drake, who’ve highlighted concerns about systemic racism in the Grammys’ nominating process, and of Deborah Dugan, the academy’s former CEO who was ousted in 2020 after making

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regarding vote-rigging, discrimination and sexual misconduct.In response, the academy recently announced that it was doing away with itscontroversial nominations review committees— small groups of music-business insiders who oversaw, and sometimes amended, the Grammys ballot after the academy’s thousands of voters had made their initial choices — and had parted ways with chief awards officer Bill Freimuth, who supervised the committees. (Many concluded it was a committee that had iced out the Weeknd as a result of some behind-the-scenes conflict.)

The news was received as a sign of longed-for transparency, though, as one prominent industry executive pointed out, a clean vote may only reveal an underlying issue. “The academy has a serious membership problem,” said this person, who, like others, requested anonymity in order to speak freely about awards they’d still like their artists to win. “There’s nowhere near as much diversity as there needs to be.” Added a veteran major-label exec: “If you’re truly relying on the voters” — a group of approximately 12,000 widely thought to be dominated by older white men — “you might end up with another Jethro Tull situation.” (In 1989, the flute-blowing British band infamously beat Metallica for the hard rock/metal performance Grammy.)

“It’s possible the committees saved the academy from embarrassment more than they created it,” this person said.Kacey Musgraves is not eligible in the country album category, but is still considered a favorite for a general best album nomination.(VALERIE MACON/AFP via Getty Images)

Since he took over from Dugan last year, academy chief Harvey Mason Jr. has earned reserved praise for attempting to diversify the organization’s membership. Yet the group found itself in hot water again this month when word got out that Kacey Musgraves’ pop-leaning “Star-Crossed” had been

barred from considerationin the country album category, ostensibly because it’s not country enough. The ruling — made by a so-called screening committee that decides whether certain albums or songs qualify for certain genre awards — raised familiar questions about conflicts of interest inside the academy and newer ones about who’s tasked with policing genres and who loses in that process.

Read more: Los Angeles Times »

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Grammy Contenders 2022: Mickey Guyton on the Resilient Message of 'Remember Her Name'“I want to be a part of country music where people can be 100 percent themselves and be accepted for it,” the singer says in an interview for Rolling Stone’s new Grammy Preview

Grammy Voters: First Voting Round Closes Nov. 5 — Here’s Everything You Need to KnowWe at Variety usually reserve our get-out-the-vote efforts for things like presidential and congressional elections. But with the Grammy Awards’ dramatic changes to the voting process earlier this …

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Here's Where Justin Bieber's 'Peaches' & More Top 10 Hits Are Competing for 2022 Grammy NomsHere's where Justin Bieber's pop/soul jam 'Peaches' -- and 28 other top 10 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 -- are competing in the 2022 Grammy Awards process. we want bts To the world, you are just a grain of sand – but to someone, you are their whole world

Ozuna, Rubén Blades and C. Tangana to Perform at Latin Grammy AwardsPaula Arenas, Nella, Danna Paola will also be joining the star-studded lineup of performers at the 22nd annual awards show.

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