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Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Grammy Awards: Olivia Rodrigo dominates nominations for 2022


Olivia Rodrigo has emerged as the front-runner for next year’s Grammy Awards, with nominations in all four of the main categories.

For Drivers License, the 18-year-old is nominated for best album, best new artist, record of the year, and song of the year.

In all categories except best new artist, she is up against Billie Eilish and Lil Nas X.

Abba also received their first Grammy nomination for record of the year.

The Swedish band is best known for their bittersweet comeback single, I Still Have Faith In You, released in September.

Taylor Swift is also nominated for album of the year for the second time in a row, for Evermore. She won the award earlier this year for the album’s companion, Folklore.

British musicians are scarce, but Ed Sheeran’s Bad Habits is nominated for song of the year, and Arlo Parks and Glass Animals are on the shortlist for best new artist.

Coldplay receives their 36th Grammy nomination for the single Higher Power (best pop group performance), and Paul McCartney is recognised for his lockdown album McCartney III (best lockdown album) and the track Find My Way (best lockdown album) (best rock song).

Jon Batiste, best known as the keyboard player on Stephen Colbert’s US chat show, received the most nominations overall

Despite his relative obscurity in the UK, jazz keyboardist Jon Batiste leads the nominations with 11 in total, honouring both his eclectic solo album We Are and the soundtrack to the Pixar film Soul.

The musician, a member of a New Orleans musical dynasty, says it’s “hard to put into words” how he feels after hearing the news. “It’s astonishment, shock, awe, and gratitude.”

With eight nominations each, Justin Bieber, Doja Cat, and H.E.R. follow Batiste. Billie Eilish and Olivia Rodrigo are both on seven.

“Many dreams have come true for me this year, but this one is probably the most meaningful,” Rodrigo said when she found out she had been nominated.

“This is insane!” exclaimed Billie Eilish, who could set a record if she wins record of the year for the third time in a row with Happier Than Ever.

“What wonderful news to wake up to. I want to scream.”

Eilish already has seven Grammy awards

Meanwhile, Korean pop sensation BTS received a single nomination for pop duo/group performance, missing out on the main categories.

The group’s monster hit Butter is nominated alongside Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga’s I Get A Kick Out Of You, Justin Bieber’s Lonely, Coldplay’s Higher Power, and Doja Cat’s Kiss Me More.

Jay-Z is now the most-nominated artist in Grammy history, thanks to this year’s ballot.

He was tied with legendary record producer Quincy Jones on 80 nominations, but he now has three new ones, including two for best rap song for collaborations with DMX and Kanye West.

The nominees were announced on Tuesday morning at the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles, with help from Billie Eilish, H.E.R., Eurovision winners Mneskin, and BTS themselves.

With nearly 22,000 songs and albums submitted for consideration, the main category shortlists were expanded from eight to ten nominees for the first time.

“We’re living in an era of extraordinary growth in music,” said Harvey Mason, Jr., CEO of the Recording Academy. “Every day, over 60,000 songs are released. With so much more music to choose from. There’s a lot more to recognise and celebrate when it comes to excellence.”

BTS made history as the first K-Pop act to earn a Grammy nomination last year

The Grammys also made sweeping changes to their rules for 2022, after The Weeknd was controversially shut out of this year’s awards.

Following that, organisers scrapped dozens of anonymous committees that had the power to overrule votes in 72 of the 86 categories, instead allowing rank-and-file voters to choose the shortlists.

The committees, which were shrouded in secrecy, were accused of vote-rigging, favouritism, and racism. In response, several high-profile artists, including Drake, Frank Ocean, and The Weeknd himself, boycotted recent ceremonies.

The change appears to have boosted the chances of artists with broad appeal, such as Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga, who received six nominations for their duets album Love For Sale.

Who is Olivia Rodrigo?

The star is an only child, who started singing when she was in kindergarten in Temecula, California

Olivia Rodrigo was best known as the star of the Disney series High School Musical: The Musical: The Series at this time last year.

Then, a few weeks before her 18th birthday in January, she released the lovelorn piano ballad Drivers License, which became an instant, but organic, global hit.

Sour, the teenager’s debut album, was inspired by the same heartbreak (allegedly her Disney co-star Joshua Bassett).

Showcasing her piercing, precise lyrics and precociously accomplished songwriting, it saw her hailed as “pop’s newest icon” and hit number one on both sides of the Atlantic.

In its incessantly hooky choruses, Sour embraced Rodrigo’s musical inspirations, from Taylor Swift to Paramore. Both artists later received writing credits for their influence, and therefore share her album of the year nomination.

If Rodrigo sweeps all of the “big four” categories next January, she’ll be only the third person in history to do so, after Christopher Cross and Billie Eilish.

But she faces stiff competition from Bruno Mars’ impeccably-crafted soul band Silk Sonic and, of course, from Swift herself.

Who else is up for the biggest prizes?

The so-called “big four” are the Grammys’ most prestigious prizes. This year’s field looks like this.

Album of the year

  • We Are – Jon Batiste
  • Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga – Love For Sale
  • Justin Bieber – Justice
  • Doja Cat – Planet Her
  • Billie Eilish – Happier Than Ever
  • H.E.R. – Back Of My Mind
  • Lil Nas X – Montero
  • Olivia Rodrigo – Sour
  • Taylor Swift – Evermore
  • Donda – Kanye West

Song of the year (recognising the songwriters)

  • Bad Habits – Ed Sheeran
  • A Beautiful Noise – Alicia Keys and Brandi Carlile
  • Drivers License – Olivia Rodrigo
  • Fight For You – H.E.R.
  • Happier Than Ever – Billie Eilish
  • Kiss Me More – Doja Cat ft Sza
  • Montero (Call Me By Your Name) – Lil Nas X
  • Peaches – Justin Bieber ft Daniel Caesar & Giveon
  • Leave The Door Open – Silk Sonic
  • Right On Time – Brandi Carlile
Anderson .Paak and Bruno Mars have received multiple nominations for their joint project, Silk Sonic

Record of the year (recognising the whole recording)

  • I Still Have Faith In You – Abba
  • Freedom – Jon Batiste
  • I Get A Kick Out Of You – Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga
  • Peaches – Justin Bieber ft Daniel Caesar & Giveon
  • Right On Time – Brandi Carlile
  • Kiss Me More – Doja Cat ft Sza
  • Happier Than Ever – Billie Eilish
  • Montero (Call Me By Your Name) – Lil Nas X
  • Drivers License – Olivia Rodrigo
  • Leave The Door Open – Silk Sonic

Best new artist

  • Arooj Aftab
  • Jimmie Allen
  • Baby Keem
  • Finneas
  • Glass Animals
  • Japanese Breakfast
  • The Kid Laroi
  • Arlo Parks
  • Olivia Rodrigo
  • Saweetie

Read more: The main nominees for the 2022 Grammy Awards

Who didn’t get a nomination?

Dua Lipa declined to submit her hit single Levitating for an award

This year, the Grammys will honour a 13-month period, beginning on September 1, 2020, and ending on September 30, 2021.

Even so, some of pop’s biggest new albums, such as Adele’s 30, Ed Sheeran’s =, and Abba’s Voyage, are out.

The Weeknd is also missing, having refused to attend the Grammys after being snubbed last year. In an apparent show of solidarity, Ariana Grande and Doja Cat also declined to submit their duets with the star for awards. But Kanye West didn’t get the memo: his single Hurricane, featuring The Weeknd and Lil Baby, made the shortlist for best melodic rap song.

Taylor Swift also refused to consider her re-recorded version of Fearless. The original, released in 2008, was named album of the year.

And Dua Lipa failed to submit her 4x-platinum chart hit Levitating, apparently to avoid recognising featured rapper DaBaby after he made homophobic comments earlier this year.

Country star Morgan Wallen also failed to receive a nomination after being filmed using a racial slur earlier this year.

The singer, whose album Dangerous is the best-selling country album of 2021, was ruled ineligible for the Academy of Country Music Awards but was allowed to enter the Grammys, where he was defeated by acts such as Chris Stapleton and Sturgill Simpson.

How has the voting changed this year?

Kacey Musgraves has protested at being moved from the country category to the (more competitive) pop field

The Grammys are supposedly decided by the Recording Academy’s 12,000 voting members.

For decades, however, they were overseen by a shadowy group of “secret committees” who whittled down the top 20 finalists in each category to a final shortlist of between five and eight nominees.

Those committees were accused of corruption and insider dealing, most notably by ousted Recording Academy CEO Deborah Dugan, who said votes had been overruled and artists promoted onto shortlists without merit (the Academy called her allegations “categorically false”).

It came to a head last year around this time when R&B singer The Weeknd was overlooked in the nominations list, despite his single Blinding Lights becoming one of the best-selling songs of the century.

In response, he tweeted, “The Grammys remain corrupt.” “You owe transparency to me, my fans, and the industry.”

The Grammys announced in April that the committees would be eliminated, with regular voters deciding the shortlists in every category, including the “big four”: song of the year, record of the year, best new artist, and best album.

Nonetheless, the awards have sparked debate, thanks to a separate group of committees: the steering committees, which decide which prizes artists are eligible for.

The Nashville screening committee determined that Star-Crossed, the latest album by country superstar (and 2018 album of the year winner) Kacey Musgraves, was a pop album rather than a country album.

Musgraves responded on Instagram by raising her middle fingers. “You can take the girl out of the genre, but you can’t take the girl out of the genre,” she wrote.

In the end, the album received no nominations in the more competitive pop category. The single Camera Roll, on the other hand, made the best country song shortlist.

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