Beyoncé led the way with nine nominations for the 2021 Grammy Awards, which were announced in a livestream Tuesday afternoon. Taylor Swift, Megan Thee Stallion, Dua Lipa, and Post-Malone were among the other big names with multiple nominations.
The Recording Academy largely snubbed notable stars Bob Dylan, The Weeknd, BTS, and Harry Styles. Dylan got no recognition for his late career masterwork Rough & Rowdy Ways. The Weeknd — Canadian singer Abel Tesfaye was expected to make a big splash for his After Hours but also received no nominations. BTS got only one. Styles pulled down three, but was shut out of major categories.
University of Pennsylvania grad John Legend was nominated for best R&B album for Bigger Love and also for his duet “Lightning & Thunder” with R&B singer-songwriter Jhené Aiko from her album Chilombo, which is up for best album and best progressive R&B album.
Philly bassist Christian McBride was nominated twice in the jazz instrumental album category, once for Trilogy 2 with Chick Corea and Brian Blade, and once for Redman Mehldau McBride Blade’s Roundagain. Corea and Redman are both also nominated in the best improvised jazz solo category for performances on the two nominated McBride albums.
Not releasing a proper album during the eligibility period didn’t stop Beyoncé from being the dominant force this year.
“Black Parade,” her song of protest and pride for the Black Lives Matter movement in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd, is up for both song and record of the year, as well as R&B performance and R&B song.
She also got multiple nominations for “Savage,” her remix collaboration with Megan Thee Stallion, who herself garnered four nominations, including best new artist and record of the year.
Beyoncé also received multiple nods connected to her Black Is King music film, which was released on Disney+ this summer.
When the 2020 Grammys were awarded this past January, teen goth sensation Billie Eilish swept the four major categories of song, record, and album of the year, plus new artist. No such dominance will be possible at this year’s awards ceremony, as the major nominations are spread out among a variety of hopefuls.
Swift is up for album of the year for her collection Folklore, recorded in quarantine, as well as best song for “Cardigan,” among her total of six nominations.
British dance-pop singer Dua Lipa also has six nominations, including album of the year for Future Nostalgia, and record and song of the year for “Don’t Start Now.” (Song of the year is for songwriting.)
Rapper and guitar-strummer Post-Malone is nominated for best song and record for “Circle” and best album for Hollywood Is Bleeding.
Some underdogs are competing in the major categories, as well. Austin, Texas, psychedelic soul band Black Pumas are up for album of the year for the deluxe edition of their self-titled debut album, and their song “Colors” is in the running for record of the year.
Across the 84 Grammy categories, there are a number of intriguing developments.
The late John Prine, who died of COVID-19 in April, is posthumously up for best American Roots performance and song for “I Remember Everything.” Kanye West snagged a contemporary Christian music album nomination for Jesus Is King.
There’s tough competition both in the rock album category — where Sturgill Simpson’s Sound & Fury faces off against Fontaines D.C.’s A Hero’s Death and Michael Kiwanuka’s Kiwanuka — and for best alternative music album, where Apple’s Fetch The Bolt Cutters competes with Phoebe Bridgers’ Punisher and Brittany Howard’s Jaime.
For the first time, all the best rock performance nominees are women, including Bridgers, Howard, Fiona Apple, Grace Potter, Big Thief (led by songwriter Adrianne Lenker), and sister band Haim.
Bridgers is also up for best new artist and got four nominations in all.
Along with Legend and McBride, several Philadelphia-connected artists in jazz, R&B, and classical categories are in the running for awards:
The Grammy awards will be broadcast on CBS on Jan. 31. The site of the awards ceremony — or whether it will be a socially distanced in-person event or an entirely virtual affair — has not been announced yet. The Daily Show’s Trevor Noah will host, replacing Alicia Keys, who hosted the last two years.