62nd Grammy nominations: The good, the bad and the weird

Michael Pincumbe and Michael Pincumbe

The 2020 Grammy Award nominations were announced earlier this morning and while some of the picks were pretty predictable, others were extremely surprising to most music fans everywhere.

With the Grammy nominations comes a lot of discussion and debate over who really deserved a nomination and – when the ceremony airs in January – who deserved to win.

What’s important to consider when it comes to the Grammys is that music is highly subjective, so there’s never really a chance to please everyone. Out of all the music released each year, only five to eight artists get nominated and only one wins.

This year, newcomers Lizzo and Billie Eilish lead the pack with eight and six nominations respectively. Other nominated artist includes Ariana Grande, Taylor Swift, H.E.R., J. Cole, Lil Nas X, 21 Savage and many more.

Here are some of the main takeaways:

The spectrum between popular and acclaimed

The Grammys are widely considered to be the biggest music award you can get, but every year there seems to be a pull between the Grammys giving the awards to the big hits or lesser-known records that still received acclaim. In the general categories, the endless tug of war still seems to be present.

In Record of the Year, popular songs like “bad guy,” “7 rings” and “Old Town Road” got a nomination, while less popular songs like “Hey, Ma” and “Hard Place” also scored a nomination. 

In Album of the Year, “thank u, next” and “Cuz I Love You,” two very popular albums, scored a nomination while the lesser-known “I Used To Know Her,” “Norman F—— Rockwell!” and “i,i” also score a nomination.

I’m by no means saying popular music is worse than lesser-known music at all, but it’s interesting to see the contrast in what gets chosen by the academy. “thank u, next” was both acclaimed by critics and sold more than “7” by Lil Nas X, which sold well but received average reviews across the board.

What are the rules for who gets nominated?

Lizzo’s “Truth Hurts” came out over two years ago, but didn’t become a hit until this year. The timeline for what songs or albums is eligible for nominations is usually about a year or so. According to the Grammy’s website, this year the deadline was from Oct. 1, 2018  to Aug. 31, 2019. 

“Truth Hurts” was released Sept. 19, 2017, making it technically ineligible, but the song got multiple nominations this year. 

Some of the big publications did look into this and were able to find some answers. According to Billboard, “‘Truth Hurts,’ which was released as a stand-alone single in 2017, qualifies for the 2020 Grammys because the song was never submitted for contention in the Grammys process and it appears on an album released during the eligibility period for the upcoming show.” 

Another big head scratcher for this year’s nominations was Lil Nas X’s “7” EP getting nominated for Album of the Year. The EP is almost 19 minutes long, including the original and remixed version of Old Town Road. Compared to Lana Del Rey’s “Norman F—— Rockwell!” which is a little over an hour long, it’s quite a difference for what’s considered an album or an EP.  

No information on why “7” qualified for an Album of the Year nomination could be found. 

The biggest accomplishments for this year’s nominees

Billie Eilish became the youngest artist to get nominated in all four of the general categories — Album, Song and Record of the Year and Best New Artist. If she wins, she’ll be one of the youngest ever to receive the award. 

Eilish’s brother Finneas is nominated for Producer of the Year for his work on Billie’s album alone. The 22-year-old is one of the youngest producers to be nominated.

Lizzo received eight nominations, making her the most nominated artist this year and almost one of the most nominated artists ever for a particular year (Michael Jackson and Babyface hold that record with 14 nominations).

Multiple new and established artists got their first nominations ever, including 21 Savage, Da Baby, Ty Dolla Sign, Lucky Daye, Rosalía, Bad Bunny, Social House and many more.

The 2020 Grammys will air Jan. 26 at 8 p.m. on CBS.