After his album After Hours was released to critical and commercial acclaim and his single "Blinding Lights" broke the record for the longest-running song ever in the Top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100, among other milestones, The Weeknd was seen as a shoo-in for the 2021 Grammy Awards. But when the nominations were announced on Tuesday, his name was left completely off the list, leading to outrage from fans and the singer himself.
On Tuesday night, The Weeknd, whose real name is Abel Tesfaye, shared his thoughts in a tweet, claiming that the Grammys "remain corrupt." "You owe me, my fans and the industry transparency..." he wrote. His tweet has received over one million likes as of Wednesday morning, and aside from the fan who responded with humor and wrote, "i think the reason you didn’t get nominations is because they announced them on the weekday," many of the replies agreed with the singer's sentiment.
The Grammys remain corrupt. You owe me, my fans and the industry transparency...— The Weeknd (@theweeknd) November 25, 2020
After the nominations were announced, the Recording Academy's interim president/CEO Harvey Mason Jr. told Billboard that The Weeknd was not intentionally snubbed. "For The Weeknd, in every year you only have a certain amount of people you can nominate for each category," he said. "...In my experience, it’s not really been about trying to even the playing field for every different group and make sure that everyone’s included. It’s really about trying to highlight quality and excellence."
TMZ reports that The Weeknd's upcoming Super Bowl halftime show performance could have contributed to his lack of nominations, with sources claiming that talks for the singer to perform at the 2021 Grammy Awards got "testy" after the Recording Academy pressured him to choose between that performance and the halftime show. The Weeknd and the Recording Academy reportedly came to an agreement that he could perform at both events, though the "bitter" negotiations allegedly may have cost him some nominations.
The Weeknd wasn't the only star unhappy with the Grammys this week — Justin Bieber, who was nominated for four awards, expressed his confusion over the fact that his album Changes was nominated for Best Pop Vocal Album rather than R&B in a lengthy post in which he said he "feels weird" about his nominations. "I set out to make an R&B album. Changes was and is an R&B album," he wrote. "It is not being acknowledged as an R&B album which is very strange to me."
Nicki Minaj seemingly took issue with Bon Iver's nomination for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance for "Exile," his collaboration with Taylor Swift, reminding fans of the year Bon Iver, the band founded by Justin Vernon, won Best New Artist when she was also nominated in the category. "Never forget the Grammys didn’t give me my best new artist award when I had 7 songs simultaneously charting on billboard & bigger first week than any female rapper in the last decade- went on to inspire a generation," she tweeted on Tuesday. "They gave it to the white man Bon Iver."