The Rule That Cost Zendaya a Grammy for ‘The Greatest Showman’

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Zendaya attends the 71st Emmy Awards at Microsoft Theater on Sept. 22, 2019 in Los Angeles.

Zendaya is credited as a performer on three of the 12 tracks on 'The Greatest Showman,' but that's not enough to receive a Grammy.

Zendaya won her first EGOT-level award Sunday night (Sept. 20)—a Primetime Emmy for outstanding lead actress in a drama series for HBO’s Euphoria. Some of you may be thinking: Wait a second, didn’t The Greatest Showman win a Grammy for best compilation soundtrack for visual media a couple of years ago? Zendaya had several tracks on the album. Wouldn’t she have won for that?

The Greatest Showman did indeed win a 2018 Grammy in that category, and, yes, Zendaya does have several tracks on the album, but no, she didn’t win a Grammy. Only her co-star Hugh Jackman and four “compilation producers” (Alex Lacamoire, Benj Pasek, Justin Paul and Greg Wells) did. Here’s why.

Zendaya is credited as a performer on three of the 12 tracks on The Greatest Showman – “Come Alive,” “Rewrite the Stars” and the finale, “The Greatest Show.” But the Recording Academy's rules say that an artist or producer must be credited on 51% of more of the playing time of a soundtrack to win in that category. Jackman is credited on seven of the 12 tracks, which translates to 51% or more of the playing time.

A Recording Academy spokesman adds: "They must be credited by name on the track to be counted towards Principal Vocalist. Zendaya was only credited by name for three tracks. Ensemble credits do not count."

Zendaya wasn’t the only performer on the album who missed out on Grammy glory. Zac Efron and Keala Settle  are also each credited on three tracks.

As you have doubtless heard by now, Zendaya, 24, made history Sunday night as the youngest person in Emmy Awards history to win in her category. (The previous record was set just last year when Jodie Comer won at 26 for Killing Eve.)

When the nominations for the 63rd annual Grammy Awards are announced later this year, the soundtrack from Euphoria has a good chance of being in the running for best score soundtrack for visual media, but that nomination would go to Labrinth, who composed the score. Labrinth could receive a second nomination for best song written for visual media for “All For Us.” (He won a Primetime Emmy for outstanding original music and lyrics for that song.)

Zendaya and Labrinth released a collab recording of that song, which was heard in the Euphoria season finale on Aug. 4. That recording could conceivably be nominated for a Grammy for best pop duo/group performance, though that’s a very competitive category.

If Zendaya had won a Grammy two years ago, she would now be halfway to EGOT status. Instead, she’s just a quarter of the way. Even so, she’s off to such a fast start, you’d be a fool to bet against her getting there one day.

'The Greatest Showman' Trailer 2