The Grammy nominations list is always full of surprises, and so it was this year when the roster for the 2020 awards was revealed on Wednesday morning (Nov. 20). Who seriously thought that Lil Nas X’s EP 7 would be nominated for album of the year, while albums by Taylor Swift, Maren Morris, Beyoncé, Ed Sheeran and Bruce Springsteen were left out? Here are some of this year’s other biggest snubs and surprises.
Snub: Halsey. Halsey has yet to be nominated in a “Big Four” Grammy category. She had her first No. 1 smash as a lead artist, “Without Me,” this year. The Emmys and the CMAs tapped her to sing on their telecasts this year, an indication of her star power. But Grammy love has been hard to come by.
Surprise: Bon Iver. The band’s I, I album wasn’t a chart-buster (it peaked at No. 26 on the Billboard 200), but the Nominations Review Committee embraced it. The album was nominated for album of the year. “Hey, Ma” (which didn’t make the Billboard Hot 100) was nominated for record of the year.
Surprise: H.E.R. The Nominations Review Committee loves H.E.R., who received five nominations this year, just as she did last year. She’s the only artist to receive five noms both years. This year, she was nominated for record, album and song of the year.
Snub: Maren Morris. Morris was the top nominee at this year’s CMA Awards, with six nods, but she was nearly shut out in the Grammy nominations. Her only nod is for best country duo/group performance for “Common,” featuring Brandi Carlile. Morris’ Girl, which won album of the year at the CMAs, was passed over here for both album of the year and best country album.
Surprise: Tanya Tucker. The country veteran received four noms, including song of the year for co-writing “Bring My Flowers Now.” Tucker is a 14-time Grammy nominee, with noms spanning 47 years. She has yet to win. That is likely to change this year.
Snub: Ed Sheeran. The Grammys didn’t give Sheeran a nom for record, album or song of the year for his second consecutive album project—÷ and now No. 6 Collaborations Project. (At least his pal Swift got a song of the year nomination this time around.)
Surprise: Michelle Obama is nominated for best spoken word album for Becoming. She is vying to become the second first lady or former first lady to win in that category. Hillary Rodham Clinton won while she was first lady for It Takes a Village (1996).
Snubs: Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, who have a co-production credit on Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road” (featuring Billy Ray Cyrus), didn’t receive a record of the year nomination. Mina Lioness, who has a co-writing credit on Lizzo‘s “Truth Hurts” for her contribution to that song’s most memorable line, “I just took a DNA test, turns out I’m 100% that b***h,” didn’t receive a song of the year nomination.
Surprises: Black Pumas and Tanka and the Bangas. These groups were passed over for nominations for, respectively, best alternative music album and best urban contemporary album, but they made the grade for best new artist.
Snub: Lewis Capaldi. Capaldi’s tender ballad “Someone You Loved,” which has logged three weeks at No. 1 on the Hot 100, is up for song of the year, but the Scot was snubbed for best new artist.
Surprise: Even in a year in which she didn’t release a new studio album, Beyoncé received four nominations. This brings her career noms total to 70. (She’s gaining on Quincy Jones, who is the all-time leader with 80 noms.) Beyoncé is nominated for best music film for Homecoming, which she co-directed with Ed Burke. Should she win in that category, she’ll become just the second artist to win for directing (or co-directing) her/his winning film. The first was Alanis Morissette, who co-directed Jagged Little Pill — Live (1997) with Steve Purcell.
Snub: Bruce Springsteen. Springsteen, who has won 20 Grammys, was shut out in the nominations, despite a highly-regarded album (Western Stars, which was passed over for album of the year and best Americana album nods) and film (Springsteen on Broadway, which was passed over for best music film.)
Surprise: Vampire Weekend. The group landed its first album of the year nom for Father of the Bride. Both of the group’s previous nominations were for best alternative music album.
Snub: Taylor Swift. Swift’s Lover was passed over for a nom for album of the year, as was her previous album, reputation. This marks the first time that Swift has missed out on an album of the year nom with back-to-back studio albums. There was a grace note: The title track was nominated for song of the year. It’s Swift’s fourth nom in that category, putting her in a tie with Marilyn Bergman for the most noms in the category’s history by a female songwriter.
Surprise: Nipsey Hussle. The rapper received three posthumous Grammy nominations, two of them for “Racks in the Middle.” The single was released on Feb. 15, six weeks before Hussle was shot to death. Hussle received his first nom last year for his debut album Victory Lap, which was nominated for best rap album.
Snub: Jonas Brothers. The brothers are nominated for best pop duo/group performance for “Sucker,” but they didn’t get any top-tier nominations. The Nominations Review Committee tends to undervalue highly commercial pop music. They didn’t give Justin Timberlake‘s 2016 smash “Can’t Stop the Feeling!” a nom in a Big Four category either. Both of these singles entered the Billboard Hot 100 at No. 1.