The Record Academy’s surprise decision to expand the number of nominees in four major Grammy categories was made just a day before nominations were announced this week. The last-minute decision allowed for Kanye West, Taylor Swift, Lil Nas X and others to secure nominations they wouldn’t have prior.
A New York Times report published Wednesday said West and Swift, already nominated in other categories, were late additions to the album of the year lineup, with the rapper’s Donda album and the singer’s Evermore joining a list containing albums from Justin Bieber, Olivia Rodrigo, Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga, Doja Cat, H.E.R., Billie Eilish, Lil Nas X and Jon Batiste.
The Times also reported that the late expansion of the record of the year category saw Lil Nas X’s “Montero (Call Me by Your Name)” and ABBA’s “I Still Have Faith in You” added to the list that already included songs by Olivia Rodrigo, Justin Bieber, Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga, Jon Batiste, Doja Cat, Billie Eilish, Silk Sonic and Brandi Carlile.
For the songwriters’ song of the year category, the last-minute additions brought in Doja Cat’s “Kiss Me More,” and “Right on Time” by Brandi Carlile. The late expansion of the best new artist added the rapper Baby Keem and the composer Arooj Aftab.
The Times reports that it was possible to see which artists were added last minute as those names were absent from the “final nominations list” of eight names in those categories, a list the newspaper says was created several days before and which it had obtained.
While revealing the nominations for the 2022 Grammys Tuesday, the Recording Academy also announced that it was expanding the list of nominees in four general field categories, billing the move as a way “to make room for more music, more artists and more genres, and to embrace the spirit of inclusion.”
A letter to members was also made public the same day.
The Hollywood Reporter has reached out to the Recording Academy for comment.
The Times report comes at a time the Recording Academy, already reeling from a series of controversies at the executive management level, is trying to inject transparency into its process after repeated criticism from prominent artists.
Last year, Canadian singer The Weeknd said he would boycott the awards after his album After Hours incredibly failed to gain a single nomination, despite huge commercial, critical and chart success. After the shocking snub, The Weeknd, a hugely influential artist, declared the Grammys to be “corrupt.”
In an interview with the Times, the Recording Academy’s president and CEO Harvey Mason Jr. addressed the last-minute expansion and said they had been in the works for years, with the introduction happening this year after witnessing the Latin Grammys pushing their nominee’s list to 12.
Mason Jr. also denied that the addition of Swift and West was for commercial reasons or shore up flagging television ratings.
The 2022 Grammy Awards take place on Jan. 31.