The 2021 Grammy nominees were announced this morning, and while there was a lot of good news for Beyoncé and Taylor Swift, one artist who seemed to be having a pretty successful year was snubbed across the board: The Weeknd, whose “Blinding Lights” broke a Billboard Hot 100 record this summer, didn’t receive a single Grammy nomination. Rather than privately grumble about being ignored and take solace in the fact that he’s playing the Super Bowl Halftime Show, though, The Weeknd hopped on Twitter to say that the Grammys are “corrupt” anyway:
Variety explains that Grammy voting is very secret, with private committees comprised of unnamed members choosing who gets nominations, which means it’s hard to hold anyone accountable for supposedly suspicious stuff like a major artist getting totally snubbed. The outlet is suspicious of an anti-Weekend conspiracy, though, theorizing that his snub may have been due to the voters for the R&B category and the voters for the pop category both separately determining that The Weeknd’s After Hours belonged in the other category and therefore didn’t vote for it (though that doesn’t explain his absence from categories that aren’t genre based, if you believe that he did deserve to be nominated for something).
Another potential angle for the conspiracy is The Weeknd’s aforementioned Super Bowl appearance. Apparently, before he was snubbed, The Weeknd had been asked to perform during the Grammys ceremony, which is set to happen a week before the Super Bowl. The Grammys people were supposedly upset about him playing another big event so close to their show, but they did ultimately decide that it would be okay for him to perform at both. Still, the timing of it makes sense, at least as far as conspiracies go.
Recording Academy boss Harvey Mason Jr. has already shot down this theory, though, saying the nominations were set “well before” the news came out about him performing at the Super Bowl so “in no way could it have affected the nomination process.” But of course he’s going to say that. Conspiracies tend to hinge on people not saying “yeah, the conspiracy is real, everybody’s out to get you.” So we don’t know if The Weeknd just happened to get totally snubbed by the Grammy nominators or if someone was mad about him playing at the Super Bowl, but he is right that some transparency would be nice—if only so we could get someone to finally explain what the hell “Best New Artist” means.