The Grammys Are Rigged. And Here’s Proof.

The Recording Academy owes everyone an apology.

Mei Dotzler, Reporter

No one’s surprised that the Grammys this year were a complete and utter disaster, not because of the performances, but because of the Recording Academy’s annual tradition of exploiting and shutting out the nation’s favorite artists. Year after year, the Grammys prove their underlying biases in the industry by nominating obscure underground artists, continuously snubbing the artists that truly deserve it. Every single time they miss the mark, completely falling short on what’s supposed to be “music’s biggest night”.

The Weeknd via Twitter after the 2021 Grammy nominations came out. Over 1.1 millions likes.

The Grammys should solely be a popularity vote that prioritizes numbers, not opinions. Which songs had the most radio play, won the most awards, and topped the most charts. If we’re going by that logic, why wasn’t The Weeknd nominated? His single “Blinding Lights” was the biggest single of 2020, shifting over 2.7 billion copies alone. His new album “After Hours” garnered over 221 million streams in total, and yet the Academy willfully chose to ignore that.

Respectively Doja Cat was nominated, but lost every single category. Her songs “Say So” and “Rules” plowed through the millennial mainstream by storm, essentially becoming a household name this year through the craze of Tik Tok. She should’ve at least won Best New Artist, but who’s shocked she didn’t?

BTS. Spent 29 consecutive weeks on Billboard’s Global 200, best selling album of 2020, and just recently surpassed Coldplay as the most streamed group of all-time. Their No. 1 single “Dynamite” should’ve easily been nominated for Record or Song of the Year, but instead they were only given one nomination for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance. Performing being the group’s forte, everyone knew it was a no brainer BTS would win. But after their category was shoved into the pre-ceremony, they stunningly lost and that’s when it became obvious: the Academy merely used them as eye candy, only nominating them as a courtesy to gain more views. But we all saw right through that.

BTS in Louis Vuitton at a makeshift 2021 Grammys ceremony in Seoul, South Korea. Big Hit Entertainment

Winning Best Pop Duo/Group Performance was Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande for “Rain on Me”. When you compare their ONE performance to all of BTS’, there’s seriously no competition; even Ari and Gaga fans were shocked they beat out Dynamite. But what irks me the most is Grande and Gaga slept through the entire award, not bothering to get on Zoom and record a live reaction.

Also, let’s not forget when Justin Bieber whined that his album “Changes” should’ve been nominated in Best R&B Album instead of Pop. Frankly, this classic Western white privilege is getting so old. These artists acting like being appreciative is a burden on their ego is really just a slap in the face to all the artists who are struggling to get their first nomination. It’s artists like these that keep getting nominated and yet, they couldn’t care less.

The Recording Academy has received plenty of backlash from artists that have been previously shut out, like Nicki Minaj, Zayn, and Eminem. Calling out the Academy’s blatant racist tendencies, Minaj tweeted, “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. They gave it to the white man Bon Iver.” Or Eminem stating in the Kamikaze Interview, “Never again will I go to the Grammys,” after the repeated upsets of his fellow rappers Kendrick Lamar and Kanye West.

As far as I’m concerned, a Grammy is nothing but a superficial plaque used to document the time you were momentarily the Academy’s Best New Artist. It doesn’t matter if your album only sold 90,000 units in the US and didn’t make it onto Billboard’s Hot 100, as long as you capture the attention of just one middle-aged white man in the Recording Academy, your nomination is secured. Adding unknown artists into the mix adds a sense of unnecessary flair, showing how “indie” and defiant the Academy is to popular culture.

Billie at the 2020 Grammy Awards, becoming the youngest artist ever to win Album of the Year. Getty Images

It’s purely a status symbol for Hollywood celebrities to prove to their competing musicians that they’ve finally “made it” in the cutthroat music industry. But at what point does it lose value? Would you rather have one Grammy that represents the peak of your career or be nominated every single year simply because you’re Taylor Swift. At this point it doesn’t even matter if what you put out is quality, it’s your name that carries the real weight. Probably why Billie Eilish won Record of the Year this year for a song that wasn’t even that popular; it was just a formality to follow up her 2020 5-Grammy sweep.

The Grammy Awards have become a joke, ignorantly side sweeping 90% of the industry’s most prized artists and only acknowledging a select few. It’s like there’s a little black book with a handcrafted list of elite names. So maybe there’s some truth to Zayn’s tweet: “F— the Grammys and everyone associated. Unless you shake hands and send gifts, there’s no nomination considerations. Next year I’ll send you a basket of confectionery.”

As time goes on, the Recording Academy will inevitably lose their relevancy and live out their usefulness. While the Grammys are rapidly dropping in views and popular artists continue selling out stadiums to their beloved fans, who will need who more?