The nominations for the 2022 Grammy Awards have officially been released and, as expected, they highlight the music that’s been released over the past year. Though shortly after they dropped, rumors began to circulate, which pertained to Taylor Swift and Kanye West’s inclusions in some of the biggest categories. Many assumed that this was due to their public relationship and appeal and, as it turns out, both artists were indeed last-minute additions to the list. With this, the music organization has responded by providing its reasoning for the move.
Ahead of dropping this latest batch of nominations, the Recording Academy expanded the number of slots in the major categories, including Album of the Year, Song of the Year and Record of the Year, per The New York Times. Both Taylor Swift and Kanye West were added to the album category for their work on Evermore and Donda, respectively. Other stars also reportedly benefited from this change, as Lil’ Nas X, Doja Cat and Abba found themselves added to the major lists as well.
Harvey Mason Jr., the chief executive of the Recording Academy, explained that the organization was aiming to “make room for more music, more artists and more genres, and to embrace the spirit of inclusion.” He further stated his belief that this will be beneficial for the artists involved:
Kanye West and Taylor Swift have had their fair share of drama over the years. As many likely remember, West infamously interrupted Swift’s VMA acceptance speech for “Best Female Video,” which she won for “You Belong with Me.” The rapper did this to heap praise on Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)” video. Since then, the two have engaged in a feud of sorts, which saw Swift call out West and his (now-estranged) wife, Kim Kardashian, on her album. The “Willow” singer even seemed to address the controversy during a concert a few years back.
Taking all of that into account, it’s honestly fair that some people would be skeptical of the Recording Academy’s desire to spotlight the two artists, especially on such late notice. Harvey Mason Jr. doubled down on the organization’s thinking, though, and believes the new strategy makes sense to its overall goals:
Academy co-president Valeisha Butterfield Jones echoed her colleague’s sentiments. She acknowledged that the process “may seem rushed” but stated that the “thoughtful, well intentioned” process was decided upon with the help of data. Apparently, the group has numbers of its own that indicate increased voting among its members.
Regardless of how one feels about the decision, it’s hard to deny that both musicians have been putting in the work over the past year. Evermore garnered Taylor Swift significant praise (and a lawsuit), as songs like “Willow” truly managed to strike a chord with fans. Kanye West’s Donda has also proven to be popular, with the rapper’s over-the-top listening parties having only ampped up the hype. We’ll see how their work fares against the likes of Olivia Rodrigo, Billie Eilish and H.E.R. when the 64th annual Grammy Awards air Monday, January 31, 2022 at 8 p.m. ET on CBS and simultaneously stream live on Paramount+.
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