The Grammy nominations were unveiled on Friday night, and just like we all predicted, Justin Timberlake ended up with a ton of them. Only not in any of the categories we thought he would, and not nearly as many as Jay Z, who leads everyone with nine.
JT ended up with seven, tied with Kendrick Lamar, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis and Pharrell Williams. It wasn’t the kind of coronation most expected Grammy voters to throw for him, but that was sort of the theme of the night . None of the presumptive favorites did particularly well, though none of them were stiffed entirely, either. And, as is always the case, there were more than a few curveballs thrown by those voters too. They like to keep things interesting, after all.
But what were the biggest Shocks and Snubs of the night? Here are my thoughts.
Sara Bareilles: She earned only two nominations, though one of them — The Blessed Unrest in Album of the Year — was the shock of the night. Sure, it’s proven to be plenty popular (Unrest debuted at #2 on the Billboard charts and features the slow-burning single “Brave,”) but no one saw it bumping favorites like The 20/20 Experience or Unorthodox Jukebox in AOTY. But when it did, the ripples were felt throughout the entire field.
Kendrick Lamar: Some of us called good kid m.A.A.D. city getting an Album of the Year nomination, so that’s not why he’s here. Instead, how about his seven total nods — the most of anyone not named Jay Z — or the fact that he’s now got a decent shot at actually winning AOTY. When 20/20 Experience and Unorthodox Jukebox failed to make the cut, it left good kid with a clear path to the promised land. Red is too old, Unrest too unknown and Random Access Memories too weird … right now, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’s The Heist is probably its stiffest competition. Could this be the first time since 2004 that a hip-hop album takes home the top prize? It might very well happen.
Daft Punk: Everyone figured they’d do pretty well, so their Album and Record of the Year nominations weren’t all that surprising, but the Random Access Memories danced away with a total of five nods … including one for Best Mastered Album, Non-Classical, who you know they were pumped about.
Other artists who were probably pleasantly surprised: Jay Z, whose nine nominations were the most of anybody, BritJames Blake, who no one had nabbing a Best New Artist nom, and Mack Wilds, the actor-turned-musician who grabbed a Best Urban Contemporary Album, a category that also includes Rihanna and Fantasia.
Justin Timberlake: Why is a guy with seven nominations topping the “Snubs” list? Because Friday was supposed to be the night JT’s comeback came full circle — I mean, all he did was launch it at the 55th Grammys in February — with nominations in the so-called “Big Four.” Yet, for whatever reason, there was no Record or Song of the Year for “Mirrors,” no Album of the Year for The 20/20 Experience; instead, his noms were spread mainly across the pop and R&B fields. His shutout in the marquee categories is just plain weird.
Lady Gaga: I know what you’re thinking. “How are Gaga’s zero nominations not a bigger deal?” Well, mostly because she missed the eligibility period with ARTPOP. And though “Applause” technically was released in August, a month before this year’s cutoff date, she didn’t have much time to gain momentum and sway voters. Still, a pop nomination or two didn’t seem out of the question, but cheer up, Little Monsters, maybe she’ll get her due at next year’s nominations.
One Direction: Sorry, kids, still no love for the greatest group EVERRRRRRR. Despite having two of the year’s best-selling singles and one of the year’s biggest album debuts, 1D still couldn’t convince voters, who shut them out once again . Not even a token Best New Artist nod (even James Blake got one of those) for the lads. Sometimes life isn’t fair.
Other artists with bones to pick with voters: Kanye West, who’s never happy with anything, but was probably pissed Yeezus walked with only two noms, one of which wasn’t Album of The Year, Taylor Swift, who did get an AOTY nod for Red but was blanked in everything else outside of the country categories, Imagine Dragons and Lorde, neither of whom got a Best New Artist nod (though they did represent in Record and Song of the Year), and Robin Thicke, who’s massive “Blurred Lines” only got two nominations.