2021 Grammy nominations: the awards haven’t even happened yet, and already they’re causing controversy

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Anna Brech
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Beyoncé at the BBC on BBC Two

Beyoncé, Dua Lipa and Taylor Swift have swept the board in the 2021 Grammy nominations; but snubs for Nicki Minaj and The Weeknd are already causing controversy. Come see who’s up for what.      

With the Brit Awards under fire for failing to recognise female nominees earlier this year, all eyes are on whether the Grammys can do better. And, with 2021 nominations for the industry’s biggest awards ceremony just released, it seems that some of the world’s biggest female artists have indeed been given the credit they deserve.

Beyoncé, Dua Lipa and Taylor Swift dominated shortlists for next year’s Grammys, with a combined 21 nominations across all major music categories. This marks a new record for Beyoncé, who racked up the most amount of Grammy nominations for 2021 (she’s up for nine awards). The singer is already the most decorated Grammy artist of all-time. Meanwhile, Grammy nominations in the rock and country music categories for 2021 featured all-female lineups for the first time. 

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Not every artist got recognised in the way that they should, however. With smash-hit records to their names, both Nicki Minaj and The Weeknd could have expected to make a Grammy mention; but neither were included. Catch up on all the major talking points, and who got nominated for what, below.

Beyoncé, Dua Lipa and Taylor Swift lead nominations

Already riding high as the most Grammy-nominated female artist of all time, Beyoncé extended her winning streak in the 2021 shortlist. The Black Parade singer clocked up no less than nine nominations for next year’s awards – the most of any artist mentioned. This included two nods in the record of the year category, for Black Parade and her remix of Savage by Megan Thee Stallion (who herself is a contender for the best new artist title). Black Parade also made the song of the year shortlist.

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Meanwhile Taylor Swift picked up six Grammy nominations, mostly for her work on Folklore. Dua Lipa also scooped six mentions for her work on Future Nostalgia, including nominations in the coveted album, record and song of the year categories. Following her runaway success at this year’s Grammys, Billie Eilish picked up a further four nominations for 2021, including for her James Bond soundtrack No Time To Die.

People are angry about Nicki Minaj being snubbed

With over 100 Billboard hits to her name, including 17 in the top 10, Nicki Minaj is a major cross-genre talent in the music world; but she was missed off the 2021 Grammys nominations entirely. The rapper tweeted about her snub after the nominations were released yesterday, saying: “Never forget the Grammys didn’t give me my best new artist award when I had 7 songs simultaneously charting on Billboard and bigger first week than any female rapper in the last decade – went on to inspire a generation. They gave it to the white man Bon Iver. “ 

The glaring omission came after Minaj revealed that she was “bullied into staying quiet” over her lack of Grammy wins last year, following a fallout with the show’s executive producer Ken Ehrlich. With insult added to injury this week, Minaj’s fan base of over 21 million followers on Twitter were quick to share her outrage.

The Weeknd slams the Grammys as corrupt    

Another artist who failed to get the credit he deserved in this latest round of Grammy nominations is R&B star The Weeknd.

Fresh from three wins at the 2020 American Music Awards, the singer was also recently announced as halftime performer for the 2021 Super Bowl. His critically acclaimed album After Hours, including the hit song Blinding Lights, dominated charts both here and in the US for weeks; but somehow didn’t make the 2021 Grammys shortlist. 

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Responding to the snub in a tweet, The Weeknd said the Grammys were corrupt and called for transparency. Bob Dylan also missed out on a Grammy nomination, despite his return to songwriting after an eight-year hiatus this year with the album Rough and Rowdy Ways 

All-female lineups make a moment of history

With female artists dominating the top awards, the 2021 Grammy nominations also heralded an important landmark for women in music more generally. For the first time ever, all-female lineups appeared in the best country album and best rock performance categories. 

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Female rock stars who made the cut in a genre that’s traditionally fetishized men (think the iconic status of David Bowie or Kurt Cobain) include Fiona Apple, Big Thief led by Adrianne Lenker and Phoebe Bridgers. HAIM, Brittany Howard and Grace Potter are also in the running. In the best country album shortlist, Ingrid Andress’ Ladylike is up against Brandy Clark’s Your Life Is a Record, Miranda Lambert’s Wildcard, Little Big Town’s Nightfall and Ashley McBryde’s Never Will.

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The 2021 Grammy nominations: major category shortlists

Come take a look at 2021 Grammy nominations across all the major categories, below, and raise a glass to the many female contenders. For those who’ll be tuning in, winners will be announced at the 2021 ceremony, taking place in LA on 31 January.

Record of the year

Beyoncé – Black Parade

Black Pumas – Colors

DaBaby – Rockstar (feat Roddy Ricch)

Doja Cat – Say So

Billie Eilish – Everything I Wanted

Dua Lipa – Don’t Start Now

Post Malone – Circles

Megan Thee Stallion – Savage (remix feat Beyoncé)

Album of the year

Jhené Aiko – Chilombo

Black Pumas – Black Pumas (deluxe edition)

Coldplay – Everyday Life

Jacob Collier – Djesse Vol 3

Haim – Women in Music Pt III

Dua Lipa – Future Nostalgia

Post Malone – Hollywood’s Bleeding

Taylor Swift – Folklore

Song of the year

Beyonce – Black Parade

Roddy Ricch – The Box

Taylor Swift – Cardigan

Post Malone – Circles

Dua Lipa – Don’t Start Now

Billie Eilish – Everything I Wanted

HER – I Can’t Breathe

JP Saxe – If the World Was Ending (feat Julia Michaels)

Best new artist

Ingrid Andress

Phoebe Bridgers


Noah Cyrus

D Smoke

Doja Cat


Megan Thee Stallion

Best pop solo performance

Justin Bieber – Yummy

Doja Cat – Say So

Billie Eilish – Everything I Wanted

Dua Lipa – Don’t Start Now

Harry Styles – Watermelon Sugar

Taylor Swift – Cardigan

Best Pop duo/group performance

J Balvin, Dua Lipa, Bad Bunny and Tainy – Un Dia (One Day)

Justin Bieber – Intentions (feat Quavo)

BTS – Dynamite

Lady Gaga with Ariana Grande – Rain on Me

Taylor Swift – Exile (feat Bon Iver)

Images: Getty

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Anna Brech

Anna Brech is a freelance journalist and former editor for stylist.co.uk. Her six-year stint on the site saw her develop a vociferous appetite for live Analytics, feminist opinion and good-quality gin in roughly equal measure. She enjoys writing across all areas of women’s lifestyle content but has a soft spot for books and escapist travel content.