Grammys Exec Admits That Even He ‘Was Surprised’ by The Weeknd Snub

The Recording Academy responded to The Weeknd calling the Grammy Awards “corrupt” after his critically acclaimed album After Hours failed to score any nominations at the 2021 ceremony.

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“We understand that The Weeknd is disappointed at not being nominated. I was surprised and can empathize with what he’s feeling,” the academy’s chair and interim president/CEO, Harvey Mason Jr., said in a statement to Rolling Stone on Tuesday, November 24. “His music this year was excellent, and his contributions to the music community and broader world are worthy of everyone’s admiration.”

While several commercially successful artists were snubbed of nominations on Tuesday, the Canada native, 30, was arguably the most surprising of the bunch. After Hours received the best reviews of his career and dominated streaming services after its March release. In addition, its second single, “Blinding Lights,” became the biggest hit in The Weeknd’s catalog, spending four weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

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The “In Your Eyes” singer slammed the Recording Academy via Twitter on Tuesday, writing, “The Grammys remain corrupt. You owe me, my fans and the industry transparency.” TMZ and Rolling Stone later reported that he allegedly had been given an ultimatum: perform at the 2021 Grammys in January or headline the Super Bowl LV halftime show the following month, both of which are set to air on CBS.

In his statement, Mason denied that the Super Bowl had anything to do with The Weeknd’s Grammy snub, pointing out that the entertainer had secured the NFL gig long before nominations came out.

“We would have loved to have him also perform on the Grammy stage the weekend before [the Super Bowl],” the executive said. “Unfortunately, every year, there are fewer nominations than the number of deserving artists. … To be clear, voting in all categories ended well before The Weeknd’s performance at the Super Bowl was announced, so in no way could it have affected the nomination process. All Grammy nominees are recognized by the voting body for their excellence, and we congratulate them all.”

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The Weeknd is already a three-time Grammy winner, with a total of 10 career nominations under his belt.

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