The interim chief of the Grammy Awards, Harvey Mason Jr., has denied any connection to failed negotiations for The Weeknd to perform at this year’s ceremony and nomination gripes by Justin Bieber and Teyana Taylor, toofab.com reports.
This year’s Grammy Award nominations have already stirred up more noise than any in recent memory; so much so that interim chief Harvey Mason Jr. felt the need to publicly respond to The Weeknd calling the whole process out for “corruption.”
The R&B superstar’s comments came after he was shockingly shut out from any nominations during Tuesday’s announcement, despite having one of the most critically acclaimed and commercially successful albums of the year.
Citing growing competition in all genres, with an astounding 23,000 record entries per an interview with Variety, Mason said, “We understand that The Weeknd is disappointed at not being nominated. I was surprised and can empathize with what he’s feeling.
“His music this year was excellent, and his contributions to the music community and broader world are worthy of everyone’s admiration.”
Mason is also denying a report by TMZ that Grammy brass effectively gave The Weeknd an ultimatum which is to either perform at the Grammys or the Super Bowl.
The two events are set for back-to-back weekends on CBS January 31 and February 7.
Negotiations to have him perform at the Grammys were reportedly contentious, with sources “suspicious” the failed talks might have had something to do with The Weeknd’s total nomination shutout.
Mason, however, says it’s not so, emphasizing that “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.”
Further, he insists, “We were thrilled when we found out he would be performing at the upcoming Super Bowl and we would have loved to have him also perform on the Grammy stage the weekend before.”
But The Weeknd wasn’t the only star speaking out after the oft-surprising nominations.
“The Grammys remain corrupt,” he posted to his Instagram page. “You owe me, my fans and the entire industry transparency.”
Justin Bieber was frustrated but appreciative to have been nominated in pop music categories when he “set out to make an R&B album” with his release, “Changes.”
“I am flattered to be acknowledged and appreciated for my artistry. I am very meticulous and intentional about my music,” he said on Instagram. “‘Changes’ was and is an R&B album. It is not being acknowledged as an R&B album, which is very strange to me.”
While breaking down all the ways the album should have been acknowledged as an R&B release, by his reckoning, Bieber nevertheless concluded his thoughts, “My gratitude for feeling respected for my work remains and I am honoured to be nominated either way.”
While looking at the Best R&B Album category, Teyana Taylor suggested the Academy should just change it to ‘Best Male R&B Album’ “because all I see is d–k in this category” as all five nominees are male.
At the same time, the reverse was true in two key categories where women are often overlooked and underrepresented. All five acts nominated for the country album were either female solo artists or bands with primary female vocalists.
Women also took four of five nominations in the best country song and country solo performance categories, which is a huge testament for a genre that still talks within itself about needing stronger female representation, airplay and support.
The same thing happened on the rock side, as all six nominees for best rock performance were women or have a woman lead vocalist, while they scored three of five nominations in the categories of the best rock song and best alternative album.
“The 63rd Annual Grammy Awards” are sure to stir up even more controversy when the awards themselves are handed out January 31.