Where's Taylor Swift? The Biggest Surprises and Snubs of the 2019 Grammy Nominations
From the lack of love for Nicki Minaj to Mac Miller's posthumous nod, here's everything that shocked us about the 2019 Grammy nominations
The 2019 Grammy Awards nominations are out, and the verdict is in on the biggest surprises and snubs from the list.
Nominations were announced Friday morning, and as usual, some of them have fans either scratching their heads or unexpectedly jumping for joy.
SURPRISE: The Black Panther Soundtrack Was Nominated for Album of the Year
The Black Panther soundtrack — which was curated by Kendrick Lamar and includes cuts from the rapper, SZA, The Weeknd and others — is only the thirteenth movie soundtrack to receive an album of the year nod.
Only three soundtracks have won the top prize since 1959: O Brother, Where Art Thou (2002), Whitney Houston’s The Bodyguard (1994) and Saturday Night Fever (1979). Other previous nominees include: Breakfast at Tiffany’s, West Side Story, The Sound of Music, Dr. Zhivago, Star Wars, Grease, Flashdance, Beauty and the Beast and Waiting to Exhale.
Some fans may be wondering why another soundtrack — for A Star Is Born — didn’t receive a nomination when its lead single, “Shallow,” did. But the Lady Gaga-helmed album from the movie wasn’t released within the eligibility window, so it will likely be submitted for consideration for the 2020 Grammys.
SNUB: Nicki Minaj Was Completely Shut Out
This summer, Minaj released the strongest, most cohesive set of her career — but was completely shut out of the 61st Grammys. From her extreme spitting kills (see: the outro of “Barbie Dreams”) to the bevy of killer collaborators (Ariana Grande, Eminem, Lil Wayne), it’s shocking she didn’t at least receive a best rap album nod.
SURPRISE: The Backstreet Boys Earned Their First Nomination in 17 Years
After a brief respite to focus on their families, the boy band reassembled and released their summer hit “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart,” which nabbed a nod for best pop duo/group performance.
This is the eighth nomination for the act, which has never won a Grammy. They previously scored nominations for: “Shape of My Heart” (2002), “Show Me the Meaning of Being Lonely” (2001), Millennium (2001), “I Want It That Way” (2000) and best new artist (1999).
SNUB: Taylor Swift Only Received One Nomination — and It Wasn’t for Album of the Year
Swift’s 2017 pop behemoth Reputation was acclaimed by critics and beloved by fans, but it only scored one nomination, for best pop vocal album. The race for that Gramophone will be tight, as she’s nominated alongside five fellow powerhouses: Camila Cabello, Kelly Clarkson, Ariana Grande, Shawn Mendes and Pink.
Between its chart-topping prowess and near-perfect production, one would expect Reputation to receive a nod for album of the year, a title she’s won twice before (2010 for Fearless, 2016 for 1989). And it’s unclear if Swift’s camp submitted any tracks for the best pop solo performance category, but it’s a shame her smash “Delicate” didn’t receive any love — isn’t it, isn’t it, isn’t it?
SURPRISE: Fall Out Boy Scores Second-Ever Nomination
The pop-punk band received a nomination for best rock album for the January album Mania. FOB has released solid, genre-spanning albums for years, but this is the band’s first nod since 2006, when John Legend bested the group for best new artist.
The group — led by frontman Patrick Stump and bassist Pete Wentz — actually scrapped much of the original material for the album to record an almost entirely new one.
“It wasn’t bad, it was just okay — and as a band, we’ve always been like, ‘We’re moving forward, we haven’t done anniversary shows.’ If you’re gonna do that, you need to put out music that you feel is great, otherwise it’s like talking out of both sides of your mouth,” Wentz told PEOPLE in January. “So when we realized that, then the only alternative was to push the record back and make one we believe in. It was a good wakeup call to have.”
SNUB: The Grammys Didn’t Find Mean Girls Very Fetch
The Mean Girls musical — based on the classic 2004 teen comedy — led the 2018 Tony nominations with 12 nods … but received no Grammy nominations. The Band’s Visit, Carousel, Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert, My Fair Lady and Once on This Island are up for best musical theater album.
SURPRISE: Christina Aguilera’s Comeback Disc Picks Up Two Nods
Though performing only moderately on the global charts, Liberation — Xtina’s first album in six years — earned strong reviews for her trademark vocal gymnastics. On Friday the diva picked up two nominations for somewhat surprising categories: best pop duo/group performance for “Fall in Line” (her duet with Demi Lovato), and also best rap/sung performance for “Like I Do” featuring GoldLink.
SNUB: Carrie Underwood’s Cry Pretty Given the Cold Shoulder
Despite receiving big wins at the ACMs (where she took home the honor for vocal event of the year in April) and the CMAs (walking off with the female vocalist of the year award), Carrie Underwood did not receive any Grammy nominations for her album Cry Pretty, or the two singles: “Love Wins” and the title track.
SURPRISE: Maren Morris Is Recognized for an Elton John Cover
The country darling received a whopping five nominations, but most surprising is for “Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters,” Morris’s cover from the Elton John tribute album Restoration: Reimagining the Songs of Elton John and Bernie Taupin. The Texas native is also up for the Vince Gill duet “Dear Hate” (best country duo/group performance, best country song), as well as her soulful dance collab “The Middle” with Zedd and Grey (record of the year and best pop duo/group performance).
Including this year’s news, Morris has amassed 10 Grammy nominations; she won the best country solo performance award for her breakout single “My Church” in 2017, the same year she was up for best new artist and best country album.
SNUB: Travis Scott’s Attempt at Grammy Recognition Is Ignored
Ironically, Scott constructed his million-selling album Astroworld with the Recording Academy in mind. “A real driver on this album too was when we got snubbed for the Grammys in 2016,” Scott’s A&R told Rolling Stone. “We were like, man, are they not respecting us? That’s when it was like, ‘No, y’all got it f—ed up.’ We went back and wanted to make an album that was undeniable.” Despite the high caliber, genre-crossing cameos like Stevie Wonder and John Mayer — plus breakout singles like No. 1 “Sicko Mode,” the album failed to garner Grammy attention.
SNUB: The Greatest Showman Gets Lumped in with Compilation Soundtracks
Black Panther: The Album and “Shallow” from Lady Gaga’s Star Is Born both saw inclusion in the major categories, but despite selling a reported 1.7 million copies, the Hugh Jackman-driven collection was relegated to the decidedly less glamorous best compilation soundtrack grouping.
SURPRISE: Mac Miller Received His First Nod Posthumously
This is the first time the late rapper, who died of an accidental overdose in September at the age of 26, has been nominated for a Grammy. Miller’s August album, Swimming, is in the running for the best rap album along with those from Cardi B, Nipsey Hussle, Pusha T and Travis Scott.
With Miller’s ex-girlfriend Ariana Grande up for several awards, including best pop vocal album, it’s sure to be an emotional ceremony.
SNUB: No Love for Kesha’s RBG Biopic Anthem
Kesha penned “Hear Comes the Change,” a ’60s-inspired stomper demanding equality, for the upcoming Ruth Bader Ginsburg movie, On the Basis of Sex. With its universal plea and timeless vibe (hello, harmonica!), you’d expect a nod for best song written for visual media.
SURPRISE: Tiffany Haddish Is Nominated in the Same Category as a Former President
A pleasant surprise! The Girls Trip star deservedly earned a nod for best spoken word album for the audio version of her uproarious yet poignant memoir, The Last Black Unicorn. And she’s in good company, nominated alongside familiar faces including David Sedaris (Calypso), Questlove (Creative Quest) and Jimmy Carter (Faith – a Journey for All).
SNUB: Big Names Missing from the Big Four
The so-called Big Four categories (album of the year, song of the year, record of the year and best new artist) have traditionally played host to superstars with major label marquee releases. However, this time around, some A-listers are conspicuously absent. As previously mentioned, Taylor Swift’s Reputation went unrepresented, as did Ariana Grande’s Sweetener, and The Carters’ Everything Is Love.
SNUB: Sam Smith Fails to Replicate His Freshman Grammys Sweep
The British singer cemented his status as a neo-soul superstar at the 2015 Grammys, taking home four awards out of a possible six nominations for his ubiquitous smash “Stay with Me” and chart-topping LP, The Lonely Hour. Fans eagerly tuned in for his follow-up, November 2017’s The Thrill of it All, but the strong work failed to capture the same attention as his debut. Despite falling in the 2019 Grammy’s eligibility period, Smith’s name did not appear on the list of noms.
SURPRISE: Lady Gaga Nominated for a Joanne Track Re-Release
Gaga’s A Star Is Born duet with Bradley Cooper, “Shallow,” received plenty of recognition, but the six-time Grammy winner’s surprise nod was for a re-release of a track off her 2016 album Joanne, which was nominated for various awards at the 2018 show.
The newer piano version of “Joanne (Where Do You Think You’re Goin’?)” — which Gaga performed at the Grammys in January — is up for best pop solo performance.
Meanwhile, the Mark Ronson-co-written “Shallow” is nominated for record and song of the year, best pop duo/group performance and best song written for visual media. The full soundtrack for A Star Is Born, released in October, will be eligible for nomination for the 2020 Grammys.
SNUB: Lil Wayne Gets Denied
Despite dropping his long-awaited Tha Carter V — featuring an all-star cadre including Snoop Dogg, Nicki Minaj, Kendrick Lamar, Ashanti, Travis Scott and the late XXXTentacion — Weezy felt no love from the Recording Academy this year. The 36-year-old rapper was shut out of every category.
The 61st Grammy Awards will take place at Los Angeles’ Staples Center on Sunday, Feb. 10. The telecast will be broadcast live on CBS at 8 p.m. EST.