The Grammy Awards vows to take a 'hard look' to improve following The Weeknd’s boycott

Hosted by Trevor Noah, the ceremony will take place on Sunday without an audience

The Weeknd accepts the award for Best R&B during the 2020 MTV VMAs. Despite the success of latest album 'After Hours' and single 'Blinding Lights,' he was not nominated for the 2021 Grammy Awards held on March 14. Viacom
The Weeknd accepts the award for Best R&B during the 2020 MTV VMAs. Despite the success of latest album 'After Hours' and single 'Blinding Lights,' he was not nominated for the 2021 Grammy Awards held on March 14. Viacom

The Grammy Awards will go through another bout of soul searching following The Weeknd's intention to boycott the event in the future.

The move is in response to the Canadian RnB singer lashing out at the competition for locking him out of the nominees list for Sunday’s ceremony, despite his album After Hours and single Blinding Lights dominating the US charts over the last 12 months.

Harvey Mason Jr, the interim chief executive of the Recording Academy, which runs the award, said the organisation will launch a review into its processes.

“We’re all disappointed when anyone is upset,” Mason told The New York Times. “But I will say that we are constantly evolving. And this year, as in past years, we are going to take a hard look at how to improve our awards process, including the nomination review committees.”

The same old song

While it's unclear what these changes entail, pleas to improve have become a familiar refrain from Grammy Awards organisers.

In the face of dwindling television ratings and mounting controversies, a number of leading artists have accused the ceremony of being non-inclusive and irrelevant.

A particular flash point is the award's alleged mistreatment of African-American artists and hip-hop and RnB genres over the years.

In the awards recent history, the trail of perceived slights includes the likes of stars and hot favourites Beyonce, Kanye West, Kendrick Lamar and Drake missing out on major awards such as Song of the Year and Album of the Year.

This eventually pushed RnB darling Frank Ocean to not submit his critically lauded album Blonde for Grammy consideration in 2016, labelling the event “dated.”

While the Grammys eventually responded by expanding the diversity of its membership and setting up new and relevant award committees, the push back continued in 2019 with Drake criticising the award on stage and Childish Gambino not attending the ceremony where he became the first hip-hop artist to win Song of the Year for This Is America.

Who will the win?

Despite The Weeknd’s omission this year, the ceremony is full of tantalising prospects.

Held without an audience in Los Angeles and hosted by comedian Trevor Noah, the industry's biggest night is shaping up to be a pop music battle royale with Beyonce leading the list with nine nominations, followed by Dua Lipa, Taylor Swift and Roddy Ricch with six nominations each.

The trio are all up for the prestigious Record of the Year award.

The full list of performers and nominees is available on the Grammy Awards website.

Updated: March 14, 2021 11:06 AM

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