Last-Minute Grammy Nominee Expansions Added Taylor Swift and Kanye to Top Categories (Report)

Recording Academy chief denies this was due to ratings concerns, New York Times reports

Taylor Swift performing at Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
Getty Images

When the the last-minute expansion of the 2022 Grammy’s top four categories from eight to 10 total nominees was announced, Recording Academy boss Harvey Mason Jr. said the movie was intended “to make room for more artists and genres from music’s expansive and diverse landscape, and to embrace the spirit of inclusion.”

But in a new report by the New York Times on Wednesday night, what actually happened is that the expansion made room instead for some of the biggest names in music.

According to the Times, the last-minute rule change resulted in Kanye West and Taylor Swift being added as nominees in the Album of the Year category. Meanwhile, ABBA and Little Nas X ended up joining the Record of the Year category.

The Times said it identified the artists that benefited from the rule change “because their names were absent from an early version of the ‘final nominations list’ that had been created several days before the announcement and included only eight names in those categories.”

According to the Times, it had obtained an early version of nominees that had been leaked ahead of the formal announcement Tuesday morning.

TheWrap has reached out to the Recording Academy for comment. According to the Times, Mason denied that any ratings concerns affected the nominations and that anyone added to the list were the 9th and 10th most-voted on artists.

The rule change was decided on at literally the last minute, during a meeting of Recording Academy leaders the night before the 2022 nominees were announced on Tuesday morning. Song of the Year, Record of the Year, Album of the Year and Best New Artist will now all feature 10 nominees, up from eight in past years.

The rule change follows a tumultuous couple of years for the organization. The group has always been mocked for frequent, out-of-touch nominees and winners, but that criticism increased after the secretive Grammy nomination system produced results that, increasingly, didn’t reflect the actual tastes of the music listening public and resulted in some fairly embarrassing snubs.

Most recently, The Weeknd wasn’t nominated for a single Grammy for his hugely successful 2020 album “After Hours” and vowed to boycott the “corrupt” awards moving forward. (He earned three nominations this year, as a featured artist on other musicians’ work.) And back in 2017, in her acceptance speech Adele publicly called out the Grammy voters for giving her album “25” Album of the Year instead of Beyoncé’s “Lemonade.”