This year’s Grammy Award nominations were announced two weeks ago. While several expected acts emerged with nominations, including Ariana Grande, Lizzo, and Taylor Swift, several other acts remained on the outskirts looking in, including Ed Sheeran. In the history of the Grammy Awards, the voting ballads have not gone without its controversies over the year. Below are some of the largest snubs in the history of the Grammy Awards where nominees were robbed from prizes, or folks were not nominated for their acclaimed contributions whatsoever.
Kanye West, 2008
For the third time in his career, West was nominated for the acclaimed Album of the Year award. After both he and Mariah Carey lost out in 2005 for their favored “Late Registration” and “The Emancipation of Mimi” albums, many thought that 2008 would be the year that the awards show FINALLY got it right for a man beyond worthy of the award and his bodies of work. Just as he did in 2006, West walked out without the Grammy Award, though he was believed to have the best album of 2007. West has not returned to the awards show since the incident occurred, though he did receive the award for Best Rap Album in 2012 for “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy”.
Gwen Stefani, 2006
After soaring as the frontwoman of punk rock group, No Doubt, Gwen Stefani took herself to the forefront with one of 2005’s most anticipated releases, “Love Angel Music Baby”. The album saw the success of Stefani due to major singles “Rich Girl” and #1 single, “Hollaback Girl”. So when the night came in 2006 to determine the greatest night in music, she was a prime favorite to take home some of the top prizes. With a very stacked nominee list for Album, Record, and Song of the Year, many anticipated Stefani would at least take home some prizes in the pop category. However, she was completely shut out and walked out with nothing.
Ed Sheeran, 2020
As one of the most gifted songwriters and musicians in pop music today, many anticipated that Ed Sheeran’s career would see him continue to ride high at the Grammy Awards after his 2019 “Collaborations 6” album. While there was a heavy field for the top categories this year, Sheeran was at least expected to be a favorite in the pop and contemporary fields. Instead, as a nominee, he found himself completely shutout.
Kendrick Lamar, 2013
To say Macklemore and Ryan Lewis had one of the greatest runs in music from 2011-2013 is an understatement. The duo was unstoppable and put out some of the top hits from that two year range. So it came to no one’s surprise that the album was nominated for Album of the Year at the 2013 Grammy Awards. What was a surprise, however, was that the album outlasted Kendrick Lamar’s “Maad City” album. Lamar was widely expected to excel as a critical favorite. The victory was certainly accepted, but Macklemore certainly let it be known that he felt Lamar was worthy of the prize for Best Rap Album. Lamar would see himself nominated in the category three times later for 2017’s “Damn”, 2015’s “To Pimp a Butterfly”, and the “Black Panther” Soundtrack — losing each time.
Mariah Carey, 1996 & 1998
No artist has been shunned out at the Grammy Awards in recent memory than Mariah Carey. Even with the acclaimed “Caution” of 2018, which was considered one of the best albums of the year by many publications, she received no nominations. In 2006, while she won three Grammy Awards in the R&B category, she didn’t win Song, Record, or Album of the Year, though “We Belong Together” and its’ parent album, “The Emancipation of Mimi” were considered the best of 2005. However, in 1996, Carey was nominated for six Grammy Awards, including Record and Album of the Year. The largely popular singles, “Fantasy”, “Always Be My Baby”, and “One Sweet Day”, were among the biggest hits of the year. The album “Daydream” was cited as the best album of the entire year.
However, when the night ended, Carey won neither of the six awards and was the main attraction on television with her growing disappointment. In 1998, after releasing what’s considered her greatest album to date, “Butterfly”, Carey was only nominated for three Grammy Awards limited to the R&B category. She would walk out with no awards. Following the disappointment of her run, she was absent from the show for ten years, despite receiving winless nominations in 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, and 2003.