The 20 biggest snubs from the 2021 Grammy nominations

grammys 2021 snubs

  • The 2021 Grammy Awards nominations were announced on Tuesday.
  • Fiona Apple, Bad Bunny, BTS, and Phoebe Bridgers were all snubbed in major categories.
  • Some of the year's best albums, like The Weeknd's "After Hours" and Halsey's "Manic," were completely ignored.
  • BLACKPINK, Ashe, BENEE, and FINNEAS all deserved to be nominated for best new artist, but none were.
  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

Nominations for the 2021 Grammy Awards were announced on Tuesday.

The 63rd annual ceremony will honor music released within the eligibility period, from September 1, 2019 to August 31, 2020. The show will be broadcast live on January 31, 2021 at 8 p.m. ET on CBS.

Standout nominees this year include Beyoncé, who leads the pack thanks to "Black Is King" and "Black Parade," Taylor Swift, whose "Folklore" already feels like the album of the year, Dua Lipa, and Megan Thee Stallion.

There's plenty to celebrate about this year's (largely female) array of potential winners — but, as usual, there were hit songs, renowned artists, and beloved albums that were left neglected.

Keep reading to see Insider's picks for the 20 biggest snubs, in no particular order.

Fiona Apple's "Fetch the Bolt Cutters" probably should have won album of the year, but it wasn't even nominated.

"Fetch the Bolt Cutters" is easily one of the best albums of the year, if not the past several years.

It was universally described as a career-topping, unbounded masterpiece from one of music's greatest songwriters; it has the highest Metacritic rating of any 2020 album with 98/100.

It's also deeply beloved by fans and would've easily been a frontrunner for album of the year, rivaled only by Taylor Swift's "Folklore."

Tragically, Fiona Apple received just three nominations this year: best alternative music album, and best rock song and performance for "Shameika." 

The Weeknd should have been a frontrunner in all three major categories.

This may be one of the most embarrassing moments in Grammys history. The Weeknd should have led the nominations in a variety of genres, from pop ("In Your Eyes") to rap ("Snowchild") and R&B ("Heartless") — and especially the big three categories. 

"Blinding Lights" shouldn't have simply been nominated for record of the year; it should've won. It deserved a nomination for song of the year, too.

And "After Hours" certainly deserved an album of the year nomination, more than nearly every actual nominee.

That The Weeknd wasn't nominated for anything at all is the Recording Academy's most egregious oversight in recent memory.

Halsey's outstanding third album "Manic" was completely neglected.

"Manic" is a stunning portrait of a complicated, fearless woman, and frankly deserved a nod for album of the year. The deliciously vicious single "You Should Be Sad" could have been a major contender in either country or pop categories. 

As Halsey predicted, however, she was completely shut out of the nominations — much like last year, when "Without Me" deserved song and record of the year acknowledgment.

Bad Bunny's "YHLQMDLG" deserved a nomination for album of the year.

Bad Bunny's "YHLQMDLG" was predictably relegated to best Latin pop or urban album (so much for the Grammys getting rid of the term "urban," huh?), despite proving how iconic and indispensable his artistry is. 

Bad Bunny did manage to net a second nomination for "Un Día," his collaboration with J Balvin, Dua Lipa, and Tainy. But his album's exceptional singles, including "Vete," "La Difícil," and "Yo Perreo Sola," could have competed in pop categories. (Personally, I would've given "Yo Perreo Sola" a nod for record of the year.)

Phoebe Bridgers got her due in rock categories, but "Punisher" would have been a worthy contender for album of the year.

You may be sensing a pattern in this list. The 2021 album of the year contenders are frankly baffling, save for Swift's "Folklore" and perhaps Lipa's "Future Nostalgia."

Phoebe Bridgers is one of the more surprising snubs. Her sophomore album, "Punisher," was praised by a wide array of music lovers, transcending genre preferences and generations.

"Punisher" was thankfully nominated for best alternative music album, in addition to best rock song and performance nods for "Kyoto."

Bridgers was even nominated for best new artist, which is well deserved. But album of the year recognition would have been, too.

"Lose You to Love Me" by Selena Gomez should have been nominated for song of the year, or record of the year, or both.

Perhaps the Recording Academy forgot what a moment Selena Gomez created when she dropped "Lose You to Love Me" in late 2019.

It's easily her most well-written, emotionally stirring song to date, and a powerful breakup ballad has perfect song of the year potential.

Given the single's brilliantly textured production from Mattman & Robin and Finneas O'Connell, it could have competed for record of the year as well.

Instead, Gomez was completely brushed aside and received zero nominations.

"Rain on Me" seemed like a natural choice for record of the year.

"Rain on Me" is one of the year's most beloved songs, and given its exultant themes of sisterhood and triumph over trauma, it deserved recognition in at least one of the major Grammys categories.

Instead, Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande received a consolation nod for best pop duo/group performance.

BLACKPINK deserved a nomination for best new artist.

BLACKPINK's glossy debut album was released after the Grammys cutoff and thus ineligible for the 2021 ceremony — but that doesn't mean the K-pop quartet didn't have a banner breakout year. 

From "How You Like That" to their Gomez collaboration "Ice Cream," the girls of BLACKPINK spent 2020 establishing themselves as leading forces in pop music.

Of course, fans have known that for many years, but the Grammys have always been slow to catch up. They were eligible for best new artist this year, and seemed like an obvious choice — not just for a nomination, but possibly for a victory.

Instead, BLACKPINK was entirely ignored by the Recording Academy.

Aminé's "Limbo" should have been nominated for best rap album, at the very least.

Beyond the narrow definition of rap, Aminé boasts one of the best albums of 2020.

"Limbo" should have been a major presence in multiple categories, from best R&B song ("Easy" featuring Summer Walker), best rap song ("Woodlawn"), and best melodic rap performance ("Compensating" featuring Young Thug) to best rap album.

In fact, I would have considered "Limbo" the rightful winner in that category, rivaled only by Jay Electronica's "A Written Testimony."

But in a shameful turn of events, Aminé received just one nomination this year — and it was for a feature on someone else's song (Disclosure's "My High").

"Dynamite" by BTS was a smash hit, but ignored in major categories.

In a just and fair world, the biggest band on the planet would be a major presence at the 2021 Grammy Awards.

"On" would have been nominated for record of the year, "Black Swan" would have been nominated for song of the year, and "Map of the Soul: 7" would have been nominated for best pop vocal album.

But we live in a stubborn, tunnel-visioned world that embraced "Dynamite," BTS' first all-English single. Better late than never, I guess!

So, naturally, BTS would have submitted "Dynamite" for record and song of the year. And even though it's not the band's best song, it definitely deserved to compete for record of the year, given its irresistible melody and euphoric reception.

Instead, the song received a solitary nod for best pop duo/group performance, which feels blatantly inadequate.

Despite universal acclaim for her debut album, Rina Sawayama wasn't nominated for anything.

After the fiasco with the Mercury Prize back in July, it would've been nice to see Rina Sawayama finally get her due for "Sawayama," an ambitious and captivating debut. 

It garnered universal critical acclaim and has a Metacritic score of 89/100, which is higher than several nominees for album of the year. (I, myself, have praised "Sawayama" as "an astonishing blend of early 2000s emo rock and bubblegum pop.")

Indeed, the British pop star could have netted a veritable feast of nominations: "XS" for record and song of the year, or at least best pop solo performance; "STFU!" for best rock song or performance; and certainly "Sawayama" for best alternative album.

Instead, Sawayama received no recognition at all. 

Ashe should have been nominated for best new artist, or perhaps even song of the year.

Singer-songwriter Ashe landed on the Billboard Hot 100 for the first time in March. She had a massive breakout year, largely thanks to "Moral of the Story," whose shrewdly specific lyrics make it song of the year gold.

The 2019 single, which shot up the charts after being featured in Netflix's "To All the Boys I've Loved Before" sequel, recently got another awareness boost when Niall Horan hopped on a remix.

Ashe has all the makings of a best new artist nominee, and yet, she didn't receive any recognition from the Recording Academy.

We can only hope that "Save Myself" meets a better fate next year.

BENEE had one of 2020's biggest and best hits, but "Supalonely" was paid dust.

"Supalonely" is a poignant meditation on inadequacy, disguised as TikTok choreography bait. Thanks to Gen Z stars like Charli D'Amelio, the song burst into our collective consciousness — and unlike many earworms throughout history, this one actually deserves to be there.

The weirdo pop gem definitely deserved a Grammys nod, at least for best pop solo performance, if not record of the year.

On top of that, BENEE would've been a natural fit for best new artist. But she is nowhere to be found on the list of nominees. 

JoJo made one of the year's best R&B albums, but she received zero nominations.

JoJo shot to fame as a teenager, but she finally grew into her soulful voice on "Good to Know," a stunningly mature album that she described as a "delicious journey."

JoJo wasn't nominated for any Grammys this year, even though she would've been a great fit in multiple categories: best R&B song and performance for "Think About You" and best R&B album, at least.

Kehlani's "It Was Good Until It Wasn't" was also snubbed in R&B categories.

"It Was Good Until It Wasn't" would've been a frontrunner for best R&B album, if it had been nominated for anything at all.

For some reason, the Grammys ignored Kehlani this year, even though her sophomore album is one of the most compelling, confident, and vocally exquisite releases this year. 

FINNEAS deserved a nomination for best new artist.

Finneas O'Connell already has five Grammy Awards, and could win four more this year: He cowrote and produced Billie Eilish's "Everything I Wanted" which is nominated for best pop solo performance, record and song of the year, plus "No Time to Die," which is nominated for best song written for visual media.

Now, I know that doesn't sound like a snub. But as the solo artist FINNEAS, O'Connell has had zero recognition from the Grammys.

While it's true that O'Connell has said repeatedly that he doesn't mind being known as "Billie Eilish's brother," his debut EP "Blood Harmony" is truly stunning, and he should've been a no-brainer for best new artist this year.

Music legend and Grammys darling Bob Dylan received zero nominations.

"Rough and Rowdy Ways" is classic Bob Dylan, which automatically makes it a classic Americana album. It's also one of his most critically acclaimed albums in recent memory, with an astonishing Metacritic score of 95/100.

Many thought "Rough and Rowdy Ways" was a shoo-in for an album of the year nomination, and its centerpiece track — a 17-minute epic inspired by the JFK assassination — was considered a frontrunner for song of the year.

Instead, in a stunning twist for a voting body that typically favors entrenched white men, Dylan was completely overlooked.

Kelsea Ballerini was ignored in country categories,

Women dominated the best country album category this year, but one noticeably missing woman is Kelsea Ballerini, whose "Kelsea" is a lovely display of confessional songwriting and rustic-pop sounds.

The 1975 deserved at least one nomination for "Notes on a Conditional Form."

"Notes on a Conditional Form" is long and occasionally tedious, but the album's brightest spots are Grammy-winning material.

Perhaps the voters didn't know what to do with them? Much of The 1975's music is poppy, but the Grammys would never pit them against artists like Dua Lipa or Harry Styles.

"The Birthday Party," "Tonight (I Wish I Was Your Boy)," and "If You're Too Shy (Let Me Know)" are all potential "best alternative song" victors, if such a category existed. (Best alternative music performance has existed in the past, but is nowhere to be found on this year's list.)

"People" could compete for best rock song, but then, where does "Notes" go as a whole? Alternative or rock? It shouldn't matter, but it might have affected the band's chances.

Nevertheless, The 1975 certainly received at least one nomination — something, anything, to acknowledge their fourth acclaimed album.

Lil Uzi Vert didn't get any love for "Eternal Atake."

Many people thought "Eternal Atake" could earn an album of the year nomination — or a best rap album nomination, at the very least.

But instead, Lil Uzi Vert was left out of this year's ceremony, despite the thrilling chaos of his long-awaited sophomore album.

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