The Weeknd has broken his silence.
On Tuesday night, the XO singer took to Twitter to address his shocking Grammy Awards shutout. The Weeknd made an accusation of corruption, and then called on the Recording Academy to be more transparent in their process, suggesting there were unknown factors that led to his After Hours snub.
"The Grammys remain corrupt," he wrote. "You owe me, my fans and the industry transparency."
The Grammys remain corrupt. You owe me, my fans and the industry transparency...
— The Weeknd (@theweeknd) November 25, 2020
The fact that After Hours—a chart-topping, critically acclaimed project—failed to secure a single nomination left many fans confused and frustrated. However, the Recording Academy's interim president/CEO Harvey Mason Jr. insisted there was no hidden agenda, and said the votes for After Hours simply weren't there.
"For The Weeknd, in every year you only have a certain amount of people you can nominate for each category," he told Variety following the nomination announcements. "... There, there's no 'let's snub this person' or that person. It's about. 'Let’s try and find excellence.' Also, you have to remember that committee can't vote on something that's not there."
According to TMZ, The Weeknd's snub may have been connected to his forthcoming Super Bowl halftime show performance. Sources tell the outlet The Weeknd was in talks to perform at the 2021 Grammys, but the negotiations became "testy" after the Recording Academy pressured the singer to chose between the halftime performance or a Grammys performance. Insiders claim the parties eventually came to an agreement, but the talks became so tense that the Academy brass was left "pissed off," which might've cost the XO artist the Grammy nods.
Though it's unclear why the Academy would allegedly issue the ultimatum, there's suspicion that it was all due to exclusivity. The 63rd Annual Grammy Awards will air on Jan. 31 on CBS, and the Super Bowl LV will air on the same network in the following week.
Shortly after The Weeknd's tweet, Mason addressed the corruption allegation in a statement to Variety. He told the outlet that the "Blinding Lights" singer was originally expected to perform at both the Grammys and Super Bowl, but denied that the discussions regarding the latter gig had anything to do with his lack of nominations.
"... There were a record number of submissions in this unusual and competitive year," Mason stated. "We understand that The Weeknd is disappointed at not being nominated. I was surprised and can empathize with what he’s feeling. His music this year was excellent, and his contributions to the music community and broader world are worthy of everyone’s admiration. We were thrilled when we found out he would be performing at the upcoming Super Bowl and we would have loved to have him also perform on the Grammy stage the weekend before. Unfortunately, every year, there are fewer nominations than the number of deserving artists. But as the only peer-voted music award, we will continue to recognize and celebrate excellence in music while shining a light on the many amazing artists that make up our global community. To be clear, voting in all categories ended well before The Weeknd’s performance at the Super Bowl was announced, so in no way could it have affected the nomination process."
He concluded: "All Grammy nominees are recognized by the voting body for their excellence, and we congratulate them all."
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