Following a tumultuous week of headline-grabbing accusations and counterclaims between The Recording Academy and its ousted president, the 62nd Grammy Awards will go on as scheduled Sunday night at Staples Center, with singer-rapper Lizzo leading the way with eight nominations.
Lizzo and 18-year-old goth songstress Billie Eilish are both nominated in all four of the top Grammy categories — Album, Record and Song of the Year and Best New Artist. It’s the first time in the history of the Grammy Awards that two artists have been nominated in all four of those categories in the same year. The only artist to win all four of the prizes in the same year is Christopher Cross, who pulled it off in 1981.
Eilish and rapper Lil Nax X each have six nominations overall.
Lizzo is nominated in the Album of the Year category for “Cuz I Love You (Deluxe),” while Eilish’s “When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?” and Lil Nas X’s “7” earned them nominations. Joining them in the category are Bon Iver for “I,I,” Lana Del Rey for “Norman F*****g Rockwell,” Ariana Grande for “Thank U, Next,” H.E.R. for “I Used to Know Her” and Vampire Weekend for “Father of the Bride.”
Arguably the year’s biggest hit, the Lil Nas X-Billy Ray Cyrus collaboration “Old Town Road” leads the list of nominees for Record of the Year, while Lizzo is nominated for “Truth Hurts” and Eilish for “Bad Guy.” Also vying for the honor will be Bon Iver for “Hey, Ma,” Grande for “7 Rings,” H.E.R. for “Hard Place, Khalid for “Talk” and Post Malone and Swae Lee for “Sunflower.”
Nominees for Song of the Year — which honors the songwriters — are Lady Gaga’s “Always Remember Us This Way,” Eilish’s “Bad Guy,” Tanya Tucker’s “Bring My Flowers Now,” H.E.R.’s “Hard Place,” Taylor Swift’s “Lover,” Lana Del Rey’s “Norman F*****g Rockwell,” Lewis Capaldi’s “Someone You Loved” and Lizzo’s “Truth Hurts.”
Vying with Lizzo, Eilish and Lil Nas X for Best New Artist are Black Pumas, Maggie Rogers, Rosalia, Tank and the Bangas and Yola.
The vast majority of the Grammy Awards will be presented during a pre-telecast ceremony beginning at 12:30 p.m. at the Microsoft Theater. But the biggest awards of the night will be handed out during the roughly 3 1/2-hour televised portion of the event from Staples Center.
Alicia Keys will host the telecast ceremony, which will feature the usual wide array of musical performances. Among those scheduled to perform are Brandi Carlile, Tanya Tucker, Camila Cabello, H.E.R., Common, BTS, Ariana Grande, the Jonas Brothers, Rosalia, Billie Eilish, Lizzo, Ariana Grande, Demi Lovato, Aerosmith, Charlie Wilson, Run-D.M.C. and Tyler, The Creator. Real-life couple Blake Shelton and Gwen Stefani will perform together.
Bonnie Raitt will pay tribute during the show to Lifetime Achievement Award recipient John Prine.
The show will also feature a tribute to the late rapper Nipsey Hussle, featuring John Legend, Meek Mill, DJ Khaled, Kirk Franklin and Roddy Ricch. Rapper YG is also scheduled to take part in the tribute, despite his arrest Friday by Los Angeles County sheriff’s detectives on suspicion of robbery.
Gary Clark Jr. will be joined by The Roots to perform Clark’s Grammy-nominated song “This Land.”
Preservation Hall Jazz Band and Trombone Shorty will perform during the “In Memoriam” segment, while Sheila E. and Usher will present a tribute to Prince. The show will also feature an all-star performance of “I Sing the Body Electric” from the movie “Fame.”
Billed as “Music’s Biggest Night,” the Grammy Awards will culminate a month that The Recording Academy would probably like to forget.
Deborah Dugan, the first woman to serve as president/CEO of the academy, was placed on leave in mid-January over what the academy called a misconduct allegation. Dugan, however, shot back by filing an explosive complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunities Commission, alleging she was being retaliated against for raising allegations of “egregious conflicts of interest, improper self-dealing by board members and voting irregularities with respect to nominations for Grammy Awards, all made possible by the `boys’ club’ mentality and approach to governance at the academy.”
Dugan also alleged that she was subjected to sexual harassment last year by the academy’s general counsel. She also claimed that former president/CEO Neil Portnow — who came under fire in 2018 for suggesting female artists need to “step up” if they wanted more recognition at the Grammys — was actually forced out due to a rape allegation.
Portnow vehemently denied the allegation. The academy issued a statement saying Dugan only came forward with her claims after a female academy employee filed a complaint against her, and that Dugan was placed on leave only after she demanded $22 million in exchange for her resignation.
“Our loyalty will always be to the 25,000 members of the recording industry,” according to the academy. “We regret that Music’s Biggest Night is being stolen from them by Ms. Dugan’s actions and we are working to resolve the matter as quickly as possible.”
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