2014 Grammy Nominations: The Snubs and Surprises

Jay Z failed to get a nomination in any of the three major awards — while Miley was shut out all together

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Reuters / Lucy Nicholson

The 2014 Grammy nominees were announced on Friday night, during a concert event called the Grammy Nominations Concert Live!! Countdown To Music’s Biggest Night. The nominees included many usual suspects such including Taylor Swift, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis and Daft Punk — all of whom dominated the charts in 2013.

However, there were also some surprises in store for the 56th Grammy Awards, such as Sara Bareilles‘ nomination for Album of the Year, Kendrick Lamar’s ascendancy and the fact that up-and-comer Lorde was overlooked in the Best New Artist category.

Here are some of this year’s biggest Grammy snub and surprises:

Perhaps the most notable eye-opener was Sara Bareilles’ The Blessed Unrest earning a nom for Album of the Year. Even Bareilles was seemingly shocked by the announcement:

The inclusion of Bareilles’ fourth album —and her first in three years — meant that critical favorites and what some considered to be Grammy frontrunners such as Bruno Mars’ Unorthodox Jukebox or Lorde’s Pure Heroine were out of the running. The Blessed Unrest was lead by the single “Brave,” which was nominated for Best Pop Solo Performance up against Katy Perry’s “Roar,” a song that some have noted sounds remarkably similar.

Jay Z lead all artists with nine total nominations for his 2013 release Magna Carta…Holy Grail. But none of those nominations are in the so-called Big Three categories: Song of the Year, Album of the Year or Record of the Year, which may not be that surprising as even Jay seemed to consider the album fairly tepid, ranking it sixth in his personal assessment of his body of work.

Similarly, Justin Timberlake‘s critically acclaimed The 20/20 Experience and hit singles “Mirrors” and “Suit & Tie” were overlooked in the Song of the Year, Record of the Year and Album of the Year categories, despite raking in a huge haul of awards at the American Music Awards and his epic (or at least endless) VMA performance. Still, like Jay, JT doesn’t have much to complain about as he picked up seven nominations, including Best Pop Duo/Group Performance for “Suit & Tie,” an honor he shares with Jay Z.

We should brace ourselves for a new Kanye West rant soon, though. While “New Slaves” was nominated for Best Rap Song, and his critically-praised  Yeezus was nominated for Best Rap Album, it was shut out for Album of Year. This may be because West has been very vocal about his distaste for the awards show. Back in February, after the 55th annual Grammys, West said simply, “The Grammys can suck my d–k,” despite winning for taking home a number or awards.

Lorde, the 17-year old New Zealand native behind the hit song “Royals,” had a good night overall, snagging nominations in four categories, including Record of the Year and Song of the Year. Despite those accolades, she was overlooked in the Best New Artist category, which was one of the biggest surprises of the night.

But based on the inclusion of Ed Sheeran in the category, Lorde may have hopes of being nominated next year. Sheeran, whose debut album came out in 2011, has toured extensively with Taylor Swift, was nominated in the song of the year category last year for “The A Team” and even performed at last year’s Grammys alongside Elton John. Other nominees in the category included Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Kacey Musgraves and Kendrick Lamar.

The British soul-influenced electronic artist James Blake also earned an unlikely nod in the best new artist category at the Grammys, unlikely both because he is outside the mainstream artists usually nominated for the award and because on the strength of his sophomore album, he has played huge U.S. festivals like Coachella and Lollapalooza.

Another best new artist snub was Florida Georgia Line, the country-pop duo whose summer anthem “Cruise” was a massive hit. Despite their radio success, the group’s debut LP, Here’s To The Good Times, didn’t earn a Best Country Album nod with Jason Aldean’s Night Train, Tim McGraw’s Two Lanes of Freedom, Kacey Musgraves’ Same Trailer Different Park, Blake Shelton’s Based on a True Story and Taylor Swift Red taking the spots instead.

Another of the evening’s surprises was that neither of Miley Cyrus‘ chart-topping hits “We Can’t Stop” and “Wrecking Ball” made the cut for any awards. While her album, Bangerz, came out too late in the year for it to be eligible for consideration, both of her singles could have been nominated, but weren’t. Similarly, wildly popular acts like Justin Bieber, One Direction and Ariana Grande were overlooked by the Awards as well.

One of the evening’s nicer surprises was Kendrick Lamar’s seven nominations, including for Album of the Year for his instant classic Good Kid, m.a.a.d. city. Lamar was just one of the many strong hip-hop contenders this year, including Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Drake, Jay Z and Kanye. However J. Cole, who snagged a best new artist nomination two years ago and released a hit album last June, was largely overlooked. While his album Born Sinner didn’t make the cut for best rap album, his smash “Power Trip” earned a best rap/sung collaboration nomination.

Winners for the 2014 Grammy Awards will be announced Jan. 26 on CBS.

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