On Feb. 7, The Weeknd headlined the Super Bowl halftime show. The singer performed a number of songs from his 2020 album After Hours during the famous halftime concert. Despite After Hours receiving commercial and critical success, The Weeknd, whose real name is Abel Makkonen Tesfaye, was not nominated for any 2021 Grammy Awards.
The Recording Academy announced the nominees for the 2021 Grammy Awards in November 2020. At the time of the snub, it was alleged that The Weeknd was not nominated for any Grammy Awards because of his impending Super Bowl performance.
The Weeknd was not nominated for any Grammy Awards
In his career, The Weeknd has received 10 Grammy nominations and won three Grammy Awards. When After Hours experienced a successful year, it seemed certain that the singer would be nominated.
“The Grammys remain corrupt. You owe me, my fans and the industry transparency…,” the singer tweeted after not being nominated for a 2021 Grammy Award.
In an Instagram story, singer-songwriter Halsey wrote that being nominated for a Grammy Award often takes “committing to exclusive TV performances and making sure you help the Academy make their millions in advertising on the night of the show.”
Halsey also called out the Recording Academy for not nominating The Weeknd for After Hours, writing, “Perhaps sometimes it is (!!) but it’s not always about the music or quality or culture. Just wanted to get that off my chest. @theweeknd deserves better…”
Some blamed The Weeknd’s Super Bowl performance for the snub
The Recording Academy announced the 2021 Grammy Award nominees on Nov. 24, 2020. The next day on Nov. 25, 2020, Billboard reported that The Weeknd was given an ultimatum about performing for the Super Bowl halftime show based on information from “sources close to the situation.”
According to Billboard, sources released a statement saying:
“There were many conversations between the Grammys and The Weeknd team about his performance slated for the 2021 Grammys. There was an ultimatum given resulting in a struggle over him also playing the Super Bowl that went on for some time and [it] was eventually agreed upon that he would perform at both events. The Grammys had their nomination ballots as of Oct. 12 and had all these convos with The Weeknd team in the past month and today on Nov. 24, The Weeknd had not one nomination and is now completely ignored by the Grammys. This was the year that they were supposed to rise up. What is the process and where is the transparency?”
The Recording Academy denied the allegations
As fans know, The Weeknd performed in the Pepsi Super Bowl LV Halftime Show. After sources close to the singer publicly spoke about the alleged ultimatum, Harvey Mason Jr., the Recording Academy’s chair and interim president/CEO, spoke with Billboard.
“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,” Mason said
He continued, “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.”
In a continued Q&A with Billboard, Mason acknowledged that he personally thought The Weeknd’s single “Blinding Lights” had a chance at winning a Grammy Award in 2021 and was shocked at the nomination results.