You know what happens at the end of every Grammys broadcast: Cue the outrage. Except, what are we are going to do with our reserves of snark? Since this year, the number of clearly embarrassing or risible major winners this year was zero. About the best huff most of us veteran Grammy watchers will be able to work up over one deserving nominee to lose out to a nearly-as-deserving nominee. Where's the fun in rage-tweeting that?
If you were hoping for something in the Bruno mode, beating Kendrick in a sweep, or Adele mopping up the floor with Beyonce (which is memorably embarrassed even her), what a disappointment this Grammys must have been. Still, there were some picks that came about unexpectedly or unpleasantly for at least some, if not necessarily all, of us. This is America, as Childish Gambino would say, let's try to find any divisiveness we can, we must?
Snub: Mac Miller
Let's face it ̵
Surprise: Kacey Musgraves
This would be a perfect time to brag that I correctly called this one over on Goldderby.com … so consider it pointed out. But since I was in the minority, let's consider it a surprise. There were eight nominees for the Album of the Year in this first-time expansion of top categories, and there was a case for seven of them. (HER was the only one who could honestly say that she was happy to just be nominated and leave it at that.) Who would bet a huge amount of money against Kendrick Lamar, Drake, Cardi B or even a late-rising dark horse Brandi Carlile ? Also, consider the number of times in history that the album that everyone considered a country record won the Album of the Year. That would be twice: Taylor Swift's "Fearless" was preceded by Dixie Chicks' really post-country "Taking the Long Way." Precedent, if not 8-ball, said no. So let's hear it for Kacey at the bat, hitting the home run, even we soothsayers felt a bit nervous predicting.
The social media anger over Bjork missing out on the atlective album can fall on the low end of the scale. But she's overlooked is still worthy of note, as she falls into the realm of Susan Lucci's territory by failing to win for the 15 th nomination in a row. Beck made a terrifically fun album, but you have to wonder how many voters just check off Beck, Beause Beck. Long may he rule in some fashion or another, but in the year of the woman, it might have been nice to see this category take less predictable, more feminist spin too. Honestly, this one was never Bjork's – "Utopia," though fascinating as ever, was not her most beloved effort – but St. Vincent would have provided the worthy victory we craved. (St. Vincent did win for rock song, and also won the "get a room, you two" award for her riveting duet on the show with Dua Lipa, so we will not shed too many tears about her awesomeness going unnoticed.)
Snub: Taylor Swift and Pink
These two produced two of the best albums of any kind in the eligibility period, but their paltry nominations offered a predictable but still ridiculous lack of wins. It was great that the Year of the Woman brought so many slightly left-of-center nominees, but sad that it could not be extended to women who happen to be commercially huge as well as popular. Yes, this extends to the under-named Grande too, although with wins in one of two categories, Ariana could not claim a pretty snub of her superstar peers.
Snub: "All the Stars"
Even if this is a practically year-defining Kendrick and SZA ballad / Jam was going to lose in the record and the song of the year categories – and to the Childish Gambino, so no one was going to charge an anti-hip-hop bias there – it should have had a shot for the best song written for visual media. But in that category it ran into a little juggernaut called "Shallow," the same obstacle faces at the Oscars. Lamar probably made the right call in staying home this year, pride-wise, although we can not help but wish he'd swallowed it and anyway performed on the show. Obviously, with the Academy Awards approaching, he and SZA are able to save that moment for the movies' biggest night.
Surprise: Drake on the Grammys
Not since Richard Nixon went on "Laugh-In" to say "You bet your bippy?" Has a TV cameo come so out of nowhere. He went from being a boycotter of the year to being a non-no-show as he popped up from some mysterious underworld to accept for rap song of the year. Even the cutoff of his speech, which the Grammys claimed was inadvertant because they legit thought he was taking a pause, could not dampen the high spirits of the moment, although the conspiracy theorists who thought he got zapped because of his lightweight "awards don" t matter "shade had all the grist they needed. It's understandable why someone like Drake is reluctant to show up and play nice when huge numbers of nominations, here or at other awards shows, result in so few wins. But you know what? Playing nice happens to be a good look on him.
Snub: The Grammy Taleself
Grande made her reasons for snubbing the show known; Childish Gambino's can only be guessed at. Their reasons may be perfectly straight-up, if we could only see behind the scenes. But in Grande's case, her live-tweeting of her distress at being unable to come to terms with Ken Ehrlich threatened to overshadow what should be a celebratory release-week moment for her … and of course, the award for her previous album that was set to come her way. There was so much involvement in this year's Grammys, beween historic wins for rapiers and for hip-hop women in particular, on top of all the celebration of Latin music and a strong presence for gay performers, which makes the point of any one performer missing out. felt in danger of missing the bigger point. Drake, at least, got the telegram about what a party this year would be in time.