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Grammys defend shakeup after effort to ‘embrace inclusion’ offers big name artists more chances to win

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Grammy organisers have defended their call to expand categories in a bid to “embrace the spirit of inclusion” after it gave more opportunity to big name artists.

Just 24 hours before 2022 nominees were announced on Wednesday, the top categories were opened up from eight to 10 nominees.

The late move allowed big names like Kanye West, Taylor Swift, Abba and Lil Nas X to enter the race for gongs on awards night.

Recording Academy chief executive Harvey Mason Jr, who fronts the organisation behind the award ceremony, hailed the shakeup as a way “to make room for more music, more artists and more genres, and to embrace the spirit of inclusion”.

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Camera IconTaylor Swift. Credit: Jordan Strauss/Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP

However he has been forced to defend the move after some of the names added were some of the biggest in the industry and in some cases already nominated in other categories.

“We saw it as an incredible opportunity for us to honour more artists and shine a light on more great music, and potentially offer a greater opportunity for more genres of music to be honoured,” Mason told Variety.

“It’s something that we’ve talked about for quite some time but it ended up happening fairly recently.

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“We looked at the voting and the amount of submissions [for the 2022 Grammys] and saw it as a great opportunity.”

The New York Times this week published the final nominations list when categories were capped at eight. It meant they could clearly discern the late additions.

Swift’s Evermore and West’s Donda were late additions to the album of the year category, joining Justin Bieber, Olivia Rodrigo, Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga, Doja Cat, H.E.R., Billie Eilish, Jon Batiste and Lil Nas X.

Lil Nas X’s Montero (Call Me by Your Name) and ABBA’s I Still Have Faith in You were added to record of the year category alongside Rodrigo, Bieber, Bennett, Gaga, Batiste, Doja Cat, Eilish, Silk Sonic and Brandi Carlile.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 26: Lil Nas X attends the 62nd Annual GRAMMY Awards at Staples Center on January 26, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)
Camera IconLil Nas X. Credit: Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

Doja Cat’s song Kiss Me More and Right on Time by Carlile were last-minute additions to song of the year category, who joined Ed Sheeran, Alicia Keys and Carlile, Rodrigo, H.E.R., Eilish, Silk Sonic, Lil Nas X and Bieber.

Rapper Baby Keem and the composer Arooj Aftab were last minute additions for best new artist and joined Rodrigo, Jimmie Allen, FINNEAS, Glass Animals, Japanese Breakfast, The Kid Laroi, Arlo Parks and Saweetie.

It comes after the Grammys ditched its anonymous nomination review committees intended to safeguard the awards’ integrity after it was accused of allowing manipulation behind the scenes.

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