Many of the awards at the 2024 Grammy Awards went as expected. You had to know that Lainey Wilson’s Bell Bottom Country was going to win best country album. It had already won album of the year at both the Academy of Country Music Awards and the Country Music Association Awards. Joni Mitchell’s Joni Mitchell at Newport [Live] also seemed like a lock to win for best folk album. And Karol G’s Mañana Será Bonito seemed sure to win best música urbana album. Sure enough, all three of those albums won in those categories.
Some singles or songs also seemed like locks to win, including Tyla’s “Water” as the inaugural winner for best African music performance and Billie Eilish and Finneas’ “What Was I Made For?” for best song written for visual media. Yep, they won too.
But, as always, there were snubs and surprises. Trevor Noah, who hosted the show for the fourth year in a row, was nominated for best comedy album, but lost to Dave Chappelle’s What’s in a Name? That was a mild surprise, but Chappelle is such a giant in comedy – this was his fifth win in that category in the past seven years – that it doesn’t really qualify as a snub.
The 3-1/2-hour telecast, held at Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles, had something for everybody. Performers ranged from 20-year-old pop superstar Olivia Rodrigo to music legend Joni Mitchell, who is still adding to her considerable legacy at 80.
Here are snubs and surprises from the 2024 Grammy Awards.
SZA’s SOS lost album of the year, just as Beyoncé’s Renaissance did last year. SOS was an even bigger hit, relative to the year’s other releases, than Renaissance was. It topped the Billboard 200 for 10 weeks, longer than any of this year’s other album of the year nominees. SZA was vying to become the first Black woman to win album of the year as a lead artist since Lauryn Hill won 25 years ago with The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. More than a few fans of R&B and hip-hop are saying tonight “What does it take?”
Mystery: Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift won album of the year for a record-setting fourth time, but she also set a record in song of the year, losing for the seventh time. Swift has amassed more song of the year nominations than anyone else in Grammy history, but has yet to win in that category. It’s a mystery, especially because most agree that songwriting, even more than singing or performing, is her chief talent.
Snub: Bruce Springsteen
Springsteen’s Only the Strong Survive seemed to have a lock on best traditional pop vocal album. Since 2000, winners in this category have included such pop and rock stars as Joni Mitchell, Rod Stewart, Paul McCartney, Elvis Costello & the Imposters and James Taylor. Springsteen seemed to fit comfortably on that list. But the award went to Laufey, a 24-year old singer from Iceland, for Bewitched. Springsteen, a 20-time Grammy winner, hasn’t added to his Grammy collection since 2010.
Surprise: Coco Jones
Jones’ “ICU” won best R&B performance, beating SZA’s “Kill Bill.” SZA was considered the front-runner because “Kill Bill” was nominated for record and song of the year. “ICU” wasn’t nominated in either of those categories.
Snub: Jon Batiste & Olivia Rodrigo
Both artists went 0-6 on the night. That’s more nominations without a win than any other artist this year. Batiste won five Grammys two years ago, including album of the year for We Are. Rodrigo won three Grammys at that same ceremony, including best new artist. A comedown after a strong showing like that is almost inevitable and isn’t really a cause for alarm. Even a Grammy magnet like Billie Eilish went 0-7 in the year of her sophomore album Happier Than Ever. It happens.
Snub: Luke Combs
Combs’ “Fast Car” was widely expected to receive a record of the year nod. It didn’t. It was expected to at least win best country solo performance. It didn’t do that either. The award went instead to Chris Stapleton for “White Horse.” Stapleton is a deeply respected singer. He has won four times in that category, twice as often as his closest rivals, Willie Nelson and Carrie Underwood. Still, the fact remains that after five years of stardom, Combs’ Grammy track record stands at 0-4.
Surprise: Grammys Scoop Oscars
The Oscar front-runners for best original song (“What Was I Made For?” from Barbie) and best original score (Ludwig Göransson’s Oppenheimer) won Grammys in the equivalent categories here. Eilish also performed the song on the Grammy telecast five weeks before she will almost certainly be performing it again on the Oscar stage. The Grammys are probably feeling pretty good about beating the Oscars on both of their two music awards this year.
Surprise: PJ Morton
When the Grammy nominations were announced in November, Hazel Monét, 2, made news as the youngest Grammy nominee in history. It seemed likely that the “aww, how sweet” factor would propel her to a win for best traditional R&B performance for her featured role on her mom Victoria Monét’s “Hollywood.” The fact that the record also featured the mighty Earth, Wind & Fire was another good reason to think it would win. Instead, the award went to PJ Morton featuring Susan Carol for “Good Morning.”
Surprise: Fred again..
Fred again.. won best dance/electronic music album, beating two artists who had won three times each in the category, Skrillex and The Chemical Brothers. Fred again.. won for Actual Life 3 (January 1-September 9, 2022). Skrillex was nominated for Quest for Fire; The Chemical Brothers for For That Beautiful Feeling, respectively.