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Grammy awards 2022: Snubs and surprises

Saiba Haque considers those who missed out and those who caught us by surprise this award season.

By Saiba Haque, Second Year Politics and Philosophy

Saiba Haque considers those who missed out and those who caught us by surprise this award season.

The 64th Grammy Awards were held at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas last Sunday. The Ceremony date was altered previously from January to April, resulting in the nominations for this grammy season to feel rather ancient.

Nevertheless, from Doja Cat finally receiving her first Grammy whilst rushing out to the stage from the loo to Lady Gaga’s touching and theatrical tribute to Tony Bennett, the Grammys this year had some very memorable moments. Moreover, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenksky addressed Ukraine’s war with Russia on a pre-recorded message where he said “The war. What is more opposite to music? The silence of ruined cities and killed people… Fill the silence with your music. Fill it today to tell our story.” Filling this silence were some entertaining performances from Olivia Rodrigo, Billie Eilish, Jon Batiste, Lil Nas X and more.

There were numerous snubs and surprises this award season, some of which are more apparent than others:

Grammys 2022 Snubs:


For the metalheads out there, I will start off this list with a category that is often underrepresented in many articles of this nature. For ‘Best Metal performance’, I truly think Gojira should have won the award for their song ‘Amazonia’. Gojira as a band truly encapsulates the essence of metal music. Although the winner for this category, ‘The Alien’ by Dream Theater, starts off with impressive metal instrumentals, it lacks severely in strong and engaging vocals, thus making the song sound more like a rock opera than a metal song. However, ‘Amazonia’ by Gojira not only transcends in lyricism but also flourishes in maintaining the integrity of metal music through their strong, heavy metal vocals and stellar instrumentals.

Ye (Kanye West):

Some may argue that Ye got snubbed for the ‘Best Rap Album’ category in relation to his nominated for ‘Donda’. I can understand why some may consider this to be a snub. Despite being absent and barred from performing (‘apparently due to concerning online behaviour’), he did however still win ‘Best Melodic Rap Performance’ with his track ‘Hurricane’, and also ‘Best Rap Song’ with ‘Jail’. So I would say Ye did not get completely snubbed by the awards this season. Besides, the ‘Best Rap Album’ win for Tyler, The Creator for ‘Call Me If You Get Lost’ was very much deserved.

Lil Nas X:

For the influence that Lil Nas X has had in pop culture recently, and with the success of his album ‘Montero’, it was a shame to see that he lost out on every category he was nominated for this year.

Japanese Breakfast:

Historically, the ‘Best New Artist’ award often consists of artists who might not technically be ‘new’. Regardless, it breaks my heart that Japanese Breakfast got snubbed for the best new artist category. Sure, we can argue that Olivia Rodrigo’s influence on the pop landscape has been quintessential for this generation. However, I feel that Japanese Breakfast’s brilliant sophomore album ‘Jubilee’, with a fresh sound, mesmerising lyricism and hauntingly beautiful instrumentals should have taken the top spot. Of course, Olivia Rodrigo did deserve to win, as she’s achieved so much in such a short time. However, Japanese Breakfast truly deserved some recognition as a ‘New Artist’ at the Grammys.

Grammys 2022 Surprises:

Silk Sonic:

‘Leave the Door Open’ by Silk Sonic winning ‘Song of the Year’ seemed to be a surprise to many. Many presumed that it would be a battle between Olivia Rodrigo for ‘Drivers License’ and Billie Eilish for ‘Happier than Ever’. Nevertheless, the win for Silk Sonic is understandable and very much well deserved. Hence proving Bruno Mars and Anderson Paak to be one of the best and perfect duos in the music industry.

Emily Bear and Abigail Barlow:

When I heard that Emily Bear and Abigail Barlow won for ‘Musical Theatre Album’ for ‘The Unofficial Bridgerton Musical’, I was surprised, to say the least. Especially considering they were up against some heavyweights in musical theatre such as Andrew Lloyd Webber, Stephen Shwartz and Cameron Mackintosh. What is endearingly surprising is that Bear and Barlow started their process of making this album through TikTok, and as a result have garnered a lot of positive attention and praise from musical theatre fans on the platform.

Jazmine Sullivan:

Another big surprise of the night was for ‘Pick Up Your Feelings’ by Jazmine Sullivan to be tied with ‘Leave The Door Open’ by Silk Sonic for the ‘Best R&B Performance’ award. Although rare to have a tie, this win was most definitely deserved by both. In ‘Pick Up Your Feelings’ Sullivan elucidates her strong and impactful vocal range in the song with soulful lyricism, which resonates throughout her album ‘Heaux Tales’ for which she has also won a Grammy for; Under the category of ‘Best R&B Album’.

Jon Batiste:

Jon Batiste winning album of the year for ‘We Are’ was a surprise to many as he was up against many heavyweights in the industry, such as Lil Nas X, Olivia Rodrigo and Billie Eilish. His win also made him the first Black artist to win the award since Herbie Hancock in 2008. Nevertheless, his win was much deserved; This album is a record unlike anything else and is very compelling.

Now that we have established some of the popular and unconventional snubs and surprises of this Grammy season, here are some other highlights from the 2022 awards:

Jack Antonoff winning ‘Producer of the Year: As a consistent admirer of his work, this victory was much deserved! He has been extremely busy producing recent albums for Lana Del Rey, Taylor Swift, St. Vincent, Clairo and Lorde, as well as for his band Bleachers.

Joni Mitchell and Bonnie Raitt: It was nice to see them introduce Brandi Carlile (who happens to be a Mitchell disciple). Joni Mitchell has also not been in good health lately, so it was nice to see her on Music’s biggest night.

Doja Cat and SZA winning for ‘Best Pop Duo/Group Performance’: In true Doja fashion, she frantically ran up to the stage from the toilet to receive her award with SZA for their collaboration ‘Kiss Me More’ .

Featured image: Sudhith Xavier / Unsplash

What was your favourite Grammy moment?