The Flawed Voting System of the Grammy Awards


Courtesy of Jay L Clendenin/LA Times/Shutterstock

Megan Thee Stallion won three Grammys.

Derek Ramirez Jerez, Staff Writer

Each year, the Grammys are marred with controversy as upset fans cry out and accuse the show of rigging the awards when their favorite artist does not win. This year was no different, with Megan Thee Stallion at the center of backlash, as she won three main category awards in her first year appearing in the show. While these awards were deservedly earned due to her massive success in 2020, it does not take away from the weird voting system seen throughout the years that explains the consistent outrage from fans towards the Grammys.

This year’s award show did have its share of weird voting, but Megan Thee Stallion does not fall victim to this. Whatever your opinion is on her music, she was definitely one of the most influential artists over the past year, with popular songs such as “Savage” and “WAP” headlining social media for months. TikTok, one of the most popular social media sites of this year, promoted her music immensely, with fans creating their own videos using these songs.

It is no surprise that “Savage” won her the Best Rap Song and Best Rap Performance awards, as this song greatly benefitted Megan Thee Stallion’s success over the last year. Given that she is also relatively new on the music scene, it is also justified that she won the Best New Artist award due to this prominence.

The other great controversy that sparked outrage involved The Weeknd receiving no nominations, despite “After Hours” being one of the biggest albums of the year. This album consisted of songs like “Blinding Lights,” which consistently infested radios across America throughout the year.

How can this even happen? No one really knows how artists are nominated for these awards. According to The Weeknd himself, secret committees control this process. This leaves no checks for bias in the system, as no one can hold the people responsible for the selection process accountable for their weird nominations. The voting process should be transparent to the public, or else the Grammys will continue to have this negative reputation.

This nomination process is why people see oddities in the Grammys each year. For example, a past-prime Nas won the coveted Best Rap Album award with his most recent album because the nominations he went up against were subpar. Artists such as Lil Uzi Vert, The Weeknd, DaBaby, 21 Savage and Pop Smoke released critically acclaimed albums in 2020, but none were nominated for the award. However, they had artists who struggled to peak on the Billboards running against a rap legend such as Nas. 

Even if the nominations are correct, the 2014 Best Rap Album award shows that the voting is just off at certain times. The aptly named “The Heist” album by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis won the award, beating rap titans like Kendrick Lamar, Jay-Z, Kanye West and Drake, who all released albums that are now career staples. “The Heist” obviously won because of the song “Thrift Shop,” which took the world over in a similar manner to how Megan Thee Stallion’s songs did in 2020. 

However, what the Grammys did right this year is that it separated the Best Rap Song and Best Rap Album awards, not giving “Suga,” Megan Thee Stallion’s album including “Savage,” the award or nomination. The other nominees in 2014 had more complete albums, but “The Heist” still wrongly won because of the popularity of one song. 

No one knows this for sure about who makes these decisions that sparks so much frustration among fans at the Grammys. This then leaks onto what the show actually gets right, such as with Megan Thee Stallion this year, and fans start to discredit rightly earned awards. A simple fix is to increase transparency between fans and the Grammy voters, but this seems like something the organizers of the event are not interested in doing.