Why did Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran, Drake skip this year's Grammys?
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Many of the biggest names in music were missing from Sunday's Grammy Awards, held at New York's Madison Square Garden. Among the most curious absentees:
Sheeran was one of the biggest perceived snubs in top categories, missing out in album, record and song of the year. So it made his absence all the more awkward when he wasn't there to accept awards for best pop solo performance (Shape of You) and pop vocal album (Divide).
The 10-time Grammy winner was a no-show at Sunday's ceremony, where she would have walked away empty-handed in the two below-the-line categories where she was nominated: best country song (Little Big Town's Better Man) and song written for visual media (I Don't Wanna Live Forever with Zayn).
Last year, the Toronto native told British DJ Semtex in an interview that he was skipping the Grammys "because they don’t air the other rap awards on TV," and that he felt "alienated" as a black artist only nominated in hip-hop categories. Although he won two awards for Hotline Bling at the 2017 ceremony, it apparently wasn't enough for him to end his boycott this year.
Despite scoring multiple nominations for Despacito, Bieber didn't come out to support collaborators Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee. Instead, he's "probably working" on his follow-up to 2015 album Purpose, longtime producer Poo Bear told USA TODAY on the red carpet. He's "hopefully recording something that we did together."
In a lengthy Tumblr tirade last year, Ocean lashed out at the Recording Academy for awarding Swift's 1989 album of the year over Kendrick Lamar's To Pimp a Butterfly in 2016, calling it "one of the most 'faulty' TV moments I've seen." Ocean notably withheld his albums Blonde and Endless from awards consideration, and criticized the "dated" nomination system in an interview with The New York Times. Although there is no explanation for his absence this go-around, his past Grammys beef — and lack of nominations — appear to be reason enough.
Seemingly following suit, West announced during his Saint Pablo Tour in 2016 that he wasn't "showing up to the Grammys" if Ocean wasn't nominated. Sure enough, the new dad was MIA from last year's and this year's telecasts.
The Bad Liar singer has been lying low for the better part of the last year, only performing at the American Music Awards in November after revealing that she received a kidney transplant last summer. With no nominations and reported beau Bieber AWOL, it's no surprise that she opted to skip this year's festivities.
The funnyman was unaccounted for when the award for best comedy album was announced, ultimately going to the telecast's unexpected MVP Dave Chapelle. But Hart already had a show booked in Evansville, Ind., which is why he couldn't attend.
Contributing: Maeve McDermott, Bryan Alexander