On Tuesday morning, Andra Day, a two-time Grammy nominee herself, stepped in front of the camera to present the 2018 Grammy nominations across the four top categories: Album of the Year, Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best New Artist. Unsurprisingly, Kendrick Lamar and Jay-Z, who already have a combined 28 Grammys between them, led the field, with seven and eight nominations, respectively, followed by Childish Gambino, who would be on his way to an EGOT in a just world, and Bruno Mars. Best New Artist nominees Khalid, SZA, and Alessia Cara each nabbed several more nominations in various categories—and the Best New Artist category itself was also among the most diverse, in terms of gender, race, and genre.
But the nominees for next year’s Grammy Awards, which will take place January 28, did include a number of surprises—some of them comically unexpected (like a nomination for Bernie Sanders), some of them encouraging (two nominations for Cardi B), and some of them depressingly not-really-surprising (like the Record of the Year field, which comprises solely male nominees). Here, we give you a rundown of the eight most surprising results from Tuesday morning’s Grammy nominees announcement.
1. Harry Styles was not nominated.
Though former One Direction member Harry Styles released his self-titled solo debut in May of this year to immediate success—it emerged into the top position on the Billboard 200 album chart—and Harry Styles remained on the chart for 28 weeks, the record failed to receive a Grammy nomination. Perhaps this should not come as a surprise, though, since One Direction never received a nomination before it dissolved and last year, Styles’s fellow former One Directioner Zayn Malik’s solo debut Mind of Mine was also snubbed.
2. … Which means Zayn Malik could be the first One Direction alum to win a Grammy.
Malik earned a nomination for “I Don’t Wanna Live Forever,” the 50 Shades Darker song he performed with Taylor Swift. Of course, he wouldn’t even be winning a Grammy in his own right; Swift co-wrote the track with Jack Antonoff, meaning the nomination is not properly Malik’s own. (It still brings him closer than Niall Horan, who released a solo full-length, Flicker, this year, Liam Payne, the one everyone forgets about, or Louis Tomlinson, who has released several singles while feeling bad for himself but not letting anyone else feel bad for him).
3. The nominees for Record of the Year are all men. As are those for Best Alternative Album. And Best Rock Album. And Best Metal Album.
In least-surprising surprises of this year’s nominees, women musicians are well represented among the newcomers, in pop categories, and even, to some extent, in the rap and R&B categories. But when it comes to rock- and rock-adjacent categories (and more amorphous designations like “alternative,” all genres in which women have historically been marginalized) the recording academy did not see fit to include any of the outstanding records by women this year—not to mention queer and gender-nonconforming musicians, who are still consistently underrepresented across categories. The problem is only magnified when it comes to Record of the Year; in addition to the aforementioned four frontrunners for nominations, each of which earned a Record of the Year nod, Daddy Yankee and Luis Fonsi (and Justin Bieber) were nominated for “Despacito.” There is some justice in Lorde’s nomination for Album of the Year, making her the only woman nominee in that category.
4. “Despacito” is the first non-English-language song to be nominated for Song of the Year and Record of the Year.
Take that, Shakira.
5. “Bodak Yellow” earned two nominations, making Cardi B the first solo woman rapper to be nominated for Best Rap Performance.
There had never before been a solo woman nominee for Best Rap Performance—until now. Cardi B was nominated for Best Rap Song and Best Rap Performance for her uncontested song-of-the-summer, “Bodak Yellow,” which was also the first single by a solo woman rapper to earn the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100 since Lauryn Hill in 1999. (There were some early reports Cardi was not credited as a writer on "Bodak Yellow," but she is, in fact, there—under the name "Washpoppin.")
6. The Perfume Genius record No Shape earned a nomination…
… For its engineering, and for producer Blake Mills, who was also responsible for Jesca Hoop and Laura Marling’s most recent efforts. Justice for Perfume Genius, who made one of the best records of the year.
7. Bernie Sanders was nominated.
The former Democratic presidential hopeful is now a Grammy-nominated performer; Sanders got a nod for the audiobook for his campaign-trail memoir Our Revolution: A Future to Believe In. (Hillary Clinton was snubbed for What Happened.) Sanders faces off against a tough field that includes Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Carrie Fisher, and longtime Grammy favorite Bruce Springsteen, who is, for once, not nominated in a musical category.
Though the Recording Academy has yet to do away with the endlessly problematic “Urban Contemporary” category—which features artists ranging from 6lack to SZA to The Weeknd and Childish Gambino and seems to primarily exist to highlight musicians of color who don’t make music that is strictly rap or R&B—this year, the Grammys made an unprecedented effort to also include a diverse array of genres, at least, among its top categories, which resulted in some more inclusivity despite the shortcomings already mentioned. “After treading cautiously through the realm of hip-hop for nearly four decades, the Recording Academy belatedly has embraced the genre wholeheartedly,” the Los Angeles Times wrote after the nominations were revealed. Hip-hop has dominated the radio, and pop culture, for years, and the Grammys are only just catching up.