The nominations for the 2021 Grammys have been announced and after attention was brought to several notable snubs as well as the lack of focus on Country, the CEO of the Recording Academy tries to explain why this happened.

So the 2021 Grammy nominations were announced and it wasn’t that bad of a list to be honest. BTS made history for being the first K-pop act to be nominated, every nominee in the Best Rock Performance category is a woman, and Justin Bieber got a little bit pissy over his nomination.

Having said that though, there were several high profile snubs for the 2021 Grammys, the most notable of which include The Weeknd, Fiona Apple, and Harry Styles not getting Album Of The Year nominations (or any nomination in the Big Four categories – Record Of The Year, Album Of The Year, Song Of The Year, and Best New Artist) despite putting out some great work, as well as the lack of focus on country music.

Needless to say that an explanation for why this is would be nice and boy did the Recording Academy’s interim president/CEO Harvey Mason Jr. try his damned hardest to give one while trying to not say the wrong thing.

Chatting to Billboard about the nominations, the topic of The Weeknd and Harry Styles getting excluded from the Grammys’ Big Four categories came up and Mason said: “For The Weeknd, in every year you only have a certain amount of people you can nominate for each category.

“As for Harry, he has some great nominations this year [even though he wasn’t nominated in the top categories]. We are excited about some of the other categories where he was nominated. It’s never easy to tell where people are going to land.”

When the interviewer talked about how both The Weeknd and Harry Styles would’ve been nominated for the Big Four categories back in the day but it seems like the Grammys are now “championing newer and less well-known artists over reinforcing things that have already been rewarded in the marketplace,” Billboard noted that Mason responded “Yeah, it’s interesting” in a hesitant manner.

The topic of country artists not being well-represented in the Grammys’ Big Four categories also came up, to which Mason tried to wave away by saying how “there are a certain amount of nominations” the Recording Academy can get out and “there are only a certain amount of slots.”

When pressed on the issue of Country music getting snubbed at the Grammys, Mason replied: “We don’t sit down and decide we have to have this person and we have to have that person; We have to have that genre; and we have to have this race.

“We really are trying to land on quality. In my experience, it’s not really been about trying to even the playing field for every different group and make sure that everyone’s included. It’s really about trying to highlight quality and excellence. We really hope that is a diverse group; that it represents a lot of genres.

“I think this year if you look at the overall nominations, we have represented more genres than we generally do in our Big Four categories. They’re very diverse across the board in gender, age, and genre.”