December 7, 2013

Not so justified: Justin Timberlake’s Grammy snub

Pop star was shut out of the top Grammy categories.

By Mesfin Fekadu
The Associated Press

Justin Timberlake may have earned seven Grammy nominations, but he still has reason to cry himself a river: The pop star was shut out of the top Grammy categories – album, song and record of the year – though his comeback effort, “The 20/20 Experience,” is 2013’s best-selling release.

click image to enlarge

FILE - In this Nov. 24, 2013 file photo, Justin Timberlake, center, performs on stage at the American Music Awards at the Nokia Theatre L.A. Live in Los Angeles. Timberlake is among the clear favorites as The Recording Academy prepares to unveil its Grammy nominees on Friday, Dec. 6, 2013. A handful will be unveiled during a CBS special, and the rest announced after it airs.

The Associated Press

FILE - In this Nov. 24, 2013 file photo, Justin Timberlake performs on stage at the American Music Awards at the Nokia Theatre L.A. Live in Los Angeles. Timberlake was among the top nominees for the 56th annual Grammy Awards announced Friday night, Dec. 6, 2013.

The Associated Press

It might seem a bit much to call the second most nominated act at the Grammys snubbed, but it’s only fitting after Timberlake’s ultra-successful homecoming: The singer had back-to-back, multiplatinum hits with “Suit & Tie” and “Mirrors,” launched two successful tours and strategically marketed his return, including a full week on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon,” deals with iTunes and Target, as well as two film releases.

His “20/20” album, which sold nearly a million discs in its debut week in March, has pushed 2.3 million units this year; the album’s sequel, which was met with mixed reviews, has moved more than 630,000 units since its Sept. 30 release.

Timberlake’s nominations include best pop vocal album, pop solo performance for “Mirrors” and R&B song for “Pusher Love Girl.” He also shares four nominations with Jay Z – who is the Grammy leader with nine nominations – for their hits “Suit & Tie” and “Holy Grail.”

While the rap icon is the frontrunner, he’s nominated twice in two categories, giving him a chance to bring home seven trophies, much like some rap newcomers who are having their Grammy breakthroughs: Kendrick Lamar, the critical darling who impressed on his own songs and by stealing thunder from others on their tracks, and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, the rap duo who blazed the pop charts with a same sex anthem and a tune about used clothes.

Both hip-hop acts have seven nominations, including the coveted album of the year and best new artist. “Same Love,” Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ original first single which saw a re-release after the success of “Thrift Shop” and “Can’t Hold Us,” is nominated for song of the year.

“It feels awesome,” Macklemore, 30, exclaimed backstage during the Grammys nominations unveiling in Los Angeles. “There is no greater award than the Grammy. To be here tonight and to be nominated is truly mind-blowing.”

For album of the year, the Seattle-based rap group’s independently-released debut, “The Heist,” will battle Lamar’s “good kid, m.A.A.d city,” Taylor Swift’s “Red,” Daft Punk’s “Random Access Memories” and Sara Bareilles’ “The Blessed Unrest,” the only album in the group to not reach gold status.

“I never in a billion million years thought I’d be nominated for Album of the Year. ... Best birthday ever. Woah,” tweeted Bareilles, who turns 34 on Saturday.

Bareilles, who got a boost this year after Katy Perry’s “Roar” had been criticized for sounding like the piano-playing singer’s “Brave,” will see her song battle Perry’s No. 1 hit in the best pop solo performance category. “Roar” is also nominated for song of the year among three other No. 1 hits – Bruno Mars’ “Locked Out of Heaven,” Lorde’s “Royals” and “Just Give Me a Reason” by Pink and Nate Ruess. Macklemore & Lewis’ “Same Love” has peaked at No. 11 and is up for the top honor.

The tracks competing for record of the year also mirrored the Billboard charts: “Royals,” “Locked Out of Heaven” and the year’s longest-running No. 1 song, Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines,” is up against Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” and Imagine Dragons’ “Radioactive,” songs that peaked at No. 2 and 3 on the charts, respectively.

Thicke, whose performance closed the Grammy nominations special at the Nokia Theatre, quickly ran off to sing at the Jingle Ball concert event at the Staples Center.

(Continued on page 2)

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