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Opinion: Grammy's miss out on the would-be Album of the Year

The Grammy Award nominations were released yesterday in a television spectacular. While they always get some things right, this year they got a few things really, really wrong. Mainly in leaving Justin Timberlake and Miley Cyrus off the ballot in some major categories.

As we progressed through 2013, it seemed obvious that Justin Timberlake would challenge for Album of the Year. After all, his much anticipated album The 20/20 Experience came out in March and it quickly shot up the charts, selling millions of copies and being acclaimed by fans and critics as his best work to date. He bridged the gap between soul, hip-hop and rock in one smooth, 70 minute album. Yet, we are now facing a Grammy Awards devoid of The 20/20 Experience in one of the nights top categories.

I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around this. How could an album that Rolling Stone called “…the biggest pop event of 2013…” and Spin called “…a sonic wonder” not receive a nomination for Album of the Year. The albums nominated aren’t shills. They are solid albums that I’m looking forward to diving into more over the next few months. But this category without Timberlake just seems like an empty promise. Wasn’t this supposed to be the awards show that he cleaned up at? Wasn’t he supposed to break records? Instead, he’ll be an audience member, hoping to win in categories like Best Pop Solo Performance, instead of Album and Record of the Year.

Speaking of Record of the Year, that’s another mystery. It seemed like “Suit & Tie” was all but certain to get nominated in this category. It’s Timberlake and then a little Jay-Z sprinkled in, two guys that mainstream audiences love about as much as critics. Instead, it was left off while songs like “Royals” by Lorde and “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke are nominated. It’s hard to fathom.

Just in case you were wondering, we broke down the United States sales numbers for the albums nominated for Album of the Year and included The 20/20 Experience. Here’s what we found out:

  1. 4 Million Sold – Red by Taylor Swift
  2. 2 Million Sold – The 20/20 Experience by Justin Timberlake
  3. 1 Million Sold – The Heist by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis
  4. 1 Million Sold – Good Kid, M.A.A.D City by Kendrick Lamar
  5. 500 Sold – Random Access Memories by Daft Punk
  6. 300 Sold – The Blessed Unrest by Sara Bareilles

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