Grammy nominations to be announced Friday with expanded top categories

Janelle Monae is expected to be one of the top nominees for the 2019 Grammy Awards. (File photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

LOS ANGELES — After a two-day delay prompted by funeral services for former President George H.W. Bush, nominations will be announced Friday for the 61st Grammy Awards, with the field of contenders for top honors vastly expanded thanks to a new rule implemented in hopes of bolstering diversity.

Under the change, the top categories of album, song, record and new artist of the year will be expanded from five nominees to eight. The change came following criticism in recent years over the lack of female nominees in top categories.

When announcing the change in July, Recording Academy President Neil Portnow said the expansion “creates more opportunities for a wider range of recognition in these important categories and gives more flexibility to our voters when having to make the often-challenging decisions about representing excellence and the best in music for the year.”

The change came on the heels of a USC report released in January that found only 9.3 percent of nominees in the top Grammy categories were women over the past five years. Portnow also came under fire when, after being questioned about a lack of female representation among nominees, he responded that women need to “step up” to be recognized.

Portnow has announced that he will step down next year at the end of his term.

Given the expanded categories, the nominations announced Friday are likely to cast a wide net, with female artists such as Janelle Monae, Kacey Musgraves, Cardi B and Taylor Swift likely to snare nods for one of more of the top awards, joining potential nominees such as Drake, Childish Gambino and Ed Sheeran.

Childish Gambino — also known as actor Donald Glover — could score dual nods for record and song of the year for “This is America,” while Drake could pull off the same feat with “God’s Plan.” Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper could also land in both categories with “Shallow,” a song written for the film “A Star is Born.” Although the song is eligible for a Grammy nomination, the film’s soundtrack is not because it was released outside the eligibility period for the 61st Grammys.

The record of the year award is given to the artist, while the song of the year prize goes to songwriters.

Janelle Monae is a likely nominee for album of the year for “Dirty Computer,” with other contenders including Ariana Grande for “Sweetener,” Drake for “Scorpion,” Cardi B for “Invasion of Privacy,” Kacey Musgraves for “Golden Hour” and The Carters for “Everything is Love.” The category could also potentially include a motion picture soundtrack — for “Black Panther.”

The Grammys will recognize recordings released between Oct. 1, 2017, and Sept. 30, 2018.

The 61st Grammy Awards will be held at Feb. 10 Staples Center following a one-year move of the ceremony back to New York City in honor of the show’s 60th anniversary.


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