Justin Bieber was arguably robbed of two awards at the 59th Annual Grammy awards. Namely, Best Pop Vocal Album for Purpose, and Song of the Year for “Love Yourself.”
Beyoncé, who had led the way with nine nominations, including album, record, and song of the year, came away with just two: Best Urban Contemporary Album for her stunning visual album Lemonade, and Best Music Video for “Formation.”
— BEYONCÉ LEGION (@Bey_Legion) February 13, 2017
For many — and not just Beyoncé and Bieber fans — the losses reinforce Frank Ocean’s recently stated accusation that the Grammys are an out-out-touch, decreasingly relevant show that mostly rewards artists in the tentpole categories Middle America embraces as acceptable and safe.
The latterly socially-conscious Beyoncé and tabloid-target Bieber are neither of these.
Adele won Grammys for Album of the Year and Best Pop Vocal Album with 25. The Brit songstress also won Song and record of the year for her first single from her 2015 album, the leviathan ballad “Hello.”
That meant that Bieber lost out in all four categories he was nominated in: Album of the Year, Best Pop Solo Performance, Best Pop Vocal Album, and Song of the Year.
— CBC News (@CBCNews) February 11, 2017
Of course, there can only be one winner in an awards field. And this year’s Grammys had a sizeable heft of hype-worthy contenders, including Beyoncé, Bieber, Adele, Chance The Rapper, David Bowie, Drake, Rihanna, Twenty One Pilots, Lukas Graham, and more.
However, there has been shock and anger that Bieber didn’t win for Song of the Year and Best Pop Vocal Album, two categories many thought he deserved to triumph in.
Likewise, there was a groundswell of outrage about Beyoncé missing out on the Album of the Year prize. To a lesser extent, Rihanna and Drake’s “Work” being beaten to the Best Pop Duo/Group Performance Grammy for “Work” by Twenty One Pilot’s “Stressed Out” has also not gone over well. In fact, the Bajan star didn’t take home any of her eight nominations.
rihanna and kanye won 0 out of 8, beyoncé won 2 out of 9 and adele won 5 out of 5. y’all notice anything? pic.twitter.com/jV10WYmoqo
— ㅤ (@dianasross) February 13, 2017
— The Independent (@Independent) February 13, 2017
Almost immediately after Adele was announced as the Best Pop Vocal Album winner and Song Of the Year winner, a slew of users took to Twitter to protest.
“#NotMyPopVocalAlbumWinner” and “Purpose” trended briefly on Twitter on Sunday night, while the Grammys broadcast live from the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
Inevitably, Bieber fans were among the discontented. But many outside of his traditional fan base also — rightly — thought the pop prince was robbed last night.
Respected voice teacher and artist mentor, Jan Smith (otherwise known as Mama Jan), who coached Justin at the start of his career, tweeted, “Just for the record…@justinbieber in my heart you won Best New Artist in 2011 and just won for Song of the Year as well. #grammys.”
— Mama Jan (@ATLVox) February 13, 2017
“Okay I love Adele, but Justin Bieber should have won Best Pop Vocal Album!!! Wtf is going on right now! #NotMyPopVocalAlbumWinner,” social media star Lele Pons chimed in.
Okay I love Adele, but Justin Bieber should have won Best Pop Vocal Album!!! Wtf is going on right now! #NotMyPopVocalAlbumWinner
— Lele Pons (@lelepons) February 13, 2017
Mykell Wilson, a dancer on Bieber’s current tour Purpose Tour World wrote, “#25 isn’t a better album than #Purpose. Not being biased. The album was so good people who even don’t like JB still LOVED the album.”
#25 isn’t a better album than #Purpose. Not being biased. The album was so good people who even don’t like JB still LOVED the album.
— Mykell Wilson (@MightyMykell) February 12, 2017
Among a large swathe of non-Bieber fans, one individual wrote the following.
“How Justin Bieber’s Purpose album didn’t win a Grammy last night is beyond me tbh.”
“Haters can hate, but @justinbieber’s album was truly one of the best of the year. And it should have gotten much more love tonight. #Grammys,” another member of the public opined.
— Paul (PJ) Rieckhoff (@PaulRieckhoff) February 13, 2017
“Justin Bieber’s entire career came down to this record. Purpose was literally FULL of hits and had every right to win album of the year. Wow,” another user lamented.
Another individual kept it blunt.
“I still listen to Justin Bieber’s album straight thru.”
“Say what you want about the guy but Bieber got snubbed to walk away with nothing today, you’ll hear a good Bieber song on the radio tomorrow,” one user noted.
“I will say this, I personally think Bieber should have won album of the year just because Purpose is just a great album,” another non-Bieber fan wrote.
I will say this, I personally think Bieber should have won album of the year just because Purpose is just a great album,
— Sam Johnson (@samuelj41944686) February 13, 2017
“There might not have been a more fire #Grammys -nominated line than Bieber’s, “My mama don’t like you and she likes everyone,” one user added.
There might not have been a more fire #Grammys -nominated line than Bieber’s, “My mama don’t like you and she likes everyone.”
— The Undefeated (@TheUndefeated) February 13, 2017
“Justin Bieber had the album of the year,” one non-fan enthused.
“Biebs was robbed man. Purpose is still everything,” another Twitter resident praised.
Biebs was robbed man. Purpose is still everything.????
— Lady Pogba (@ShazSkye) February 13, 2017
To put the snub of Bieber’s album in clearer perspective. The almost six million-selling Purpose has been streamed over 11 billion times worldwide. It produced three No. 1 U.S. singles: “Sorry,” “Love Yourself,” and “What Do You Mean.” The album broke and set multiple records — notably, occupying the top three spots on the U.K. official singles chart with all three hits simultaneously — which no artist has ever done before.
After debuting atop Billboard’s 200 albums chart in November, 2015, “What Do You Mean,” “Love Yourself,” and Sorry” each topped Billboard’s Hot 100 chart. Nielsen Music reported “Love Yourself” and “Sorry” took first and ninth place, respectively in a top 10 compilation of highest audience impression for radio songs in 2016.
Purpose’s package of an ongoing transformative narrative, bangers, and soul-searching ballads generated enough of a seismic impact that it relaunched Bieber’s career after a turbulent two years. The album moved the sound of pop forward with additions from Jack Ü’s, Skrillex, and Diplo on the game-changing “Where Are Ü Now” and on other songs on the album.
— idolator (@idolator) February 13, 2017
Meanwhile, Beyoncé’s fans continue to lament the snub of Lemonade. Whether or not that resentment has been appeased by the graciousness of Adele’s refusing the AOTY award and the accidental dismantling of her Grammy award to share with the “Love Drought” singer remains to be seen.
Bottom line? Comeback kid Bieber and Queen Beyoncé deserved more than just nominations at the 2017 Grammys for albums which pushed the envelope a lot more than Adele’s, as well as delivering classic hits.
[Featured Image By Jason Merritt/Alberto Pizzoli/Getty Images]