On Tuesday, the Grammy nominations were revealed. While the ceremony itself isn’t until February 5, the big headline around the nominations was one that piqued our interest: Beyoncé received a whopping nine nominations, tying the record for all-time nominations set by her husband, Jay Z. And she’s hardly the only Texan having a good day today: Lizzo nabbed four major nominations, while Texans can be found all over categories such as Best New Artist, Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album, and all of the country music categories. Plus more!
Still, a big nomination day for Beyoncé doesn’t always translate to a big day for Queen Bey in February, which leads us to ask: will the nominations lead to awards for the Texans currently celebrating? Let’s dive in deeper.
Will Beyoncé finally win Album of the Year?
In 2017, Beyoncé lost the Album of the Year award to Adele, in an upset that clearly embarrassed not just viewers, who knew what the real album of the year was, but also the winner herself, who tearfully declared during her speech that she “[couldn’t] possibly accept this award” while Beyoncé was sitting there in the crowd after releasing Lemonade, which did not win.
That kind of snub from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences isn’t new for Beyoncé, who, despite being one of the biggest stars of the past several decades, has never taken home the evening’s top prize. It’s not just because she has a bad habit of releasing albums in the same years as Adele, perhaps the only contemporary artist who can credibly rival her for longevity, relevance, and stature. In 2015, Beyoncé’s groundbreaking self-titled release lost to the sixth-best Beck album. There have been an awful lot of words (and some video-game pixels!) spilled to try to understand the constant snubbing of an era-defining artist for the top award, but, thankfully, the Grammys have the chance to make it right in 2023 by awarding the universally acclaimed Renaissance Album of the Year. Or they could go with Adele again, whose worst-charting album is also up for the top award, which she’s won for every album she’s put out since 2012. We can only imagine how awkward that speech would be!
Who knew so many Texans were putting out traditional pop vocal albums?
Actually, what even is a “traditional pop vocal album”? The answer, oddly enough, is basically: a Christmas album! At least, the three Texans nominated—Kelly Clarkson, Norah Jones, and North Texas a cappella group Pentatonix—are all nominated for their holiday releases. That’s not unusual for Pentatonix, which has put out six Christmas albums, plus a holiday compilation and an EP. Is the group unable to rest until it has recorded every song that can possibly celebrate the season, perhaps because of some sort of curse? Who can say! Clarkson, meanwhile, is nominated for When Christmas Comes Around . . ., which is only her second holiday release. Jones, for her part, is nominated for I Dream of Christmas, her rookie release of the holiday season.
The category isn’t technically called Best Christmas Album, and while sixty percent of the nominees were chosen for their holiday releases, the other two are just kind of generally corny: the trio of Texas revelers will also face off against Michael Bublé—no stranger to the Christmas-album racket—with a collection of covers and originals that sound like covers; as well as the legendary Diana Ross, whose Thank You is nominated as one of the better twenty-fifth solo albums ever recorded.
Is this Lizzo’s year?
Lizzo’s career didn’t actually start in 2019 with the release of her breakthrough Cuz I Love You, but it was the year the Grammys took notice of the Houston native. At the 2020 ceremony, she found herself nominated in eight categories, taking home three awards—however, she came up empty in the major categories, failing to win Best New Artist, Album of the Year, Song of the Year, or Record of the Year.
This time around, she’s back up for Album of the Year (for this year’s Special), Record of the Year (“About Damn Time”), and Song of the Year (in which she and her cowriters are also nominated for “About Damn Time”). All three categories are stacked—she’s up against Adele, Beyoncé, Kendrick Lamar, and Harry Styles in all of them—which makes it hard to imagine Lizzo getting the nod from a fairly staid Recording Academy. But everything about Lizzo’s career has been a bit of a surprise, so let’s keep our fingers crossed.
Why aren’t we talking about Texas’s return to country dominance?
Texas country music notched a big win in 2019, when Kacey Musgraves claimed Album of the Year. In the years since, though, Texas country hasn’t gone anywhere. While this year’s awards were largely dominated by Kentuckian Chris Stapleton, 2021 saw Best Country Album go to Longview native Miranda Lambert, while Best Country Song went to the Highwomen, the supergroup that includes native Texans Maren Morris and Amanda Shires. The previous year, West Texas legend Tanya Tucker took both Best Country Album and Best Country Song—two of the four country music categories—while another award, Best Country Solo Performance, went to Willie Nelson. It’s been a good stretch for Texas country music, is what we’re saying.
It’s poised to get better, too. There’s a Texan nominated in every category this year, and often more than one—Best Country Solo Performance and Best Country Album both include Lambert, Morris, and Willie as three of the five nominees, while Best Country Song includes Lambert and Morris, plus Rodney Crowell, as cowriters of three of the six nominated songs. Even Best Country Duo/Group Performance—a category in which our lone wolves are rarely competitive—has a nomination for Lambert (for her duet with Luke Combs, “Outrunnin’ Your Memory”) and even a surprise nod for Alison Krauss and former Texan Robert Plant, whom we will continue to claim for as long as we can get away with it.
All of which is to say: when we say “yee,” we ask that you, the good people of Texas, say “haw.” We’ve earned it.