Pop newcomers Lizzo, Billie Eilish, and country rapper Lil Nas X dominated Grammy nominations on Wednesday in a list for the highest awards in the music industry that favoured diversity and women over established stars such as Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran.
Lizzo, the body-positive Truth Hurts and Juice singer, scored a leading eight nods, including in the top categories of album and record of the year and best new artist.
“Thank you,” tweeted Lizzo. “This has been an incredible year for music and I’m just so thankful to even be a part of it.”
Eilish, the 17-year-old Los Angeles Bad Guy alt-pop sensation, got six nods, along with black, gay country rapper Lil Nas X, 20, whose catchy Old Town Road with Billy Ray Cyrus topped the Billboard singles charts for a record 19 weeks this year.
The trio will compete in the album of the year race with indie band Bon Iver, pop-rocker Lana del Rey, pop singer Ariana Grande, rockers Vampire Weekend and R&B artist HER.
Grande got five nominations, including for her hit 7 Rings while Beyonce scored four, mostly for the songs she wrote for the new version of the animated film The Lion King, and for the Homecoming concert film of her 2018 Coachella show.
Five of the eight album of the year nominees were women and four female artists will compete for record of the year, injecting new life into the Grammy Awards that has a tradition of rewarding the same artists.
Deborah Dugan, the new chief executive of the Recording Academy whose members select the nominees and winners, said the nominations marked a new era for the organisation that “welcomes diversity, embraces creativity and champions young musicians on the rise”.
That meant that 10-time Grammy winner Swift, whose new album Lover is one of the year’s biggest sellers, was omitted for a second straight year from the album and record of the year categories, along with British singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran.
Swift got three nods – song of the year for Lover, best pop vocal album and pop solo performance.
Other acts snubbed by the Grammys included K-Pop band BTS, which has a huge following in the United States but got no nominations on Wednesday; Bruce Springsteen, whose album Western Stars was well reviewed; the newly re-united Jonas Brothers who got just one nod, for single Sucker; and British singers Sam Smith and Lewis Capaldi.
The Grammy Awards will be handed out in Los Angeles on January 26 in a ceremony hosted by Alicia Keys.