Grammy surprises explained: BTS, Bonnie Raitt and more

Every Grammy year brings intense discourse, and part of it is usually centered around those WTF picks that most people weren’t expecting. While most of them can be explained logically, it is still wild to see one or two expected nominees take a hit for a song or album that seemed to come out of nowhere. With that in mind, here are five shocking nominations from this year’s eclectic list.

Bonnie Raitt, “Just Like That” (Song of the Year)
Perhaps the most head-scratching addition to the Song of the Year lineup to most people was Bonnie Raitt’s “Just Like That.” Once you listen to the song, though, it’s clear why it has such a devoted following: it’s a captivating storytelling-based song about loss and faith written by Raitt herself. The song is not only very emotional, it also marks Raitt’s return to music: it’s the title track from her first studio album in six years. Plus, if you think about it, it didn’t come completely out of nowhere either. Americana has been doing very well at the Grammys these past few years, and Raitt has always been a Grammy favorite, taking home Album of the Year for “Nick of Time” in 1990.

Bad Bunny, “Moscow Mule” (Best Pop Solo Performance)
Now this was a very welcome surprise. Bad Bunny’s “Moscow Mule” was a Pop Solo pick that most people had lingering around their top 10, but ultimately not in their final predictions. Luckily, though, the breezy and atmospheric banger managed to earn its place among the final six nominees, demonstrating the Puerto Rican artist’s major industry traction right now. “Moscow Mule” is not only excellent, but also perfectly encapsulates the essence of “Un Verano Sin Ti,” serving as the opening track for that hit album that earned a bid for Album of the Year. Bad Bunny being able to hold his own against more conventional picks like Adele’s “Easy On Me,” Harry Styles’s “As It Was,” and Lizzo’s “About Damn Time” is telling of how much the industry is in love with the Latin superstar.

BTS, “Yet To Come” (Best Music Video)
In principle, a Best Music Video nomination for BTS shouldn’t really be a shock. The Korean boy band has one of the most exquisite and diverse videographies of any artist in recent years. However, since the Grammys have ignored all of their previous videos, it was a welcome surprise to see them finally get their due in the category. “Yet To Come” is a beautiful video, gorgeously shot and serving as a great swan song for BTS before their announced hiatus. The nomination is significant because of the video’s quality, but also because it serves as the first time the band has gotten nominated outside of the pop field, showing that the academy truly embraces and respects their artistry and contributions to the music industry as a whole.

Jack Harlow, “Come Home The Kids Miss You” (Best Rap Album)
Jack Harlow is definitely very hot right now, but it was a shock to many to see him fully embraced in the rap field. A nomination for his number-one hit “First Class” was an obvious lock, but “Come Home The Kids Miss You,” which got bad reviews, was not really expected to break through with a Best Rap Album nomination. Harlow is clearly respected in the industry, with this being his third year nominated in the rap field, an impressive streak compared to most other white rappers who have shown up at the Grammys save Eminem. It seems like Harlow is really here to stay in the hip-hop game, and the industry seems to be backing that up.

“Keep Rising” from “The Woman King” (Best Song Written for Visual Media)
This year’s Best Song Written for Visual Media race was one of the most intense in years, with superstars like H.E.R., Ariana Grande, and OneRepublic all missing the cut. With that in mind, it’s a welcome surprise to see “Keep Rising,” a song by icon Angelique Kidjo, nominated alongside big pop names like Beyoncé and Billie Eilish. It wasn’t out of nowhere, though. Kidjo is a big Grammy favorite, earning five wins for Best Global Music Album. Still, it was a shock to see her in such a crowded category, but a delight to see the category extending beyond the typical household names.

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