The Recording Academy expanded several categories just one day prior to announcing the full slate of nominees, which added nods for ABBA, Lil Nas X, Doja Cat, and more.

This story has been updated with a new statement from the Recording Academy.

Kanye West, Taylor Swift, Lil Nas X, ABBA, Doja Cat, and Brandi Carlile received last-minute Grammy nods this year after the Recording Academy expanded several top categories just 24 hours before revealing its annual slate of nominations.

Though the Academy's chief executive, Harvey Mason Jr., initially touted the shift as the group's intention "to make room for more music, more artists and more genres, and to embrace the spirit of inclusion" amid other behind-the-scenes changes to the organization's controversial nomination process, The New York Times reported that the decision was only made on Monday — hours before Mason, H.E.R., Billie Eilish, and others revealed this year's nominees during a live stream event.

Swift's Evermore and West's Donda were reportedly added to the Grammys' Album of the Year category following the decision, joining the roster of existing nominees including Justin Bieber, Olivia Rodrigo, Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga, Doja Cat, H.E.R., Billie Eilish, Lil Nas X, and Jon Batiste.

Record of the Year category additions under the change included Lil Nas X's "Montero (Call Me by Your Name)" and ABBA's "I Still Have Faith in You," the band's first-ever Grammy nod; Song of the Year additions under the abrupt shift included Doja Cat's SZA-assisted bop "Kiss Me More" and "Right on Time" by Carlile, who was already nominated in the category for co-writing Alicia Keys' "A Beautiful Noise."

The Times discovered the additions after cross-checking the final nominations list with an earlier draft of the lineup that included only eight names in the categories.

Kanye West and Taylor Swift were added to the Grammy nominations 24 hours before the announcement.
Kanye West and Taylor Swift were added to the Grammy nominations 24 hours before the announcement.

The Recording Academy did not immediately respond to EW's request for confirmation on The New York Times report, though the group's co-president, Valeisha Butterfield Jones, told the publication that while the decision might've seemed "rushed," she feels "it really was a thoughtful, well intentioned process that was also data-driven" that Mason added had been under consideration for years. Academy representatives further maintained that West, Swift, and more were only added because they received the most votes, and that the decision to expand the categories was made without knowing which artists would benefit from the change.

Mason issued a further statement on Thursday evening to address "suggestive and sometimes erroneous reports" he'd seen about the late additions, dismissing it as "counter-narratives to stir drama and drive clicks."

"Our music industry has so much to be thankful for," Mason said in a Thanksgiving Day statement. "The love and passion for what our community has produced has also led to one of the most robust nominating processes in the history of our Academy. I applaud our Board of Trustees, for having the agility and foresight to approve this expansion as a way to honor more music, more artists and more genres. And yes, they did it quickly and decisively, and they did it without knowing who the additional nominees would be. For those who would suggest any counter-narratives to stir drama and drive clicks, I would ask that you please take a fresh look at the new Recording Academy." (Read his full statement here.)

The Times noted that the change was unbeknownst to voters, and marks the latest in a recent line of controversies for the Recording Academy. Former executive Deborah Dugan was dismissed in 2020 after alleging internal conflicts of interest as well as harassment cover-ups within the collective.

The Grammys also nixed its controversial anonymous nomination review committees — which funneled voter selections down for the final ballot — ahead of the 2022 ceremony, following complaints from artists that the process led to internal manipulation. Most notably, Canadian superstar the Weeknd said he would boycott the Grammys after his highly successful album After Hours — including the smash hit "Blinding Lights," which Billboard recently tabulated as the most successful song in Hot 100 history — received no nods at the 2021 ceremony.

Grammy 2022 winners will be determined by a vote from the Recording Academy's 11,000 members, and will be announced across CBS' telecast on Monday, Jan. 31.

Check out more from EW's The Awardist, featuring Oscars analysis, exclusive interviews, and our podcast diving into all the highlights from the year's movies and performances.

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