Last week, Halsey could very much relate to Gretchen Wieners on candy cane day. Because when the Grammys were handing out the 2020 nominations, there were none for Halsey. Halsey qualified in multiple categories, but she didn’t get any. (Halsey has two prior Grammy nominations, both from 2016). Halsey was nominated for three American Music Awards, and when she won one of them last night, she made it pretty clear how she felt about that Grammy snub.
Halsey was up for Artist of the Year, Favorite Music Video (“Without Me“), and she won for Favorite Song – Pop/Rock (again, for “Without Me“). When she accepted the AMA – her first ever – she hugged her friend Taylor Swift, which could have been a sign that she was about to use her time at the mic to scream “Free Taylor!“. But Halsey has already publicly declared what side of that fight she’s on, so she kept it about her award. And here’s the thing – she doesn’t care about awards. Specifically – the heavy gold-plated ones handed out by music industry types.
“I grew up watching shows like this, and I would sit at home, wide-eyed, and watch artists in these beautiful gowns and handsome suits stroll up the stairs and hold these awards. They were usually gold-plated and shiny and weighted, these metaphors, right? These trophies that were supposed to be some kind of validation for the soul-crushing and heartache-inducing work of bringing a song to life. To be honest with you, I really believed that fairy tale. I believed these awards. When I was a kid, I used to believe this award was the ultimate validation, and I would come up here and laugh and cry, and my fans at home would rejoice.
But the truth us, I am older now and I’m also an artist, and apparently I’m doing okay. But most of these awards really aren’t what they seem, at all. But that’s okay, because I’m up here right now and I am so thankful to the AMAs, because they’re the largest fan-voted awards show. And I’m thankful to the fans, because they’re the people who really give a shit about music.”
So Halsey doesn’t want any stupid awards show validation, but the AMAs are a special exception, because they’re chosen by the people. How very Valerie Cherish of her!
The Grammys are voted on by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, a group comprised of musicians, producers, recording engineers, and other musical professionals. Their trophies are also gold-plated, and weigh six pounds. The “big three” music industry awards are considered to be the AMAs, the Grammys, and the Billboard Music Awards. The Billboard Music Award trophy is also gold in nature, and looks pretty heavy, but their awards are chosen based on chart performance. And considering we just experienced The Great Halsey Grammy Snub of 2019, there’s a 99% chance she’s talking about the Grammys.
This is kind of similar to what Drake said at this year’s Grammy ceremony, when he called out the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences for being out-of-touch, while literally receiving a Grammy award. The stakes of Halsey’s shady Grammy call-out are just a little higher. She just made it seem like an AMA is the pinnacle of success. Now if she does ever receive the music industry’s highest honor, she’s going to have to pretend that Grammy is some second-best, runner-up prize. “Oh this is just…fine (wipes away tear). It’s no AMA, but it’s something.”
Here’s Halsey on the red carpet before the show, looking like Mrs. Roper at a rave in another galaxy.