Why Are So Many Big Artists Skipping The Grammys This Year?

The Grammy Awards are easily the most important night in the music industry. Every year, the greatest artists, from the chart-topping to the unknown, come together to celebrate each other. And the 59th annual Grammys, broadcasting live from L.A. on February 12, are shaping up to be as great as ever.

First-time host James Corden should be hilarious. The nominees are, for the most part, representative of the most talented and listened-to musicians of 2016 — with Adele, Beyoncé, Drake, Rihanna, and Kanye West dominating. And the lineup of performers is just as impressive. Adele, John Legend, Alicia Keys, Carrie Underwood, The Weeknd, Daft Punk, Bruno Mars, and more will be taking the stage.

But when it comes to the guest list, there's a curious collection of big-name artists missing from the list of expected attendees. Frank Ocean will most definitely not be attending. Neither will Drake. Kanye has made clear he doesn't have plans to be there, either. And according to reports, Justin Bieber and Taylor Swift will be skipping the ceremony as well.

So, what's the deal? Why are so many people, including those nominated for a slew of trophies, forgoing the Grammys this year? The reasons vary, from being on a different continent from taking a political stance, but they're all pretty interesting. Check them out, ahead. And tune in to see the artists who will be there on Sunday, February 12 at 8 p.m. on CBS.
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Photo: Kevin Mazur/WireImage.
Kanye West
The least surprising name on this list has been drumming up his anticipated absence since last year. A couple weeks after skipping the 2016 show, West took to Twitter to deride the event. "I feel the Grammy awarding system is way off and completely out of touch," he wrote in a series of tweets.

Then, during an Oakland show in October, the rapper — nominated for eight awards this year — spoke up in praise of Frank Ocean. "I'll tell you this right now: If [Ocean's] album is not nominated in no categories, I'm not showing up to the Grammys," he said, per Us Weekly. "As artists, we've got to come together to fight the bullshit."
Alas, Ocean was not nominated (more on that in a minute), so we assume we won't be seeing Yeezy this year.

But Grammys producer Ken Ehrlich hasn't given up hope. "We've worked with Kanye many number of times and we've actually been very much involved in the successes that he's had," he told ET. "Some of his greatest performances have been on the Grammys. I would sure love to see him in the house."
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Photo: Matt Baron/REX/Shutterstock.
Justin Bieber
Bieber is rumored to be sitting out the ceremony in solidarity with West. The singer, who scored four nods, hasn't actually made any statements on his attendance. But given his rebellious tendencies of late, we wouldn't be surprised. (He skipped the VMAs in August, reportedly for an evening of drunk karaoke.)

Show producer Ken Ehrlich isn't offering any assurances. He told ET that they'd "love" to have Bieber (and Kanye) again. "We're actually still talking to Justin...You never know."



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Photo: Jeff Kravitz/AMA2016/FilmMagic.
Drake
Although he's nominated for eight awards, Drizzy won't be there to collect any potential wins. He has a legit excuse, though: a stop on his just-launched Boy Meets World Tour in Manchester, England. (We're also not ruling out a post-show FaceTime session with Jennifer Lopez.)
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Photo: Larry Busacca/Getty Images.
Frank Ocean
Ocean is the only artist to articulate directly to the press his decision not to attend the show. He explained to The New York Times in November why he decided not to submit his long-awaited August release Blonde for consideration. Essentially, he's protesting an outdated institution which has only awarded Album of the Year to a handful of Black musicians.

"That institution certainly has nostalgic importance," he said. "It just doesn’t seem to be representing very well for people who come from where I come from, and hold down what I hold down." He added, "I think the infrastructure of the awarding system and the nomination system and screening system is dated...I’d rather this be my Colin Kaepernick moment for the Grammys than sit there in the audience."




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Photo: Darron Cummings/AP/REX/Shutterstock.
Taylor Swift
The Grammy queen of 2016 was nominated for seven awards last year, winning three. But without no new album in 2016 and zero nominations this year, the singer is expected to skip the event.

"I don't think Taylor's really going to be a part of the show this year," Grammys producer Ken Ehrlich told ET this week. "She did pretty well last year. The word is, 'off-cycle.' You know, [she] doesn't have anything to do, isn't really nominated." He added, "Expect her to be back big next year, but probably not this year."
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