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The Pop Solo Grammy Snubs Are Shocking

Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You” bested a nouveau country jam by Gaga, instant classic bops by P!nk and Kelly Clarkson, and a career redefining ballad by Kesha and I’m taking to the streets to protest. Memo to Ed Sheeran Nation: I’m not saying this to, what’s the word, Divide us. I don’t want to get you bent out of shape. Please stay in whatever shape you’re in, presumably that shape is… the shape of you. I’m just… thinking out loud.

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The facts are these: the four women nominated alongside Sheeran are legends. They should win Grammys just for showing up, honestly, but apparently that’s not how anything works. Regardless, P!nk’s “What About Us?”, from the October release Beautiful Trauma, is a classic track from the artist’s most recent iteration.

Personally, I’ve been stanning P!nk since she was an R&B diva in the TLC mold.

P!nk in the year 2000.

Getty Images

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Times have changed and so has she. This most recent P!nk has mastered the heart-wrenching rock ballad, creating a diary across albums. Her work of late has been brutally honest and vividly sung. It’s breathtaking. And speaking of breathtaking, um, P!nk is literally hanging off of buildings for your sins. What more do you want?

Meanwhile, Kelly Clarkson’s output has been consistently superb despite a publicly contentious relationship with Clive Owen. She only recently managed to herself from a contract that dated back to her American Idol days. In a recent interview with Variety, the singer said that her most recent release, Meaning of Life, is “the first record I’ve made that I didn’t call my mother, wanting to quit.”

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Meaning of Life, like Beautiful Trauma, showcases an iconic artist in full control of their voice and image. “Love So Soft,” the song for which Clarkson was nominated isn’t the best on the album—that distinction belongs to “Heat,” which deserves a single STAT—but it is a bop of the first order.

It’s easy to overlook feel-good music, the kind that comprise half of Kelly Clarkson’s hits. But these songs—the kinds that get on the dance floor at the club, the kinds that we blast with the windows down and the sun roof open, the songs that through their masterful production and their killer vocals are able to epitomize the joy of being alive—they’re not easy to make and they don’t come along every day.

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By the same token, songs that plumb emotional depths in the ways that “A Million Reasons” by Lady Gaga and the blockbuster “Praying” by Kesha also cannot be ignored.

Gaga’s Joanne, a country-rock paean her late aunt, is another reinvention for the chameleonic performer. Gaga has always been adept at serving visuals and vocals and her performances from Joanne are no exception.

While the album wasn’t the most successful of her career, it rose above the level of pastiche, proving once again that Gaga’s versatility is nearly unmatched in the industry.

And, finally, there’s Kesha, who recently emerged bigger and stronger after a bruising court battle with producer Dr. Luke. “Praying” is a battle cry, it is a declaration of victory, it is the musical equivalent of a phoenix rising from the ashes. Whomst among us has not been actually resurrected by her whistle tone in this song? Why is there not a Grammy for Whistle Tone That Stole Your Wig? Because this is it.

“Shape of You” was the best performing song of 2017, breaking a 59-year record for most weeks atop the Billboard 100. It is, indeed, a romantic jam. It’s well-produced and beautifully sung. Does it deserve an award? Sure, why not? It’s a good song. But, simply put, Ed Sheeran is no Gaga, Kesha, P!nk, or Kelly. Pop Solo was probably the most competitive category at the Grammys and this year, shockingly, the Grammys got it wrong.

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