Last year, fine print in the Grammy rulebook prevented Lady Gaga from being nominated for Best New Artist — an award she likely would have won — and the show’s producers promised to look into what fans perceived as a monster snub. “There will be some changes so that particular scenario won’t repeat itself,” Recording Academy President Neil Portnow said in December 2009. Now the Grammy committee has announced an amendment to its official criteria for the category.
According to the rule change, an artist will be eligible for Best New Artist even if they are nominated for one of their own singles (and don’t win) or feature on another artist’s nominated compilation or album before releasing their own full album. Last year, Lady Gaga was ineligible for the category at the 52nd Grammy Awards because her single “Just Dance” was nominated for Best Dance Song at the 51st Grammys. With Gaga out of the competition, the award went to the Zac Brown Band.
The most immediate beneficiary of the rule change is Drake. The up-and-coming MC was nominated for Best Rap Song and Best Rap Solo Performance for “Best I Ever Had” at the 2010 ceremony. However, since he lost in both categories, and his debut album Thank Me Later was just released last month, the Toronto rapper seems like a lock to be nominated in the Best New Artist category in 2011.