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5 Things You Need To Know About The GRAMMY Category Changes

Usher poses with his GRAMMYs - Wireimage

It just got harder for your faves to get nominated for GRAMMY awards.

In a press conference today (April 6), the Recording Academy announced a restructuring in several GRAMMY categories. While all of the fields remain intact, the categories for the 54th annual GRAMMY Awards are down to 78 compared to the 109 categories at the 53rd annual event.

Here are 5 of the major changes you need to know about:

1. No more gender separation: There’s is no longer a separation between “Best Male…” and “Best Female…” The men and women will vie for the same trophy in fields including pop, R&B, and country. (Lady Gaga and Bruno Mars are the last to win Best Female and Best Male Pop Vocal Performance, Usher and Fantasia are the last to win Best Male and Best Female R&B Vocal Performance, and Miranda Lambert and Keith Urban are the last to win Best Female and Best Male Country Vocal Performance.)

2. Changes in Pop: This year, the pop field had 7 categories. Next year, it will be cut down to 4. With the male and female category being merged, Best Male/Female Pop Vocal Performance will be rolled into Best Pop Solo Performance. Best Pop Performance by a Duo/Group and Best Pop Collaboration has been merged into Best Pop Duo/Group Performance. Best Pop Instrumental Performance is gone (since none of the categories honoring songs specify whether it’s a vocal or instrumental performance, there is no need for a separate category), but Best Pop Instrumental Album and Best Pop Vocal Album remain segregated.

3. Changes in R&B: There’s a whole lot of slashing and merging going on in the R&B category since the last GRAMMYs. The 8 categories are down to 4. Best Urban/Alternative Performance, which almost always recognized the indie and underrated, has been cut. Categories recognizing performances by the Best Duo/Group, Male, and Female are merged into simply Best R&B Performance. Best Traditional R&B Performance remains, though “vocal” has been omitted from the title. Best R&B Song is the same, but Best Contemporary R&B Album has been merged into Best R&B Album (if this were to happen at this year’s awards, soul singers like Jahiem and Raheem DeVaughn would have to go head-to-head with more pop-leaning acts like Usher and Chris Brown in this category).

4. Changes in Rap: Those posse cuts will now face off with the solo tracks. The only change in the rap category is Best Rap Performance by a Duo/Group and Best Rap Solo Performance merging together. Best Rap Album, Best Rap Song, and Best Rap/Sung Collaboration are untouched.

5. Changes in Country: The 7 categories from this year has been cut down to 4 for next year’s GRAMMYs. The Best Male/Female is merged into Best Country Solo Performance. Best Country Collaboration with Vocals is dissolved into Best Country Duo/Group Performance. Best Country Instrumental Performance is axed completely, while Best Country Song and Best Country Album remain the same.

A full explanation of the changes can be seen here.

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