If any artist made a significant comeback this year, it's Lorde. The singer's sophomore album Melodrama received both critical acclaim and mainstream chart success, making it one of the most noteworthy releases of the year. Melodrama is nominated for Album of the Year, but Lorde won't perform at the 2018 Grammy Awards, as reported by Variety. The singer was reportedly not invited to perform solo, unlike other nominees in her category. She was instead reportedly asked to participate in a group performance with other artists. Bustle reached out to Lorde's reps and the Grammys regarding the reported solo and group performance invitations; Lorde's reps declined to comment. The Grammys have yet to respond.
It's also significant to note that all the other performers — who were offered solo spots — are male. The gender-disparity at the Grammy Awards might explain Lorde's choice not to appear or perform. On Jan. 26, her mother Sonya Yelich tweeted out a snippet from the New York Times that criticized the lack of women nominated for Grammy Awards. Yelich circled a section that read: "Of the 899 people nominated in the last six Grammy Awards, the report found 9 percent were women. This year, Lorde is the only woman nominated for album of the year; she is not scheduled to perform." In response to the report, her mother also wrote "this says it all," further suggesting that Lorde's decision not to appear on the Grammy stage has political motivations.
According to Variety, the Grammys approached Lorde about participating in a Tom Petty tribute, performing his song "American Girl." If the reports are true, it makes sense that Lorde, who is from New Zealand, might turn down this offer. (Bustle reached out to the Grammys about the tribute, but has not yet heard back. When asked about the tribute, Lorde's reps declined to comment to Bustle.).
It's worth noting that the Grammy Awards has a history of favoring white and male performers and in recent years, there hasn't been much progress. When Adele's 25 won over Beyoncé's groundbreaking visual album Lemonade, it was controversial. The nominees this year are more diverse, but it's a small step forward. However, the lack of women nominated and appearing on the stage this year shows that both the awards and the music industry has a long way to go in means of representation for women. A report from the Los Angeles Times released on Jan. 28 stated that more than 90 percent of recent Grammy nominees are men.
Lorde is in New York this week, and performed in several high-profile concerts. The singer appeared with Jack Antonoff on Wednesday at a fundraiser for Coalition Ally, an organization the producer founded with his sister Rachel Antonoff that aims to end LGBTQ discrimination. Lorde performed a four-song set with Jack Antonoff, and her cover of Carly Rae Jepson's "Run Away" and a Dolores O'Riordan tribute went viral. The star was also in the news when an audience member at the same event tried to heckle the singer for her decision to cancel a concert in Israel, in protest of the country's policy toward Palestine. Antonoff shut the heckler down, but the exchange made headlines.
Even though Lorde won't perform at the Awards, the singer is still considered a favorite to win Album of the Year. The other nominees include Jay-Z for 4:44, Kendrick Lamar's DAMN, Bruno Mars' album 24K Magic, and Childish Gambino for Awaken, My Love!. The last time Lorde attended the Grammys was 2014, when she was nominated in four categories. She won two awards: Song of the Year and Best Pop Solo Performance. Lorde did appear at the Grammy MusiCares Concert on Jan. 26. The star performed at a triumphant cover of Stevie Nick's "Silver Springs".
The performances that Lorde gave this week were powerful, and it's a shame that she won't appear on the Grammys stage. If the reports about Lorde's performance offers are true, then the event has a long way to go if it wants to truly promote equal representation in the music industry.
The Grammy Awards air on Sunday on CBS. The show will take place at Madison Square Garden in New York City, and it's unclear if Lorde will attend the event, even though she is not performing. While all the Album of the Year nominees were worthy, the songs from Melodrama not be performed on stage will be a huge missing at the 2018 Grammys.