Why the Chainsmokers winning the Grammy for best new artist would be unforgivable


If you thought Meghan Trainor winning best new artist at the Grammys in 2016 was questionable, 2017 could prove to even more unforgiving if the Chainsmokers win best new artist over Chance the Rapper. It could happen given the history of the category.

This year, the nominees for best new artist include the Chainsmokers, Chance the Rapper, Maren Morris, Anderson .Paak and Kelsea Ballerini. Of the nominees included in this year's batch of freshmen, few stand out like Chance the Rapper, who had an incredible breakout year with his album Coloring Book. 

Over the years, the Recording Academy has made some dubious choices in the best new artist category. We're not sure when we will get over Maroon 5 beating Kanye West in 2005, fun. winning over Frank Ocean in 2013 or LeAnn Rimes winning over No Doubt in 1997. In hindsight, some of the wins become more egregious with time, like Esperanza Spalding winning over Drake, Justin Bieber, Mumford & Sons and Florence and the Machine in 2011.

But the category has gotten it right too. Like when Lauryn Hill beat the Backstreet Boys in 1999, Amy Winehouse won over Taylor Swift in 2008 and Adele beat out the Jonas Brothers in 2009. 

Sure, the Chainsmokers were met with a lot of success last year thanks to their song "Closer," featuring Halsey. It was an inescapable track that became more grating the more weeks it stayed at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, nearly dethroning Mariah Carey, a previous best new artist winner, of her long-standing record, with Boyz II Men.

If the Chainsmokers win Sunday night, it's another missed opportunity to actually award the best new artist, not the most successful. While the Chainsmokers will probably have countless more hits over the years, Chance the Rapper already shows longevity this early in his career — and his 2016 was unmatched. 

The Grammys air on CBS Sunday at 8 p.m. Eastern.

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