Grammys Change Eligibility Rules Due to Gaga Exclusion

By Michael Preston
|  Thursday, Jul 8, 2010  |  Updated 4:24 AM EDT
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Lady Gaga was generally acclaimed to be the most popular new artist of 2009. But due to an outdated rules system, the Fame Monster wasn’t eligible to snag a Grammy for best newcomer because “Just Dance,” her first major hit, was nominated the previous year in a different category.

Oops.

To prevent that situation from happening again, the Recording Academy, which presides over the Grammys, released revised guidelines this week which determine the conditions under which an artist can still qualify as a new artist. The new rules allow previous Grammy nominees to be eligible, as long as the artist hasn't released an entire album and doesn't win.

"More and more, the first release of a new artist is as a featured artist on someone else's album or the new artist may release a single long before the release of his/her/their entire first album," the Academy said in a statement.

"By current rules, if the other artist's album or the new artist's single receives a nomination, the new artist may never have the opportunity to compete in the best new artist category. With this change, each artist will have at least one opportunity to enter in this important and highly visible category."

Changes were also announced in other categories. Classical producers no longer have to submit a minimum of three recordings to be eligible for a nomination for classical producer of the year, and like non-classical producers, can submit just one recording.

In addition, classical box sets will be eligible if more than 51 percent of the material is at least 5 years old.

The Academy also voted to exclude all Grammy performances, and performances during any Recording Academy event, from consideration for a Grammy. The change was made to ensure the "integrity of The Recording Academy and to be completely impartial in our awards process."

In regards to Gaga, she might want to thank her lucky stars that she didn’t win the coveted trophy, which would have placed her alongside such hallowed acts as Milli Vanilli, Arrested Development and Hootie and The Blowfish.

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