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The international pop star backed out of her Grammy Awards slot on Sunday night, according to Variety, even though she was never officially confirmed to appear. Hopes were high for Swift to perform, and rehearsal schedules included a "TBA" slot, with speculation mounting that it would be hers.
But after ousted Recording Academy CEO Deborah Duga claimed the show is rigged and full of conflicts of interest, all signs reportedly point to Swift attempting to avoid the drama. Had she performed her feminist hit “The Man,” as reports indicated, the moment would have been even more awkward.
Refinery 29 reported that Swift's pulling out might actually be a statement in support of Dugan's outcry.
Questions have loomed for years around the nominations process for Grammys, and they reached a crescendo when, according to The Daily Beast, Dugan filed a lawsuit this week calling the Academy a “boy’s club” and alleging corrupt voting. Former CEO Neil Portnow denied Dugan's claim that there were rape allegations against him, according to Page Six.
The academy, which puts on the 62nd Grammys on Sunday, says nominees are selected from contenders who are voted into the Top 20 in each category. But some people view the voting process as less than transparent because the choice of finalists happens behind closed doors. That has stirred claims that members of key nominating committees promote projects they worked on or projects they favor based on personal relationships.
People have become more conscious of the idea that Grammys might be won “through all these nefarious, back-channel kinds of ways," said Robert Thompson, a trustee professor of television and popular culture at the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University.
Swift has been nominated for three Grammys this year including Song of the Year for “Lover,” even though her album was expected to pick up more. Fans on social media expressed outrage that it didn't land an Album of the Year nomination.
Swift claimed last year that her former record label was blocking her from playing her old hits at the American Music Awards, pleading on Twitter for fans to help her secure ownership of six multiplatinum albums she recorded with Big Machine Label Group.