After The Weeknd slammed The Grammys for snubbing him in their 2021 nominations, calling them "corrupt" and saying, "You owe me, my fans and the industry transparency," new interim Chief Harvey Mason jr has responded. In an interview with Variety, Mason said, "all the records get the fairest of fair shakes. We listen to all the music — even an album, you’re listening to almost the whole album, it takes I don’t know how many hours. It’s a long, arduous process and people take pride in it. The people in that room care: there’s no agendas in there, there’s no 'let’s snub this person' or that person. It’s about, 'Let’s try and find excellence.'"

Mason wouldn't confirm if The Weeknd had been on the "shortlist" for consideration in what is a two-part voting process, but says he feels "good" about this year's nominees, continuing, "we’re excited by the diversity and all the different genres, especially in the 'Big Four' categories."

Asked by Variety if he could "ever remember a bigger record being shut out of the nominations," Mason responded, "I can’t ever remember a time when we’ve had 23,000 entries — that is the most entries we’ve ever had. I can’t remember a time when we’ve ever had this much range of genres and different types of musicians and music all in the [top four] categories. It’s actually amazing."

Meanwhile, as far as staging the show during a pandemic, Mason told Variety they are "still kind of on the fence" about having any kind of in-person audience. "We definitely have a location in Downtown L.A., we have live performances, live awards, great hosts," he said. "It’s gonna be a show that’s different from the other awards shows that have happened at this point, we’re going to determine as we get a little bit closer what we’re going to do with our audience, but we have some really cool and special things that are coming together for our show."

Read the interview in full in Variety