Chorney had been on an initial version of the ballot under best American roots song, for her “Bored.” That version of the list, which circulated outside the Recording Academy in the days before the nominations were announced on Nov. 23, also had just eight slots for the top four categories; the day before that announcement, the Grammys’ board approved increasing that number to 10, adding artists including West and Taylor Swift. When the final nominations list came out, Chorney had been replaced by another artist, though some news outlets online still included her name.
This week, the Grammys added Chorney back in. She had been removed, the academy said, because the accounting firm Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, the awards’ longtime partner in collecting and tabulating votes, had performed an “audit” on the votes she received, and the academy decided to remove her name from the ballot.
“That audit has now concluded, and Ms. Chorney’s recording has been added back in,” the academy said in a statement. “We apologize for any inconvenience this delay may have caused, but ensuring the integrity of our voting process is paramount.” It offered no explanation for how the early nominations list, which contained Chorney’s name, was released.
Why was the audit conducted? In an interview on Wednesday, Chorney said that Harvey Mason Jr., the academy’s chief executive, told her in a phone call this week that she had been “flagged” because of her previous public comments about the Grammys. In 2011, her “Emotional Jukebox” was a surprise nominee for best Americana album. She was criticized at the time for “gaming the system” — she acknowledged using the Grammys’ website to promote herself, a common and permitted tactic at the time — and said she even got death threats. She helped make a movie about the experience titled “When I Sing.”
Days after this year’s nominations were announced, the Grammys came under scrutiny for giving nominations to figures like Manson and Louis C.K., the comedian who in 2017 admitted to sexual misconduct. In a recent interview with The Wrap, Mason said that Grammy eligibility is based only on the recordings submitted for the awards, not any artist’s past behavior. “We won’t look back at people’s history,” he said.