2014 Grammy Nominations: 5 Biggest Controversies

Miley Cyrus and Lady Gaga snubbed? Lorde overlooked for best new artist? We're surprised, too!

On Friday, the nominees for the 56th Grammy Awards were announced -- and they were refreshingly unpredictable. Jay Z led with nine nominations, but who would have expected Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, or Kendrick Lamar, to be right on his heels with seven each? Electronic musician James Blake cracked the best new artist category. Meanwhile, Taylor Swift's Red was shunted off to the country categories (except for a notable album of the year nod). Bruno Mars was shut out of the album of the year race, while Daft Punk and Sara Bareilles were welcomed in. And there are plenty of other decisions that surprised, delighted and enraged music fans. Here, the five biggest Grammy nomination controversies (so far).

1. Best New Artist Leaves Out Lorde
The 17-year-old New Zealand singer behind the massive hit "Royals" earned four nominations this year, yet was somehow not included on the best new artist slate. Producer Jimmy Jam tried to explain the snub by telling the press that Lorde "skipped a grade" by being so successful right out of the gate -- but then immediately contradicted himself by suggesting that she's simply too new to qualify. "Sometimes I think the Grammy voters like to say 'Well, let's see what else you have before we say you're the best new artist,'" he explained. Uh-huh. Or maybe the category is totally arbitrary. This year's nominees include James Blake, Kendrick Lamar, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Kacey Musgraves and Ed Sheeran.

2. Best Solo Pop Performance Pits Katy Perry Against Sara Bareilles
Fans of indie singer-songwriter Bareilles got two happy surprises on Friday: her album The Blessed Unrest is up for album of the year, and her song "Brave" is nominated for best solo pop performance. One of her competitors in the latter category is Perry, for her song "Roar" -- which bears a notable resemblance to "Brave." (Bareilles' song came first.) There's no animosity between the singers, who happen to be friends, but don't be surprised if the "Did Katy rip Sara off?" debate gets reignited over this.

3. Miley Cyrus & Lady Gaga Get Nada
She may have been the most talked-about artist of the year, but Cyrus didn't earn a single Grammy nomination for her 2013 singles "We Can't Stop" and "Wrecking Ball." Gaga didn't earn any nods for "Applause," either. (It should be noted, however, that their albums Bangerz and ARTPOP are eligible for next year's, not this year's, Grammys.) Other popular artists who were overlooked entirely: Justin Bieber, Demi Lovato, Selena Gomez, Ariana Grande and One Direction.

4. Justin Timberlake Skips the Big Categories
The comeback kid racked up seven nominations, but failed to crack the top three categories: The 20/20 Experience was passed over for album of the year, and "Mirrors" failed to be nominated for either record or song of the year. It's particularly surprising since Timberlake just took home two American Music Awards for favorite male artist and favorite R&B album.

5. The Rock Categories Are Full of Old People
Hey, we love David Bowie and Led Zeppelin as much as anybody. But should the categories of best rock performance, best metal performance, best rock song and best rock album be dominated by artists who peaked more than 40 years ago? Other old-timers nominated in these fields: The Rolling Stones, Neil Young, Paul McCartney and Black Sabbath.

Donna Kaufman is a freelance writer and iVillage contributor. Find her on Twitter and Google+

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