McCartney vs. Springsteen vs. Beyoncé & More Music-Oriented Takeaways From 2019 Emmy Nominations


Sobering sexual abuse documentaries about music superstars Michael Jackson & R. Kelly are also nominated.

Three of the biggest music stars on the planet, Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen and Beyoncé, are competing for an Emmy for best variety special, pre-recorded. Carpool Karaoke: When Corden Met McCartney Live From Liverpool, Springsteen on Broadway and Homecoming: A Film by Beyoncé are among the nominees. All three artists have received multiple Emmy nominations in the past, but none has yet won. The nominations for the 71st annual Emmy Awards were announced Tuesday morning (July 16).

Two previous Carpool Karaoke specials won in this category in 2016-17. The other nominees in the category are Hannah Gadsby: Nanette and Wanda Sykes: Not Normal. All of these shows aired on Netflix, except for the Carpool Karaoke installment on CBS.

Here are a dozen other twists and turns in the nominations list for the 71st annual Emmy Awards, with a focus on names from the music world. (For a fuller list of this year's nominations, go here.)

-Two sobering looks at music superstars are nominated. Leaving Neverland, HBO's wrenching documentary in which two men claim that Michael Jackson molested them when they were boys, is competing for an Emmy for best documentary or nonfiction special. Lifetime's Surviving R. Kelly, which examines charges against R&B star R. Kelly, is nominated for best informational series or special. In happier times, Jackson received an Emmy nomination for his performance on the 1983 special Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever, where he unveiled his moonwalk.

-The Grammys (CBS) were nominated for best variety special (live) for the second year in a row (and the fourth time in the past decade). They face three other award shows — the Oscars (ABC), the Golden Globes (NBC) and the Tonys (CBS) — as well as Rent (Fox) and Live in Front of a Studio Audience: Norman Lear's All in the Family and the Jeffersons (ABC). Live renditions of Broadway shows have won in this category in two of the last three years. Grease: Live (also on Fox) won three years ago. Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert (NBC) won last year.

-NBC's The Voice, which has won outstanding competition program four times (but lost last year to RuPaul's Drag Race on VH1), is nominated again in that category. This is the eighth nomination for The Voice, which is just one shy of American Idol as the top music program in the history of the category. Idol was nominated in each of its first nine seasons (but not since then). RuPaul's Drag Race is also back in the running. The other nominees are The Amazing Race (CBS), American Ninja Warrior (NBC), Nailed It! (Netflix) and Top Chef (Bravo).

T Bone Burnett, who has won 13 Grammys and an Oscar, is vying to win his first Emmy. He is nominated for outstanding music composition for a limited series, movie or special (original dramatic score) for his work with co-nominee Keefus Ciancia on HBO's True Detective. The other nominees are Hildur Guðnadóttir for Chernobyl (HBO), Edward Shearmur for Escape at Dannemora (Showtime), David Arnold for Good Omens (Prime Video) and Kris Bowers for When They See Us (Netflix).

-Ramin Djawadi, who won an Emmy last year for outstanding music composition for a series (original dramatic score) for his work on HBO's Game of Thrones, is nominated again in that category for the show's final season. The other nominees are David Wingo for HBO's Barry, Adam Taylor for Hulu's The Handmaid's Tale, Jeff Beal for Netflix's House of Cards and Siddhartha Khosla for NBC's This Is Us.

-Rickey Minor has two of the nominations for outstanding music direction. He is nominated for his work on the Oscars (ABC) and on Aretha! A Grammy Celebration for the Queen of Soul (CBS). The other nominees are Alex Lacamoire for Fosse/Verdon (FX Networks) Beyoncé Knowles-Carter and Derek Dixie for Homecoming: A Film by Beyoncé (Netflix), Greg Phillinganes for Q85: A Musical Celebration for Quincy Jones (BET Networks) and Leon Pendarvis and Eli Brueggemann for Saturday Night Live (NBC).

-Miriam Cutler has two of the nominations for outstanding music composition for a documentary series or special (original dramatic score). She is nominated for her work on two CNN films about noteworthy women, Love, Gilda and RBG. The other nominees are Marco Beltrami and Brandon Roberts for Free Solo (National Geographic), Hannah Peel for Game of Thrones (HBO), Benjamin Wallfisch for Hostile Planet (National Geographic) and Steven Price for Our Planet (Netflix).

Sara Bareilles and Josh Groban, who hosted the 2018 Tony Awards (CBS), are nominated for outstanding original music and lyrics for "This One's for You," which they wrote for the show. Fun fact: If they win, they'll win an Emmy before either has won a Grammy. Bareilles has amassed seven Grammy noms without winning. Groban has four.

-Fosse/Verdon, FX's eight-part series about Bob Fosse and Gwen Verdon, is nominated for best limited series. The other nominees are Chernobyl (HBO), Escape at Dannemora (Showtime), Sharp Objects (HBO) and When They See Us (Netflix). Fosse won three Emmys in 1973 for his work on Liza Minnelli's classic special Liza with a Z. (He also won an Oscar and two Tonys that year.)

-HBO's Last Week Tonight With John Oliver, which has won best outstanding variety talk series the last three years running, is seeking to defend its title. The field is exactly the same as it was last year—The Daily Show with Trevor Noah (Comedy Central), Full Frontal with Samantha Bee (TBS), Jimmy Kimmel Live! (ABC), The Late Late Show with James Corden (CBS) and The Late Show with Stephen Colbert (CBS). This is the eighth nomination for Kimmel's show, the fifth for Oliver's, the fourth for Corden's, the third for Colbert's and Bee's and the second for Noah's.

-NBC's Saturday Night Live is nominated for outstanding variety sketch series. This is the show's 24th nomination in this category (or a related category, outstanding variety series). The other nominees are At Home with Amy Sedaris (truTV), Documentary Now! (IFC), Drunk History (Comedy Central), I Love You, America with Sarah Silverman (Hulu) and Who Is America? (Showtime).

RuPaul, who won outstanding host for a reality or competition program the last three years for hosting RuPaul's Drag Race (VH1), is nominated again this year. If he wins, he'll tie Jeff Probst of CBS's juggernaut Survivor for the most wins in the category's history. The other nominees are Ellen DeGeneres for Ellen's Game of Games (NBC), Nick Offerman for Making It (NBC), Marie Kondo for Tidying Up with Marie Kondo (Netflix)and James Corden for The World's Best (CBS).

The Emmy Awards will be presented Sept. 22 at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. Fox will carry the telecast.