Think what you want about Iggy Azalea, but her hit song “Fancy” won Top Rap Song fair and square, according to Dick Clark Productions, presenter of the 2015 Billboard Music Awards.
The awards show drew fierce criticism Sunday for naming “Fancy” as Top Rap Song over Nicki Minaj’s “Anaconda,” among others. Critics said Azalea’s song, which featured the British singer/songwriter Charli XCX, was ineligible because it was released too early to qualify.
Billboard’s presenter disagreed. “It was eligible,” a spokeswoman for Dick Clark Productions told International Business Times on Tuesday.
Over the last two days, almost 10,000 people signed a petition demanding that the Billboard Music Awards retract Azalea’s award. According to the petition, the eligibility time period began on March 10, 2014, but “Fancy” was released on Feb. 17, 2014 -- almost two weeks before eligibility began.
“This is unfair to the other nominees in these category, especially to ‘Anaconda’ by Nicki Minaj, who most likely would’ve won,” the petition states. “Billboard did not follow their own guidelines and should have to recalculate these nominations without ‘Fancy’ as a nominee.”
However, unlike most other major awards, the Billboard Music Awards are based on Nielsen sales data and chart performance, not the song’s release date. The 2015 awards used a “reporting period” of March 10, 2014, through March 8, 2015,” not a release date.
The petitioners are not alone in being confused by Billboard’s eligibility guidelines. Last year, Pitchfork wrote a blog post on the issue. “The problem isn’t with Billboard’s formula, it’s with Billboard’s calendar,” the site wrote. “You might think that an awards show crowning the biggest music of the year would define ‘the year’ from January to December, or something close to it. Think again.”
While many of the petition’s supporters seemed to earnestly believe the song should be disqualified on a technicality, others seemed to lend their support either because they are staunch fans of Minaj or because they simply don’t like Azalea. “Nicki Minaj deserved to win this award 100% because she has succeeded a lot this year and she should get her credit,” one petitioner wrote.