The Weeknd, Dolly Parton, ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic Among Emmy Music Entries



Three months from now, the Weeknd might just have an Emmy to place alongside his four Grammys and his Oscar nomination.

That’s because he joins a dozen other music superstars — including Dolly Parton, Common, Ryan Tedder, “Weird Al” Yankovic and Meshell Ndegeocello — who have entered work in this year’s Emmy competition.

Voting began yesterday in the seven music categories. Approximately 550 members of the Academy’s music branch (composers, songwriters, music directors, orchestrators or music supervisors) will cast ballots, although viewing the hundreds of entries before voting ends on June 26 is an impossible task, Academy officials privately concede.

The Weeknd, aka Abel Tesfaye, is among the 19 entries in the Music Direction category. He submitted “The Weeknd Live at Sofi Stadium,” an HBO special that aired in February. If nominated, he’s likely to be up against such past winners as Adam Blackstone (entered for the “Super Bowl LVII Half-time Show,” “Rock & Roll Hall of Fame” ceremony and Rihanna’s “Savage X Fenty Show”) and Rickey Minor (“The Oscars”).

Most of the big-name performers have entered the song category (officially Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics). Parton, who won an Emmy two years ago as a producer of her TV movie “Christmas on the Square,” submitted songs from NBC’s “Dolly Parton’s Mountain Magic Christmas” and HBO’s “Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony.”

Also entering songs are Kid Cudi from Netflix’s “Entergalactic,” David Byrne from Netflix’s “John Mulaney: Baby J,” Ryan Tedder from Peacock’s “Pitch Perfect: Bumper in Berlin,” Donald Glover from Prime Video’s “Swarm,” Yankovic from Roku’s “Weird: The Al Yankovic Story,” Steve Martin from Hulu’s “Only Murders in the Building” and Lainey Wilson from Paramount’s “Yellowstone.”

In all, 80 songs are entered, including three each from Prime Video’s “Daisy Jones & the Six” (including one by Marcus Mumford) and Paramount+’s “Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies.” Oscar winners Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz entered a song from Disney+’s “Disenchanted,” and fellow Oscar winners Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez entered Hulu’s “Up Here” in two categories: original song and main title theme.

Music-heavy “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” (Thomas Mizer and Curtis Moore, on Prime Video) and “Schmigadoon!” (Cinco Paul, on Apple TV+) entered one song apiece.

The high-profile musicians among the 158 entries for Outstanding Music Composition for a Series include Common for Netflix’s “Mo,” P.J. Harvey for Apple TV+’s “Bad Sisters,” Meshell Ndegeocello for Starz’s “BMF,” T Bone Burnett for FX’s “The Old Man” and Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis for Hulu’s “Unprisoned.”

That category is especially interesting for the specific episodes submitted. Nicholas Britell entered episode 12, the finale, of Disney+’s “Andor” but episode 3 – curiously, not the much-watched finale – of HBO’s “Succession.” Episode 3, “Connor’s Wedding,” is the one in which Logan Roy dies.

Among the fantasy and sci-fi entries, Bear McCreary entered episode 1 of Prime Video’s “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power,” while Ramin Djawadi submitted episode 10, the finale, of HBO’s “House of the Dragon.” Joseph Shirley and Ludwig Goransson entered episode 24, the finale, of Disney+’s “The Mandalorian,” but Stephen Barton entered episode 4 of Paramount+’s “Star Trek: Picard,” not the widely acclaimed finale of the series. And Tom Howe entered the finale of “Ted Lasso” on Apple TV+.

Among the 69 entries in the category of Music for a Limited or Anthology Series, Movie or Special, the most notable is “Obi-Wan Kenobi,” with music by John Williams and Natalie Holt. Williams, who already has three Primetime Emmys, did not submit his theme for the Disney+ series in the main-title theme category.

Observers speculated that it may have been a strategic move on the part of Lucasfilm to attract votes to this specific entry rather than split the votes between two music categories citing the legendary “Star Wars” composer.

The 71 entries in Main Title Theme also include a handful of notables: Jarvis Cocker for AMC+’s “This Is Going to Hurt,” Danny Elfman for Netflix’s “Wednesday” and Howard Shore (who already has three Oscars for “Lord of the Rings” films) for “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.”

Oscar-winning songwriting teams have entered this category as well. Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez entered their theme for “Up Here,” and Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (with Lizzy McAlpine) submitted the Apple TV+ series “Dear Edward.”

Three high-profile film composers are included among the 75 entries for Music Composition for a Documentary Series or Special: Hans Zimmer, one of three composers for Apple TV+’s “Prehistoric Planet,” James Newton Howard for Disney+’s doc “Light & Magic,” and John Powell for Apple TV+’s “Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie.”

There are 138 entries in the Music Supervision category. This will be the seventh year that an Emmy has been awarded to music supervisors; three of them have gone to “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” and supervisor Robin Urdang could win a fourth; she has entered the series finale.


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