Zayn Malik won't be considered for a Best New Artist award at the 2017 Grammys.
The 23-year-old quit One Direction last year (15) after finding fame with Harry Styles, Liam Payne, Niall Horan and Louis Tomlinson on U.K. competition program The X Factor in 2010. The rest of the band are now on hiatus and pursuing solo careers.
Despite ditching the boy band to become a solo artist, the British singer has been deemed ineligible for the Best New Artist category thanks to the four albums he previously released as a member of one of the world's most successful boy bands, which was never nominated by the Recording Academy for any of their big-selling releases.
Nominees for the prize at the 59th Annual Grammy Awards will be revealed in January (17), but Bill Freimuth, senior vice president of awards at the Recording Academy told Billboard.com Zayn's ineligibility was "pretty clear cut".
"This was actually pretty clear cut given the international success of One Direction," Freimuth told the publication. "It's been a few years since Zayn Malik came to prominence as a member of that group, making him ineligible for the best new artist category this year."
The Pillowtalk singer's critically-acclaimed album Mind of Mine and its singles are still eligible for other categories.
It's not the first time the Grammys definition of new artist has caused controversy. This year (16), Meghan Trainor beat out Courtney Barnett, James Bay, Sam Hunt, and Tori Kelly to win the award for Best New Artist despite the fact that she was nominated for Record of the Year and Song of the Year in 2015.
The 2017 Grammy Awards will air on CBS on 12 February (17).