As expected, comeback king Eminem and hot country trio Lady Antebellum lead the nominees for the 53rd Grammy Awards. Nominees were announced last night, and contain some surprises in addition to the expected nominations.
Eminem is up for a whopping ten trophies, including all three of the four major categories for which he is eligible. “Love the Way You Lie”, his #1 duet with Rihanna, is up for Record and Song of the Year, while “Recovery” will vie for the Album of the Year prize against Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream” (really??), Arcade Fire’s “The Suburbs”, Lady GaGa’s “The Fame: Monster” and Lady A’s “Need You Now”. Lady A also sweeps the major categories for which they are eligible, coming away with an impressive seven nominations.
Also up for seven awards is Bruno Mars. Of course, the popular singer is also a songwriter and producer, so most of his nominations are representative of his serving those functions. He winds up nominated for Record of the Year TWICE: as a featured artist and producer for B.o.B’s “Nothin’ on You” and as a co-producer on Cee-Lo’s smash “Fuck You”. CBS better get their censors ready in the event that ‘Lo is picked to perform on the show.
Other multiple nominees include Jay-Z, who scored a Record of the Year nom for “Empire State of Mind” in addition to multiple nominees in the rap categories. Perry scored three nominations in addition to her Album of the Year nod. Ohio blues-rock The Black Keys are up for five awards for their breakthrough album “Brothers”, while The Roots find themselves up for five trophies-four of which are for their “Wake Up!” project with John Legend.
As always, there are some surprises. Lady GaGa’s “Bad Romance” was strangely denied a Record of the Year nomination, despite the fact that people went, well, gaga over the song. Singer-songwriter Ray LaMontagne and country spitfire Miranda Lambert both scored surprising Song of the Year nominations-perhaps an attempt by the recording academy to award real songs after giving the award to Beyonce’s threadbare “Single Ladies” last year. Susan Boyle was skipped over for the Best New Artist trophy despite having one of the biggest selling albums of the past several years, although she is nominated for Best Traditional Pop performance. The nominees in that category turn out to be a mix of the expected (Justin Bieber, Drake and Mumford & Sons) with the slightly surprising (Florence & the Machine) and the REALLY surprising (jazz bassist Esperanza Spalding). Not to give any predictions away, but it’s worth noting that there’s no clear cut winner in this category. Also more or less shut out this year were Grammy darling Alicia Keys, who received no nominations for her well-received “Element of Freedom” and Train, who had the year’s biggest selling single with “Hey Soul Sister” but find themselves only nominated for Best Pop Vocal Performance by a Group, a category in which they’ll face off against Maroon 5, Paramore, Sade (also strangely omitted from the major categories) and…The Glee Cast’s version of “Don’t Stop Believin'” (I TOLD you they were gonna get nominated for something).
What surprises me most here is that there’s really not anything to bitch at. The Record of the Year nominees are uniformly excellent, as are the Song of the Year nominees (must. get. Miranda. Lambert. album.) The 5 albums that got picked for Album of the Year aren’t the albums I personally would pick, but there’s not a bad album among the five-and if you’d told me a year ago that I’d be giving praise to a Katy Perry record, then I would’ve smacked you. Even the five Best New Artist nominees are all capable and talented–yes, even Justin Bieber.
You can find a complete list of nominees on the Grammy Awards website.
The show airs on CBS February 13th.
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