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Thursday, December 2, 2010

Grammy Nominations Announced In Grand Fashion

What do you do when no one cares about your award nominee announcement? Adding a little Bruno Mars is a good start.

For years, the announcement of nominees for the Grammy Awards, music’s highest honor, consisted of a few randomly selected artists, a podium, and a slew of reporters—all of which assembling at an ungodly early hour in Los Angeles. The artists would then read names from a card as photographers clicked away and giddy entertainment writers feverishly scribbled on their notepads.

The problem was that no one really cared. After all, the nominees would be up on the internet minutes after they were announced.

The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, the driving force behind the Grammy Awards, recognized this as an opportunity. Last year, they decided to add a little pizazz to the proceedings by turning the event into an event—an hour long television special that intersperses live performances from top artists between nominee announcements for each of the major award categories. Think of it as a sort of dress rehearsal for the actual award ceremony in February.

With hip-hop legend—and multiple Grammy winner himself—LL Cool J retaining his spot as host, the second annual edition of the special aired last night.

Performers ranged from pop starlet Katy Perry to country sensation Miranda Lambert to rockers Train, but two standout performances of the unplugged variety—the aforementioned Mars’ stripped down rendition of his smash hit “Just The Way You Are” and Best New Artist nominee Justin Bieber’s heavy-on-the-guitar acoustic version of “Favorite Girl” (straight from the recently released My Worlds Acoustic)—were a step above the rest.

Mars would go on to pull double-duty, later performing the Record of the Year-nominated “Nothin’ On You” with rapper B.o.B, who himself returned to close out the show with “Don’t Let Me Fall.” Viewers may have witnessed the future of the Grammys as Mars and B.o.B., both in the infant stages of their careers, received a combined 12 nominations—and their performances certainly justified such accolades.

In between performances, nominees from five different categories were announced. Aside from a curveball or two, the nominations stuck fairly close to what the experts had predicted.

As expected, Eminem’s name was called more than once. The Detroit rapper picked up an Album of the Year nom for his comeback album Recovery and was also nominated for both Song of the Year and Record of the Year (in case you’re wondering, the Song of the Year award goes to the writer of the song, while the Record of the Year goes to the performer) for “Love The Way You Lie,” his revered collaboration with Rihanna. Em ended up with ten nominations in total by night’s end.

Other prominent nominees included a pair of “Ladies”—Antebellum and Gaga—each nominated for six awards, including Album of the Year. Jay-Z also picked up six nominations, including his song “Empire State of Mind” featuring Alicia Keys, which received a Record of the Year nom.

Surprises on the night included Ray Lamontagne’s “Beg Steal or Borrow” picking up a Song of the Year nomination, the Best New Artist category (which is generally reserved for pop acts) recognizing jazz bassist Esperanza Spalding, and Katy Perry’s Teenage Dream being nominated for Album of the Year despite being left out of most experts’ predictions.

A full rundown of the nominees can be found on our website by clicking the Grammy Nominees panel on our homepage, or by selecting the “Grammy Nominees 2011” collection in the Browse section.

Let the discussions begin—who should win? Who got snubbed? Who put on the best performance last night? Leave your comments below!

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