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2008/2009 Grammy nominations announced

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John Mayer is dwarfed by the spectacle as he announces the record of the year nominees at "The Grammy Nominations Concert Live" Wednesday night in Los Angeles. (Chris Pizzello/AP)

For the first time in their 51-year history, Grammy sponsors the Recording Academy announced the nominees for 2008 not at a boring, overblown press conference -- but during a boring, overblown television special that aired live Wednesday night from Los Angeles.

Leading the pack with eight nominations was the filthy-minded dirty South rapper Lil Wayne. Moody rockers Coldplay garnered seven nods, and rap and R&B stars Jay-Z, Ne-Yo and Chicago's Kanye West claimed six each.

Click here for the complete list of Grammy nominations.

West's nods were all for productions for or collaborations with other artists, including Lil Wayne and R&B chanteuse Estelle. Because of the odd way the Grammys define "a year," West's 2008 release "808s & Heartbreak" will not be eligible for consideration until 2009.

Following on his mentor West's heels, South Side rapper Lupe Fiasco was honored with four nods for best rap/sung collaboration and best rap song ("Superstar" with local singer Matthew Santos), best rap album ("The Cool") and best rap solo performance ("Paris, Tokyo").

In the major categories, vying for the album of the year are Coldplay ("Viva La Vida"), Lil Wayne ("Tha Carter III"), Ne-Yo ("Year of the Gentleman"), Robert Plant and Alison Krauss ("Raising Sand") and Radiohead ("In Rainbows").

Nominees for record of the year, which honors the best single recording, were Adele ("Chasing Pavements"), Coldplay ("Viva La Vida"), Leona Lewis ("Bleeding Love"), M.I.A. ("Paper Planes) and Plant and Krauss ("Please Read the Letter").

Nominees for song of the year, which honors the songwriters, were "American Boy" (recorded by Estelle, featuring Kanye West), "Chasing Pavements" (recorded and co-written by Adele), "I'm Yours" (recorded and written by Jason Mraz), "Love Songs" (recorded and written by Sara Bareilles) and "Viva La Vida" (recorded and written by Coldplay).

Those three of the "big four" categories boast the usual mix of super-popular, super-predictable and genuinely worthy. But the best new artist slate for 2008 was particularly embarrassing, with nominees Adele and Duffy, two British singers working variations on the Amy Winehouse formula; teen-pop hypes the Jonas Brothers, who actually released their third album this year; the glossy Nashville act Lady Antebellum and Philly soul singer Jazmine Sullivan.

Though the winners often fail to reflect the most artistically significant or innovative recordings each year, the Grammy remains the music industry's most prestigious annual award. Yet while sponsors the Recording Academy bill it as "music's biggest night," the award telecast has been suffering from a sharp decline in ratings.

Last year, the 50th annual award show was down 2.5 million viewers from the 2007 telecast. Before that, the 2006 show suffered an infamous defeat in the ratings to "American Idol," and it drew the show's smallest viewership in 11 years.

In a misguided attempt to drum up interest for this year's telecast, which will air on CBS on Feb. 8, the Recording Academy for the first time announced the 2008 nominees -- or at least a small fraction of them-during a live TV special hyperbolically entitled "The Grammy Nominations Concert Live!! -- Countdown to Music's Biggest Night." Tied to the opening of a new Grammy Museum, the show featured a selection of ultra-mainstream pop stars performing "classic songs from Grammy history," with little thought given to the pairings.

The Vegas-glitzy Celine Dion blustered through Janis Ian's nakedly soulful "At Seventeen"; the self-obsessed Foo Fighters demolished Carly Simon's "You're So Vain;" the young country ingénue Taylor Swift added nothing to Brenda Lee's "I'm Sorry" and Christina Aguilera hammed it up through "I Loves You Porgy" from "Porgy and Bess."

On the list of other Chicago honorees, Jennifer Hudson was nominated for best R&B album ("Jennifer Hudson"), best R&B vocal performance ("Spotlight") and best R&B performance by a duo or group ("I'm His Only Woman" with Fantasia) and former Chicagoans Ministry got a nod for best metal performance ("Under My Thumb" from "Cover Up").

The local Latin music group Alacranes Musical were nominated for best banda album ("Tu Inspiracion"), and several honors in the classical category went to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, including best engineered album, producer of the year and best orchestral performance.

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I hope Zappa Plays Zappa wins Best Rock Instrumental Performance for "Peaches En Regalia." Dweezil and co have worked so hard on this project and they deserve it not only in memory of Frank, but also for what they themselves bring to it.

I think you're being harsh when it comes to the Best New Artist category in regards to Adele and Duffy. These two U.K. imports are much more talented than Amy Winehouse, even before she fell off the rails. And both "19" and "Rockferry" are albums worth listening to the entire way through.

I'll give you the embarrassing-ness in regards to the Jonas Brothers. And I have no idea who this Jazmine Sullivan is. I'm surprised Leona Lewis or even Jennifer Hudson (I don't think a soundtrack should disqualify her) weren't nominated in the category.

Why isnt Leona Lewis in the Best New Artist Category? She deserves it more than any other artist in the world. people in every corner of ther world love her.

The one thing most people do agree on, is the absence of Leona Lewis. This shocked me.

How sad is it, that you don't even mention DISTURBED for Best Hard Rock Performance. Are they not from Chicago?

I just noticed that it said POP music critic next to your name, do us all a favor and stop commented on Rock shows and Rock bands, because you don t have a clue what you are talking about.

Please don't construe this in any way, shape, or form as a defense of the Jonas Brothers. I only write to comment on the fact that you used the argument that they released their third album this year as one of the reasons why their nomination is inappropriate. A quick trip to the Grammy Awards web page would have told you that the award is given to the artist that "releases...the first recording which establishes the public identity of that artist."

Case in point: David Gray was nominated for this award in 2001, despite the fact he had released his fourth album (to say nothing of the fact that it actually came out in 1998), but how many people can say they knew who David Gray was before "White Ladder" became a hit that year?

I don't understand the Lil Wayne nominations, but on the whole I'm pleased with most of the Academy's picks, particularly the love they're showing to Radiohead's "In Rainbows." It's nice to see that the Academy isn't particularly vindictive in recognizing great music, considering the band tossed the entire industry aside when it first released the album.

why are the jonas brothers under a catergory for new artist seems like they been around awhile

Its not that its odd the way the year is figured, its needed because of the time it takes to gather entries and then get the first round of votes out in time to make the nomination list, all in time for a show held in February. That's what drives that. Think of it as a "fiscal year" in accounting that doesn't end in December and start in January. I know it seems a little odd to the outside look, but an album released in Oct-Dec in a calendar year will not have been circulated long enough for the members of the Academy to have had the chance to hear it, consider it, etc. and then submit it in a long process that goes from entry to first round for nominees, to final voting and all in time for a show in early Februrary. Lots of moving parts there.

I am absolutely horrified that you are on the music beat but find Adele's nominations "embarrassing." Her voice is amazing. She is pure talent, providing delicious vocals both in recordings and live performances. I'm wondering if you've actually ever listened to her - or are you just reading too many British tabloids online and stereotypically believe that just because Adele and Winehouse have the same "formula," they deserve the same press?

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This page contains a single entry by Jim DeRogatis published on December 3, 2008 9:28 PM.

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