Chicago Sun-Times
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Oh boy! It's the 2010 Grammy Nominations -- and Nick Jonas!

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Topping the list of multiple nominations for the 52nd annual Grammy Awards, announced Wednesday night in Los Angeles, is dance diva Beyonce Knowles, who garnered 10 nods for her third solo album, "I Am... Sasha Fierce," released in November 2008.

Other multiple honorees include the young country-pop singer Taylor Swift, who got eight nominations, and the Black Eyed Peas, Maxwell and superstar Chicago producer and rapper Kanye West, who got six each.

As is often the case, the Grammys' "big four" categories seem to acknowledge commercial accomplishments--and old-school music industry corporate hype--much more than the awards' stated goal of recognizing musical excellence and innovation.

For the top prize of album of the year, the contenders are Beyonce; the Black Eyed Peas, "The E.N.D."; Lady Gaga, "The Fame"; the Dave Matthews Band, "Big Whiskey and the Groogrux King" and Swift, "Fearless."

Vying for record of the year are Beyonce, "Halo"; the Black Eyed Peas, "I Gotta Feeling"; Lady Gaga, "Pokerface"; Kings of Leon, "Use Somebody" and Swift, "You Belong with Me."

The nods for song of the year, which honors the songwriters, are Lady Gaga, "Pokerface"; Maxwell, "Pretty Wings"; Beyonce, "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)"; Kings of Leon, "Use Somebody" and Swift, "You Belong with Me."

And for best new artist, the roster is country bumpkins the Zac Brown Band; R&B singer Keri Hilson; mopey synth-pop duo MGMT; grunge throwback Silversun Pickups and the English dance-pop group the Ting Tings.

Hometown hero West's nominations came for best rap performance by a duo or group ("Make Her Say" with fellow Chicagoan Common and Kid Cudi and "Amazing" with Young Jeezy), best rap/sung collaboration ("Ego" with Beyonce, "Knock You Down" with Keri Hilson and Ne-Yo and "Run This Town" with Jay-Z and Rihanna), and best rap song ("Run This Town"). Unfortunately, his incredible fourth album "808s and Heartbreak," released late in 2008, was shut out of all of the key album categories.

For the second year in a row, in a vain attempt to expand the television presence of the Grammy franchise and compete with the "American Idol" ratings juggernaut, awards sponsors the Recording Academy announced the nominations for a handful of the top pop categories during an hour-long live broadcast from L.A., delaying the release of the much longer master list of honorees until after the show finished airing on CBS.

Notorious for its odd definition of the calendar year, the Grammy eligibility period for 2009 is even shorter and stranger than usual--covering only 11 months, from Oct. 1, 2008, to Aug. 31, 2009--because the Recording Academy will air its televised awards presentation earlier than usual, on Jan. 31. These dates eliminate from consideration some of the most successful and acclaimed releases of the year, including albums from Jay-Z, Mariah Carey and Pearl Jam.

Also a real head-scratcher among this year's nominees was a nod for best pop performance by duo or group with vocals to Hall & Oates for "Sara Smile," a song originally released in 1976, but surfacing again in November 2008 on the almost universally ignored "Daryl Hall & John Oates Live at the Troubadour" album.

In addition to West and Common, who also was nominated for best rap album with "Universal Mind Control," the worst album of his career, other Chicago nominees include Ministry (best metal performance, "Senor Peligro"); Kurt Elling (best jazz vocal album, "Dedicated To You: Kurt Elling Sings the Music of Coltrane and Hartman"); Ann Nesby (the Joliet artist got nods for best R&B performance by a duo or group with vocals and best traditional R&B performance); the Chicago Symphony Chorus (best classical album); Donald Lawrence & Company (best traditional gospel album) and Kathy Griffin (the Oak Park native was acknowledged for best comedy album).

Also: Lalah Hathaway (best female R&B vocal performance); Larry Skoller (best traditional blues album); Lawrence Hobgood (best instrumental arrangement); Smokie Norful (best gospel performance and best contemporary R&B gospel album); Neko Case (best contemporary folk album and best recording package, "Middle Cyclone"); Wilco (best Americana album, "Wilco: The Album") and the incomparable Mavis Staples (best contemporary blues album, "Live: Hope at the Hideout").

UPDATE: Overlooked in my first pass attempting to chart all the local honorees: Liz Carroll was nominated for best traditional world music album for her disc with John Doyle, "Double Play"; Mavis Staples got a second nod for her contribution of 'Waiting for My Child to Come Home' with Patty Griffin on the album "O Happy Day," nominated for best traditional gospel album, and Kathleen Judge received a nomination for her work with Neko Case in designing the artwork for "Middle Cyclone," nominated for best recording package.

Among the visually glitzy but musically bland performances on Wednesday's TV special were a rapped medley by host LL Cool J, who did his thing in front of a scantily clad dancer rubbing cake frosting all over herself; a heavily auto-tuned Black Eyed Peas; a bit of holiday schmaltz from Sugarland and a flat tribute to Michael Jackson by Maxwell via a lite-jazz version of "The Lady in My Life."

The absolute nadir, however, came courtesy of the Administration, the new side project by Nick Jonas. What could be worse than the sugary sweet teen-pop of his other group, the Jonas Brothers, you ask? Try Nick getting funky with backing from veterans of Prince's New Power Generation. And yes, it was even worse than you might imagine.

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20 Comments

COMPLTELY wrong about nick jonas.
i personally am not a jonas brothers fan, but he blew it out of the water. one of the better performances of the night, not really sure what you were listening to.

I thought Nick was the highlight of the night. Sugarland was boring. Maxwell was entertaining and black eyes peas were showing off.
And Taylor Swift runied it all by singing about Cheerleaders and getting 8 noms.
Beyonce is the only one that saved me.

The Jonas Brothers aren't many people's cup of tea, myself included, but Nick Jonas showed that at least one of them has enough talent to be lasting and successful. His style is appealing and he's, what, 17? He's starting out pretty well on his own.

You're obviously one of those people who's judging him because of his history as a boy bander.

COMPLETEKY right about Nick's performance. It sucked eggs. He's whiny, just god-awful whiny.

I am a HUGE JONAS BROTHERS fan, & him doing this SO early when they JUST reached the peak is like WTF?

I don't like him.

Personally, I am a Jonas Brother's fan...and I had rather low expectations for Nick's performance. To my surprise he was great. Sugarland's performance was his only rival as Maxwell didn't find his voice until the end of the song...didn't do Jackson justice at all.

The song of the year and album of the year candidates are terrible.

I think that is the closest you have ever come to saying something nice about the Jonas Brothers!!!

I'm impressed. ;)

Not as keen on solo Nick J, either, though.

Like most music fans under 45, I truly could care less about the awards. I still can't get over the Hall & Oates nomination, though. I know the Grammys have had dozens of odd/bad nominees through the years, but this seriously tops them all. Has there ever been a worse nominee? A live version of a 33 year old song? Mind boggling.

I'm a grown man who has never cared for the Jonas Brothers--but come on, there's no denying that kid has talent. He's only what, 16? I checked him up online after his performance and found out he can not only play the guitar BUT the drums, piano and bongos.
He has some serious potential.
I think people will only say he did bad because they're biased and of course liking the Jonas Brothers is so 'uncool' and it's a lot more fun to trash them.

Well hey, consider me uncool.
Nick Jonas has the it factor.

I thought the Jonas kid did a great job, actually. People will only put him down because he is a Jonas Brother. We gave Justin Timberlake a chance, why not Nick Jonas?


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I have to agree with Robert that you were totally wrong about Nick Jonas. This was the one performance of the night that I actually enjoyed. I was so impressed that I downloaded the single. And I have children that listen to the Jonas Brothers.

maybe you should stop the hate and grow up. you clearly have no life. you get kicks from insulting a seventeen year old for no reason other than because you can, pathetic.

Nick hoped that everyone would listen with unbiased ears but of course you didn't.Everyone was saying how good his performance was.Even my guy friends who hate the Jonas Brothers.

Kurt Elling has moved to Brooklyn, I believe.

(The Grammies aren't any hipper in their jazz choices than they are in their rock choices, by the way.)

You people REALLY think Nick Jonas has the IT factor?

Oh.My.God.

At least Liz Carroll got a nod. Funny enough, that's a bit of a legacy nod, too. Liz is among the few American-born fiddle players to win the All-Ireland Fleadh Cheoil competition, and she's just one hell of a player. Too bad the Grammy organizers are gonna subject us to Taylor Swift and the Jonas Brothers rather than allowing us to hear someone with actual talent.

And no, Jonas marks, your boys don't have any talent. Get over it.

Brendan, I personally disagree...I just think the problem with the Jonas Brothers is people thinking Nick is the most talented one and him having too much power over his band.

My favorite one is actually Joe, but his spirit appears to be being crushed by his brother. Could make for awesome music in the future...he's certainly an unsung great live performer.

Ugh. Nick Jonas. *shakes fist*

@ BRB.Weeping.:

Puh-leeze. The Jonas Brothers make Hanson look like doom metal. I mean, there's nothing inherently wrong with a pre-fab band (witness, as Jim will likely attest, the Monkees, one of the most sorely underrated pop groups in history). But the JoBros aren't just prefabricated; the music is awful. Truly great, enduring pop music -- not just the stuff we "high-brow" people like (see Pet Sounds) but stuff for the masses such as the Archies' "Sugar Sugar" or any ABBA single -- is a beautiful thing, melding all the things that are great about cutting-edge music with something that can be easily digested by the masses in three or four minutes. That's why, though they're not the greatest rock band of all time, the Beatles are easily the greatest pop band. What have the Jonas Brothers done except rehash, rehash, rehash? There's no invention, no intrigue, nothing except the preteen lust of adolescent girls. That's it.

And as for your beloved Joe, well, sorry, but take your pick of afore-mentioned Hanson brothers, and you've got somebody who was more talented and harder-rocking at fourteen than Joe Jonas will ever be in his entire life. Unless, of course, he pulls a Marianne Faithful and starts whoring himself out for drug money, then comes back as a foul-mouthed glam rocker. Now that I could dig.

Late on the post, but you missed another Chicago nod:
Chicago Blues: A Living History (a record featuring Billy Branch, John Primer, and a handful of other local should-be-legends-by-now) is nominated for Best Traditional Blues album. :)

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This page contains a single entry by Jim DeRogatis published on December 2, 2009 9:59 PM.

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