|Rapper Eminem was nominated for 10 Grammys. Artists with ties to New England were recognized by the academy this year. (Jason Decrow/ Associated Press/ File)|
Grammy nominees take it live
In a year where rapper Eminem roared back with a megaselling album, Bruno Mars was anointed R&B’s new prince, and Lady Antebellum reigned on both the country and pop charts, the Recording Academy paid attention. All three acts were saluted last night during a live concert telecast that revealed some of the nominees for the upcoming 53d Grammy Awards.
As in recent years, the nominations suggested the academy is eager to shake off its image of honoring heritage acts. Last night’s nominees represented some of the industry’s most successful acts across genres, from country (Miranda Lambert), to hip-hop (Jay-Z), to pop (Justin Bieber). Even indie rock made a strong showing with Arcade Fire’s surprise, but deserved, nomination for album of the year for “The Suburbs.’’
It was also notable for its recognition of artists with ties to New England. Maine’s native son Ray LaMontagne received a nod for song of the year for “Beg Steal or Borrow.’’ He’s in the running with Cee Lo Green (“Forget You,’’ the family-friendly version of his R-rated hit), Lady Antebellum (“Need You Now’’), Eminem with Rihanna (“Love the Way You Lie’’), and Lambert (“The House That Built Me’’). Even more impressive, Esperanza Spalding, the jazz bassist whose career rose while studying at Berklee College of Music, was nominated for best new artist in a field crowded with heavy-hitters (Bieber, Drake, Florence and the Machine, and Mumford and Sons).
Given her sway over Top 40 radio this year, it was surprising to see Lady Gaga’s big hits (“Bad Romance’’ seemed like a shoo-in) shut out of the categories for song and record of the year.
Instead, nods for record of the year, which honors the performer instead of the writer, went to B.o.B with Mars (“Nothin’ on You’’), Eminem with Rihanna (“Love the Way You Lie’’), Cee Lo Green (“Forget You’’), Jay-Z with Alicia Keys (“Empire State of Mind’’), and Lady Antebellum (“Need You Now’’).
The concert was conspicuously linked to the evening’s performers. “She could be a real contender,’’ host LL Cool J said as he introduced Katy Perry’s opening performance of “California Gurls.’’ He was right: Perry’s “Teenage Dream’’ was later nominated for album of the year, alongside Arcade Fire (“The Suburbs’’), Eminem (“Recovery’’), Lady Antebellum (“Need You Now’’), and Lady Gaga (“The Fame Monster’’).
At press deadline, other categories had been announced outside the broadcast. Eminem led the field with 10 nominations, followed by Mars with seven, and six each for Lady Antebellum, Jay-Z, and Lady Gaga. The Grammys will be broadcast live from Los Angeles on Feb. 13.
James Reed can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.