The Grammy Awards have long been known as the annual telecast where fun goes to die. But this year the Grammys finally met their match, in the form of "The Grammy Nominations Concert Live!! Countdown to Music's Biggest Night."
The nominations show, which aired Wednesday night on CBS, may have been the recording academy's attempt at injecting some life into the process, but it was also aggressively dull. It turns out there isn't much tension in announcing the five possible best things in a category or in watching the Foo Fighters, Christina Aguilera and Celine Dion perform "classic songs from Grammy history." At least the Grammy folks did a credible job of picking the best music of the 12 months between Oct. 1, 2007, through Sept. 30, 2008 (even if their ancient rules still haven't adjusted to how most people keep track of a year). (See the 100 best albums of all time.)
Leading the way with eight nominations is Lil Wayne, the tiny mixtape-making, cough-syrup-swilling stream-of-consciousness New Orleans rapper whose Tha Carter III truly was one of the best albums of the year. His competition in Grammys' glamour category comes from Coldplay's slightly overhyped Viva La Vida, Ne-Yo's Year of the Gentleman, Robert Plant and Alison Krauss's elegant Raising Sand and Radiohead's record-industry death knell In Rainbows.
Nominees for Record of the Year which actually honors the best song are Adele's "Chasing Pavements," Coldplay's "Viva La Vida," Leona Lewis' agonizing "Bleeding Love," M.I.A.'s "Paper Planes" and Plant and Krauss's "Please Read the Letter." Nominees for Song of the Year which actually honors songwriters are "Viva La Vida," "Chasing Pavements," "American Boy" by Estelle, featuring Kanye West, "I'm Yours" by Jason Mraz and "Love Songs" by Sara Bareilles.
In the overall nominations race, Coldplay garnered seven nods, while Jay-Z, Ne-Yo and Kanye West got six each. (See the full list of nominees here.)
In the competition for Best New Artist an award that ought to be called best artist new to Grammy nominators are British singers Adele and Duffy (also known as the next Amy Winehouse and the next next Amy Winehouse), country act Lady Antebellum, Philadelphia soul diva Jazmine Sullivan and the Jonas Brothers, who, despite being just out of adolescence, actually released their third album in 2008. They're new-ish.
To find out who'll win and to see if the Grammy telecast can rise to the challenge of the Grammy nominations telecast, tune in to CBS Feb. 8.