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Grammy nominations: Eminem leads with 10, Bruno Mars has 7, and Cee-Lo? Forget it

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The beleaguered record industry couldnt have been happier about the return to the spotlight in 2010 of rapper Eminem, the biggest-selling artist of the new millennium, and heaped upon him a field-leading 10 Grammy Award nominations for his Recovery album, including nods in all three top categories of album, record and song of the year.

Although it was widely expected that Eminem would do well in this years Grammy competition, Hawaiian-born producer-singer-songwriter-multi-instrumentalist Bruno Mars caught many by surprise as runner-up to Eminem with seven nominations, announced Wednesday in conjunction with a televised Grammy nomination concert from the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles.

Mars is competing with himself in the record of the year category for his production and vocals on rapper B.o.Bs Nothin on You, and as one of the producers of R&B-soul singer Cee-Lo Greens broadcast-confounding hit single You.

Awards Given that each record of the year nominee is traditionally performed live on the awards telecast, which will be held Feb. 13 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, Grammy ceremony producers will have a challenge in how to present a song on national television in which the profanity is not simply a casual toss-off thats easily excised, but central to the songs message from a guy to the girl who has dumped him. Expectations are that Green will perform the PG-rated Forget You version that allowed many radio stations to play it during the year.

Wednesdays telecast skirted the issue by listing only the names of the artists who recorded the nominated songs, not the titles. When presenters Dave Grohl and Selena Gomez announced the titles, Gomez referred to it as the song otherwise known as Forget You.'

The other three nominees for record of the year, which honors performance, production and engineering, are Love the Way You Lie from Eminem and Rihanna; Jay-Z and Alicia Keys love letter to the Big Apple, Empire State of Mind; and country trio Lady Antebellums romantically desperate closing-time phone call, Need You Now, which also earned the country trio an album of the year nomination.

Eminem and Lady A are vying in the album category with Lady Gagas The Fame Monster, Katy Perrys frothy Teenage Dream  and the latest critically acclaimed effort from Canadian indie rock group Arcade Fire, The Suburbs. Eminem also got nominations for pop vocal collaboration, short-form music video and every rap category in which he was eligible: rap solo performance, rap-sung collaboration, rap album and  twice for rap song. 

Greens profanity-laced send-off also is up for song of the year, which is strictly a songwriters award,  along with the Lady Antebellum hit written by Dave Haywood, Josy Kear, Charles Kelley and Hillary Scott; Alexander Grant, Holly Hafferman and Marshall Mathers Love The Way You Lie;  Ray LaMontagnes Beg Steal or Borrow; and Tom Douglas and Allen Shamblins The House That Built Me, a hit for Texas firebrand Miranda Lambert, who landed three nominations of her own in country categories.

Lambert got humorously political in choosing Only Prettier for her performance segment, in which she sang, Lets shake hands and reach across those party lines. We might think differently, but we got a lot in common you will see/Were just like you, only prettier.

Teen idol Justin Bieber shares space in the new artist category with Canadian rapper Drake, Portland, Ore.-born  jazz-pop musican Esperanza Spalding and a pair of English groups, Florence & the Machine and rock quartet Mumford & Sons.

I cant believe Im in this position I dont know what to say, Bieber told show host LL Cool J after the new-artist nominees were named. It feels good.

There are a bounty of multiple nominees this year,  with Jay-Z, Lady Gaga and Lady Antebellum scoring six each, and five apiece to rapper B.o.B., classical producer David Frost, English guitar hero Jeff Beck , R&B-soul singer-songwriter John Legend and songwriter-producer Philip Lawrence.

Some were surprised that Southern Californias Katy Perry made it into one of the marquee categories not for her summer-dominating hit single California Gurls, which would have set up an East-West rivalry with Jay-Zs Empire State of Mind in the record of the year competition, but instead in the best-album field with her critically drubbed Teenage Dream, which scored a  52 out of a possible 100 on the review aggregate website Metacritic.com.

"It's amazing," Perry said during the telecast. "Its like no other award shows, because I feel like youre being recognized by your peers. Being nominated is kind of like a win, but if I win, Ill take that.

Arcade Fires album has received the highest marks from critics among the categorys nominees, with an average score of 86, compared to a 77 for Lady Gagas The Fame Monster, 63 for Need You Now and a 62 for Recovery.

This years nominations raise the question of the continued impact of American Idol, as none of the show's winners were in the top four fields. Adam Lambert did snag a nod in the male pop vocal performance category for the track Whataya Want From Me from his debut album For Your Entertainment.

TV's newest music-focused hit show, Glee, made its debut in Grammyland with two nominations:  in the duo or group pop vocal category for the Glee casts version of Journeys hit Dont Stop Believin, and in best compilation soundtrack album for Glee: The Music, Volume 1.
 Not surprisingly, Britains Got Talent phenom Susan Boyle collected another jewel in the crown of her fairytale success story with a nomination for pop vocal album, a category in which shes up against Bieber, Perry, Lady Gaga and John Mayer.

Bay Area punk band Green Day is nominated, but not in the alternative music category. Instead, the cast album for the Broadway production of American Idiot is in the running for musical show album along with the Afro-pop-centric Fela!, Promises, Promises" and two Stephen Sondheim shows, A Little Night Music and Sondheim on Sondheim.

Grammys are awarded for recordings released during the eligibility period between Sept. 1, 2009, and Sept. 30, 2010, and are decided on by about 12,000 voting members of the Recording Academy.

[Updated] "I'm still kind of soaking it all in," Mars said backstage Wednesday. "It's just been a hell of a year. We record these songs in this little shabby studio, and here we are with nominations. It's just surreal."

-- Randy Lewis


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 Photo: Eminem / Associated Press

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