The clash of the chart titans
Lil Wayne tops 51st Grammy noms with eight; Coldplay right behind"Tha Carter III"? Not even close. Try "Tha Carter VIII."
New Orleans rapper Lil Wayne, who is on track to have the best-selling album of 2008, also leads the nominations for the 51st annual Grammy Awards with eight, including album of the year for "Tha Carter III."
Right on his heels is British rock quartet Coldplay with seven, including album of the year. The band's "Viva la Vida" was released a week after "Tha Carter," and the two controlled the top two spots of the Billboard 200 for five weeks in the summer.
Jay-Z and Kanye West grabbed six noms each, as did Ne-Yo, including album of the year for "Year of the Gentleman."
"When I was putting (the album) together, I was trying to do something that more people would enjoy besides my pop and R&B core," Ne-Yo said. "I wanted to do something the whole world could enjoy."
The other album of the year candidates are Radiohead's "In Rainbows" and Robert Plant and Alison Krauss' "Raising Sand." Radiohead, Plant and Krauss drew five noms apiece, as did John Mayer and Jazmine Sullivan.
"It's surreal. I can believe they liked the project," R&B singer Sullivan said backstage. "My story is one of perseverance, picking yourself up and learning from your mistakes and getting better."
Sullivan will vie for best new artist with soulful Brit singer Adele, versatile Welsh singer Duffy, country trio Lady Antebellum and heartthrob pop trio Jonas Brothers.
"I can't believe we're here today, onstage," Kevin Jonas said backstage. "We've always dreamed of being recognized for being artists," Joe Jonas said. Brother Nick Jonas added, "I think what's been very important for us is the songwriting."
Up for record of the year are Adele's "Chasing Pavements," Plant and Krauss' "Please Read the Letter," Coldplay's "Viva la Vida," Leona Lewis' "Bleeding Love" and M.I.A.'s "Paper Planes."
Only two tracks — "Chasing Pavements" and "Viva la Vida" — repeat in the song of the year category. They'll go up against "American Boy" by Estelle featuring Kanye West, "I'm Yours" by Jason Mraz and "Love Song" by Sara Bareilles.
For the first time this year, the Recording Academy unveiled nominations in the top categories during a primetime concert special on CBS. Co-hosted by Taylor Swift and LL Cool J, performers at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles included Mariah Carey, Celine Dion, Mayer and B.B. King and Foo Fighters, all singing favorite songs of theirs that have been inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.
The 51st annual Grammy Awards will be held Feb. 8 at Staples Center in Los Angeles and broadcast on CBS.
A list of nominees is available at Grammy.com.
Ann Donahue is senior editor at Billboard. Erik Pedersen contributed to this report.