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Published: Thursday, 12/1/2011

West gets 7 nominations, but Adele gets Grammy spotlight

BY RANDY LEWIS
LOS ANGELES TIMES
Adele performs during the Brit Awards 2011 at The O2 Arena in London. Adele performs during the Brit Awards 2011 at The O2 Arena in London.
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LOS ANGELES — Rapper Kanye West scored a leading seven nominations for the 54th annual Grammy Awards, but ceded the brightest spotlight of music industry esteem to British singer Adele, whose six nominations include the most prestigious categories of record, album and song of the year.

Adele's "21," the biggest-selling album of 2011 at nearly 4.7 million copies, also received nominations Wednesday for best pop solo performance, pop vocal album and short-form music video.

Adele's career has been interrupted by surgery on her vocal cords, which cut short her American tour, and it is not known whether she will be sufficiently recovered to perform at the Grammy Awards telecast Feb. 12 at Staples Center.

The nominations were spread among a wide range of mostly mainstream artists, without the veteran musician often saluted at Grammy time with the equivalent of a career-achievement award. However, four top sellers from the last 12 months — pop provocateur Lady Gaga, country music superstar Taylor Swift, pop princess Katy Perry and R&B hitmaker Rihanna — collected just three nominations among them in the leading categories: Gaga's "Born This Way" and Rihanna's "Loud" for album of the year and Perry's "Firework" for record of the year.

West's nominations include one as co-writer for "All of the Lights" in the song of the year competition, but are otherwise all in rap categories. His CD "My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy," one of the best-reviewed recordings in recent months, is nominated for top rap album.

R&B crooner Bruno Mars, who tied Adele with six nominations, and indie rocker Bon Iver also scored three times each among the marquee award categories. New Orleans rapper Lil Wayne and Los Angeles DJ-electronic artist Skrillex each landed five nominations.

Kanye West performs at Mawazine Festival in Rabat, Morocco. Kanye West performs at Mawazine Festival in Rabat, Morocco.
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Besides Adele, Rihanna and Gaga, album of the year nominees are Foo Fighters' "Wasting Light" and Mars' "Doo-Wops & Hooligans." Record of the year candidates, awarded for performance and production, include Adele's "Rolling in the Deep," Bon Iver's "Holocene," Mars' "Grenade," Mumford & Sons' "The Cave" and Perry's "Firework."

In addition to West's "All the Lights" and Adele's "Rolling in the Deep," the song of the year nominees (awarded to writers) are "The Cave," ''Grenade" and "Holocene."

Best new artist nominees are Bon Iver; The Band Perry, a country trio; rappers J. Cole and Nicki Minaj; and Los Angeles-based DJ and dance music performer Skrillex.

The Foo Fighters' "Wasting Light" was rewarded with six nominations. The long-running rock group has collected six Grammy Awards throughout its career.

British neo-soul and jazz singer Amy Winehouse, who died of alcohol poisoning in July, collected a posthumous nomination for her duet with Tony Bennett on the pop classic "Body and Soul," which is up for pop duo or group performance.

Meanwhile, power couple Jay-Z and Beyonce produced four nominations between them. Jay-Z was recognized in rap performance for the track "Otis" from his "Watch the Throne" collaboration with West, which also is up for rap album. Beyonce, whose latest album, "4," has yet to cross the platinum sales mark nearly six months after its release, was shut out from album nominations but yielded a rap collaboration nod for the track "Party," on which she teamed with Andre 3000. Additionally, her "I Am ... World Tour" concert documentary is nominated for long-form music video.

There was continued encouraging news for alternative rock musicians, with Bon Iver (Wisconsin rocker Justin Vernon's pseudonym) and England's Mumford & Sons collecting a combined eight nominations.

Other acts that received four nominations are Drake, Paul Epworth, Cee Lo Green, Philip Lawrence, Ari Levine, Nicki Minaj, Radiohead and Rihanna.

Academy officials earlier this year announced the elimination of 31 categories to bring the total down to 78, a move that pleased some Grammy critics but unleashed the wrath of many musicians who had hoped for recognition in deleted fields.

The Grammy Awards are determined by about 13,000 voting members of the Recording Academy, including musicians, producers, songwriters, record and radio industry personnel and other music business professionals. The eligibility period for nominated recordings was Oct. 1, 2010, to Sept. 30, 2011.

The top nominations were announced Wednesday night at a nationally televised mini-concert at the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles. The 2011 awards will be announced in a ceremony to be televised on CBS-TV from Los Angeles.



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