Grammy Nominations Hit Prime-Time with TV Special

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- In an era where awards shows are as commonplace as reality shows, even the top-tier events are finding it hard to stand out. So the Recording Academy is trying something different when it announces its nominees for its upcoming Grammys. Instead of its traditional morning roll call of nominee names at a staid press conference, top nominees will be revealed during a prime-time concert special to air live Wednesday on CBS.

Among the performers are Mariah Carey, John Mayer and Taylor Swift - a potential nominee.

"This gives us an opportunity to have more music on television and ... really bring the ultimate amount of attention to the beginning of Grammy season," Neil Portnow, president and chief executive of the Recording Academy, said in an interview. "It's a more grand way to initiate Grammy season for us."

Swift and LL Cool J are set to host the Grammy show, which will announce nominees in just a handful of the Grammy Awards' 110 categories. The nominations special - also set to include performances by Foo Fighters, Celine Dion and B.B. King - "has great potential" to become an annual event, Portnow said, adding that artists will perform classic recordings recently inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. Portnow also hinted that several newly nominated artists would be on hand Wednesday to talk about their nominations.

Swift is likely to be among them. The 18-year-old was nominated last year for a best new artist Grammy and was named favorite female country artist at last month's American Music Awards. Her debut album, released in 2006, has sold more than 3 million copies and her new CD, "Fearless," topped the charts when it was releases last month.

Carey is another Grammy darling - she scooped up three awards in 2005 - who could be nominated for her latest CD, "EMC2."

Other potential nominees include Coldplay, Radiohead, Lil Wayne and Rihanna, who won a Grammy last year for best rap/sung collaboration with Jay Z on the smash "Umbrella." Her hit-filled 2007 album, "Good Girl Gone Bad," was rereleased over the summer with additional hits, giving her another shot at Grammy love.

Welsh singer Duffy, who shot to No. 1 with her catchy single, "Mercy," is likely to be among best new artist nominees, along with fellow Brit Estelle, who raked in accolades for her track, "American Boy," with Kanye West.

"The Grammy Nominations Concert Live! - Countdown to Music's Biggest Night," held at the Nokia Theatre, will also celebrate the opening of the new Grammy Museum next door.

The Grammy Awards are scheduled for live broadcast on CBS on Feb 8. Last year's show drew 17.2 million viewers, making it one of the least-watched Grammys and continuing the trend of shrinking awards-show audiences.

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On the Net:

http://www.grammy.com

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