Adele scored six Grammy nominations on Wednesday, including for record, song and album of the year, but the owner of the 2011's best-selling album with "21" wasn't the night's top nominee — and that wasn't the evening's only surprise.
Kanye West came away with a leading seven nominations, including a bid for song of the year for his all-star song "All of the Lights." However, the album from which it came — "My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy," heralded by many critics as the best album of 2010 — was shut out of the best album category, and all of his other nominations were relegated to the rap fields.
Other notable omissions in the top categories included country phenomenon Taylor Swift and veteran crooner Tony Bennett.
Bruno Mars and the Foo Fighters tied Adele with six nominations each, including in the album of the year category. Critical-darling folky act Bon Iver scored four nominations, with two in the prestigious record and song of the year categories; and dubstep star Skrillex may have been the night's biggest surprise, getting five nominations, including a bid for best new artist.
The nominations were announced after the Recording Academy's fourth annual live concert special, which aired on CBS from the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles. The hour-long event featured key nominees like Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Nicki Minaj and the Band Perry.
Even though Adele didn't get the lion's share of nominations, she got them where it counted: Her "21," the mournful post-breakup album that produced smash hits like the torch ballad "Someone Like You" — was nominated for album of the year. The searing groove "Rolling in the Deep," which spent seven weeks at No. 1 this past summer, got nominations for both record and song of the year. Only Mars got nominations in all three categories as well.
Other nominees in the record of the year category included Bon Iver's ballad "Holocene"; Mars' ballad "Grenade"; Mumford & Sons' "The Cave"; and Katy Perry's inspirational anthem "Firework." For song of the year, which honors the writers of the tune, contenders included "The Cave," ''Grenade, "Holocene" and Lady Gaga's "You and I."
The best album category was as noteworthy for who was excluded as it was for who was nominated. Lady Gaga garnered her third straight nod in the category for "Born This Way," while veteran rockers the Foo Fighters were nominated for "Wasting Light," along with Mars' debut album, "Doo-Wops & Hooligans," and Rihanna's steamy dance album "Loud."
Shut out were perceived favorites like 85-year-old Bennett, who became the oldest person to score a No. 1 debut when his "Duets II" album was released earlier this year, and the megawatt collaboration of Jay-Z and West with the heavily hyped "Watch The Throne."
The biggest snub may have been to Swift, who won in the category in 2010 and was considered by some critics to be a favorite for "Speak Now," which has sold 3.7 million copies. She did get three nominations, however, including for best country album.
Unlike the past two years, which saw Swift and fellow country act Lady Antebellum soar in the general categories, the only country act that got a mainstream nomination was the country sibling act The Band Perry. Best known for their poignant ballad "If I Die Young," they got a nomination for best new artist. Their competition also includes Bon Iver, Jay-Z rap protégé J. Cole, Skrillex and rapper-singer Nicki Minaj, who scored four nominations in total.
The 54th Grammys will be held Feb. 12 in Los Angeles. The ceremony will mark the first since the academy shaved its categories from 109 to 78 this year, amid some protest. Some of the more niched categories, like best Zydeco or Cajun music album, were eliminated.
In addition, men and women now compete together in vocal categories for pop, R&B and country, instead of having separate categories for each sex. This year, the category is best pop solo performance and Bruno Mars is the only man nominated for "Grenade." His competition includes Adele for "Someone Like You," Lady Gaga for "You and I," Pink for "(Expletive) Perfect" and Perry for "Firework."
Nominees announced Wednesday in top categories for the 54th annual Grammy Awards:
Record of the Year: “Rolling in the Deep,” Adele; “Holocene,” Bon Iver; “Grenade,” Bruno Mars; “The Cave,” Mumford & Sons; “Firework,” Katy Perry.
Album of the Year: “21,” Adele; “Wasting Light,” Foo Fighters; “Born This Way,” Lady Gaga; “Doo-Wops & Hooligans,” Bruno Mars; “Loud,” Rihanna.
Song of the Year: “All of the Lights,” Jeff Bhasker, Malik Jones, Warren Trotter and Kanye West, songwriters (performed by Kanye West, Rihanna, Kid Cudi and Fergie); “The Cave,” Ted Dwane, Ben Lovett, Marcus Mumford and Country Winston, songwriters (Mumford & Sons); “Grenade,” Brody Brown, Claude Kelly, Philip Lawrence, Ari Levine, Bruno Mars and Andrew Wyatt, songwriters (Bruno Mars); “Holocene,” Justin Vernon, songwriter (Bon Iver); “Rolling in the Deep,” Adele Adkins & Paul Epworth, songwriters (Adele).
New Artist: The Band Perry, Bon Iver, J. Cole, Nicki Minaj, Skrillex.
Pop Vocal Album: “21,” Adele; “The Lady Killer,” Cee Lo Green; “Born This Way,” Lady Gaga; “Doo-Wops & Hooligans,” Bruno Mars; “Loud,” Rihanna.
Rock Album: “Rock ’n’ Roll Party Honoring Les Paul,” Jeff Beck; “Wasting Light,” Foo Fighters; “Come Around Sundown,” Kings of Leon; “I’m With You,” Red Hot Chili Peppers; “The Whole Love,” Wilco.
R&B Album: “F.A.M.E.,” Chris Brown; “Second Chance,” El DeBarge; “Love Letter,” R. Kelly; “Pieces of Me,” Ledisi; “Kelly,” Kelly Price.
Rap Album: “Watch the Throne,” Jay-Z and Kanye West; “Tha Carter IV,” Lil Wayne; “Lasers,” Lupe Fiasco; “Pink Friday,” Nicki Minaj; “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy,” Kanye West.
Country Album: “My Kinda Party,” Jason Aldean; “Chief,” Eric Church; “Own the Night,” Lady Antebellum; “Red River Blue,” Blake Shelton; “Here for a Good Time,” George Strait; “Speak Now,” Taylor Swift.
Latin Pop, Rock or Urban Album: “Entren Los Que Quieran,” Calle 13; “Entre La Ciudad y El Mar,” Gustavo Galindo; “Nuestra,” La Vida Bohème; “Not So Commercial,” Los Amigos Invisibles; “Drama y Luz,” Maná.
Jazz Vocal Album: “‘Round Midnight,” Karrin Allyson; “The Mosaic Project,” Terri Lyne Carrington & Various Artists; “The Gate,” Kurt Elling; “American Road,” Tierney Sutton (Band); “The Music of Randy Newman,” Roseanna Vitro.
Contemporary Classical Composition: “Elmer Gantry,” Robert Aldridge and Herschel Garfein; “The Ghosts of Alhambra,” George Crumb; “String Quartet No. 3,” Jefferson Friedman; “Lonely Motel-Music from Slide,” Steven Mackey; “Piano Concerto No. 2,” Poul Ruders.
— Associated Press