Rappers Eminem and Jay-Z weigh in big in the 2011 Grammy Awards competition, but the dark horse contender is a tune too filthy for airplay.

Nods for the 53rd annual Grammys, to be presented Feb. 11 at Staples Center in L.A., were announced Wednesday following a one-hour CBS special during which nominees in the top slots were unveiled.

Eminem leads nominees with 10 nods. Singer-songwriter-producer Bruno Mars had seven, while Jay-Z, country trio Lady Antebellum and outre vocalist Lady Gaga each copped six.

Tagged in the album of the year category were Eminem’s “Recovery,” Lady Antebellum’s “Need You Now,” Gaga’s “The Fame Monster,” Arcade Fire’s “The Suburbs” and Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream.”

Up for record of the year (an award given to the artist, producers, engineers and mixers) are the B.o.B/Mars collaboration “Nothin’ on You,” the Eminem/Rihanna duet “Love the Way You Lie,” Cee Lo Green’s “Fuck You,” Jay-Z and Alicia Keys’ “Empire State of Mind” and Lady Antebellum’s “Need You Now.”

Competing for song of the year (a writer’s award) are Ray LaMontagne and the Pariah Dogs’ “Beg Steal or Borrow” (penned by LaMontagne), “Fuck You” (Cee Lo Green, Philip Lawrence and Bruno Mars), Miranda Lambert’s “The House That Built Me” (Tom Douglas and Allen Shamblin), “Love the Way You Lie” (Alexander Grant, Holly Hafferman and Marshall Mathers) and “Need You Now” (Dave Haywood, Josh Kear, Charles Kelley and Hillary Scott).

Going one-on-one for new artist are teen pop star Justin Bieber, Canadian rapper Drake, femme-fronted U.K. unit Florence and the Machine, British folk-pop act Mumford and Sons and genre-hopping vocalist-bassist Esperanza Spalding.

Though the Recording Academy didn’t see fit to nominate two rap sets for album of the year, thereby bypassing Jay-Z’s “The Blueprint 3,” Eminem and Jay-Z — who were co-billed on the recent four-date “Home and Home” mini-tour in Detroit and Gotham — will slug it out for record of the year.

Eminem is still looking to break out of the rap categories in which he’s won almost all of his 11 Grammys; he has been stymied in the album of the year and record of the year slots before (Daily Variety, Nov. 17). He claims the bestselling album of 2010: “Recovery” topped the 3 million unit mark last week. The maturely-penned set spawned “Love the Way You Lie,” which was cemented at No. 1 on the singles chart for seven consecutive weeks.

Jay-Z has also scored all seven of his Grammys in the rap realm. The musician and label exec topped sales of 1.8 million with “The Blueprint 3,” which contains the mash note to New York “Empire State of Mind.” Chances for an “Empire State” win are enhanced by the presence of Keys, a Grammy favorite with a dozen trophies to her credit.

As anticipated, Eminem and Jay-Z will face off in all three of the rap categories.

Biggest surprise may be Green’s nods for record and song of the year, for a tune no radio station can play in its uncensored form. “Fuck You” set fire to the Internet as a low-tech video release this fall; it’s since become so well-known that a bowdlerized version, “Forget You,” was issued for radio airing, and Gwyneth Paltrow essayed the censored number on a recent episode of “Glee.”

Until Taylor Swift’s “Speak Now” arrived with a million-plus sales week in late October, Lady Antebellum was the year’s big noise out of Nashville. Trio of Hillary Scott, Dave Haywood and Charles Kelley has sold more than 2.8 million copies of its album “Need You Now” since its January release. Titular single scored at both the CMA and ACM Awards.

To date, the threesome has won just one Grammy: “I Run to You” was honored as best country performance by a duo or group last year.

Indie rock is seldom a commodity in the major Grammy categories. But Arcade Fire’s third album “The Suburbs,” issued by the small North Carolina label Merge Records, undoubtedly attracted Recording Academy members’ attention when the big Montreal band’s set entered the American album chart at No. 1 in August, dethroning Eminem’s “Recovery.” Collection has sold 390,000 to date.

Strangely, though songbird Perry’s “California Gurls,” omnipresent on the airwaves this summer, failed to be nominated for record or song of the year, her fast-fading album “Teenage Dream,” almost universally viewed as a commercial disappointment with 676,000 copies sold, made album of the year.

Six nods for Gaga, including one for album of the year, can be considered a Grammy make-good, after a fashion. The singer, a potent commercial force and media ubiquity for much of the last two years, lost out in the major categories this January, and was aced out of new artist consideration owing to a technicality.

Gaga’s eight-song “The Fame Monster,” an addendum to her breakthrough “The Fame,” has sold more than 1.3 million to date, and contains the smash “Bad Romance.”

Rock — a genre currently in commercial eclipse — makes a surprisingly strong showing in the best new artist category, where titian-haired Florence Welch’s Brit Award-winning unit and Marcus Mumford’s slow-rolling, venue-filling folk quartet will compete against pop, rap and jazz-skewed talents.

Biggest Grammy diss of the year may have gone to Susan Boyle, who was ignored in the top categories. The 49-year-old Scottish vocalist, whose performance on “Britain’s Got Talent” became an international viral sensation late last year, has enjoyed success that’s hard to argue with. Her debut album, “I Dreamed a Dream,” has moved almost 3.9 million copies.

On the film and TV front, compilation soundtrack nominations went to “Crazy Heart,” “Glee: The Music, Volume 1,” “Treme,” “True Blood — Volume 2” and “The Twilight Saga: Eclipse.”

In the score soundtrack album category (a composer’s award), a slot dominated this year by the usual suspects, Hans Zimmer received two nominations, for “Inception” and “Sherlock Holmes.” Also in the running are “Alice in Wonderland” (Danny Elfman), “Avatar” (James Horner) and “Toy Story 3” (Randy Newman).

Up for song written for a motion picture, television or other media are “Down in New Orleans” (from “The Princess and the Frog,” written by Newman), “I See You” (from “Avatar,” by Horner, Simon Franglen and Kuk Harrell), “Kiss Like You Kiss” (from “True Blood,” by Lucinda Williams), “This City” (from “Treme,” by Steve Earle) and the Oscar and Golden Globe-winning “The Weary Kind” (from “Crazy Heart,” by Ryan Bingham and T Bone Burnett).

Nominated for musical show album(presented to album producers and show composers and lyricists) were “American Idiot,” “A Little Night Music,” “Promises, Promises,” “Sondheim On Sondheim” and “Fela!”

Material released between Sept. 1, 2009 and Sept. 30, 2010 (a 13-month period) is eligible for the 2011 Grammys.


Ray LaMontagne – “Beg Steal or Borrow”
Cee Lo Green – “F*** You”
Miranda Lambert – “The House That Built Me”
Eminem Feat. Rihanna – “Love The Way You Lie”
Lady Antebellum – “Need You Now.”

Arcade Fire – “The Suburbs”
Eminem – “Recovery”
Lady Antebellum – “Need You Now”
Lady Gaga – “The Fame Monster”
Katy Perry – “Teenage Dream.”

B.o.B. Feat. Bruno Mars – “Nothin’ On You”
Eminem Feat. Rihanna – “Love the Way You Lie”
Cee Lo Green – “F*** You”
Jay-Z & Alicia Keys – “Empire State of Mind”
Lady Antebellum – “Need You Now”

Dierks Bentley – “Up on the Ridge”
Zac Brown Band – “You Get What You Give”
Jamey Johnson – “The Guitar Song”
Lady Antebellum – “Need You Now”
Miranda Lambert – “Revolution”

Drake – “Over”
Eminem – “Not Afraid”
Ludacris – “How Low”
T.I. – “I’m Back”
Kanye West – “Power.”

Jeff Beck – “Emotion & Commotion”
Muse – “The Resistance”
Pearl Jam – “Backspacer”
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers – “Mojo”
Neil Young – “Le Noise.”

Glee Cast “Don’t Stop Believin’ (Regionals Version)”
Maroon 5 – “Misery”
Paramore – “The Only Exception”
Sade – “Babyfather”
Train – “Hey, Soul Sister (Live)”

Justin Bieber
Florence & The Machine
Mumford & Sons
Esperanza Spalding

Sara Bareilles – “King of Anything”
Beyonce – “Halo (Live)”
Norah Jones – “Chasing Pirates
Lady Gaga – “Bad Romance”
Katy Perry – “Teenage Dream”

Michael Buble – “Haven’t Met You Yet”
Michael Jackson – “This Is It”
Adam Lambert – “Whataya Want From Me”
Bruno Mars – “Just the Way You Are”
John Mayer – “Half of My Heart”

For the complete list in PDF form, click here.