Rappers, rockers drive Grammy nominations

Kanye West, Foo Fighters, Adele among top nominees

Move over, Taylor — Kanye’s in the house.

Nominations for the 2012 Grammy Awards give big props to short-fused rapper Kanye West, but pop-country darling Taylor Swift, one of the year’s biggest sellers, was shut out of the major categories.

Top nods for the Recording Academy’s 54th Grammys — to be telecast live from Staples Center on Feb. 12 — were announced Wednesday during a one-hour show at Nokia Theater, aired live in the East on CBS for the fourth year running.

Leading the list of nominees this year is West, who drew seven nods. Adele, Foo Fighters and Bruno Mars all collected six noms, while Lil Wayne and Skrillex will compete in five categories.

Up for album of the year are Adele’s “21,” Foo Fighters’ “Wasting Light,” Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way,” Bruno Mars’ “Doo-Wops & Hooligans” and Rihanna’s “Loud.”

Contending for record of the year (presented to the artist, producers, engineers and mixers) are Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep,” Bon Iver’s “Holocene,” Mars’ “Grenade,” Mumford & Sons’ “The Cave” and Katy Perry’s “Firework.”

The field for song of the year (a cleffer’s award) comprises West’s “All of the Lights” (written by Jeff Bhasker, Malik Jones, Warren Trotter and West), “The Cave” (by Ted Dwayne, Ben Lovett, Marcus Mumford and Country Winston), “Grenade” (by Brody Brown, Claude Kelly, Philip Lawrence, Ari Levine, Andrew Wyatt and Mars), “Holocene” (by Justin Vernon, aka Bon Iver), and “Rolling in the Deep” (by Adele and Paul Epworth).

Best new artist nominees are sibling country act the Band Perry, neo-folkie Bon Iver, rappers J. Cole and Nicki Minaj and dance artist Skrillex.

All but one of West’s nominations came in genre slots. Conspicuous by its absence in the album of the year category is his hit “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy,” which entered the chart at No. 1 with a 496,000-unit week last December. His hot-selling 2011 collaboration with Jay-Z, “Watch the Throne,” was similarly dissed.

While West has rung up 14 Grammy wins since 2005’s ceremony, the lippy rapper has never been accorded recognition in any of the major categories, and he has been vocal in his displeasure about that slight.

Pop-soul powerhouse Adele (née Adele Adkins), 2011’s breakout superstar, has already found favor among Grammy voters: she reaped two awards at the 2009 ceremony, including best new artist.

She’s this year’s uncontested sales champ: Her sophomore album “21” has sold nearly 4.7 million copies since its release in February, moving more than 100,000 copies per week for the life of its run. It dropped out of the top five on the U.S. album chart for the first time only this week.

Sadly, dismissal of Swift’s late-2010 smash “Fearless” and its attendant hits in the major categories will rob the 54th Grammys of what could have been a rousing competition between Adele and contemporary pop’s other 21-year-old luminary. Swift — winner of four Grammys in 2010 — collected three nods, including best country album, in genre categories.

The Recording Academy instead decided to shower nominations on Foo Fighters, the alt-rock unit fronted by former Nirvana skin man Dave Grohl. A NARAS favorite, act has won half a dozen Grammys since 2000.

Though Lady Gaga only began her recording career three years ago, she already qualifies as a Grammy darling, despite her technical elimination from best new artist consideration two years back.

Gaga has five wins to her credit, moving out of the electronic/dance niche into pop terrain at the 2011 awards show with triumphs in the female pop vocal and pop vocal album categories. The predecessors to “Born This Way,” her debut “The Fame” and its sequel “The Fame Monster,” also collected album of the year nods. “Born” arrived at No. 1 in June behind a 1.1 million-unit sales week.

Singer-songwriter-producer Mars — whose hit “Just the Way You Are” collected a best male pop vocal performance award earlier this year — makes a prominent showing in the ’12 competish with acknowledgement in three of the top slots.

Despite country’s ongoing sales potency, it received short shrift in this year’s major nominations. Swift, trio Lady Antebellum (last year’s record of the year and song of the year winner) and rising rock-friendly vocalist Jason Aldean — the authors of mega-selling sets — are all glaringly absent from the so-called “general field” of top nominees.

On the film and TV side, best compilation soundtrack nominees include “Boardwalk Empire: Volume 1,” “Burlesque,” “Glee: The Music, Volume 4,” “Tangled” and “True Blood: Volume 3.”

Alexandre Desplat swept up two nominations in the best score soundtrack category, a composer’s award, for “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 2” and “The King’s Speech.” Other nods were granted to Clint Mansell (“The Black Swan), Ryan Shore (“The Shrine”) and dance-pop duo Daft Punk (“Tron Legacy”).

Nominated for best song written for visual media are “Born to Be Somebody” (from the Justin Bieber vehicle “Never Say Never,” by Diane Warren), “Christmastime is Killing Us” (from “Family Guy,” by Ron Jones, Seth MacFarlane and Danny Smith), “I See the Light” (from “Tangled,” by Alan Menken and Glenn Slater), “So Long” (from “Winnie the Pooh,” by Zooey Deschanel), “Where the River Goes” (from “Footloose,” by Zac Brown, Wyatt Durrette, Drew Pearson and Anne Preven) and “You Haven’t Seen the Last of Me” (from the Cher-Christina Aguilera pic “Burlesque,” also by Warren).

Cast recordings of the Tony-winning legit tuner “The Book of Mormon” and revivals of “Anything Goes” and “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” will compete for best musical theater album.

The 2012 Grammy nominees list is less voluminous than in years past: In April, the Recording Academy pared the number of categories to 78 from 109, eliminating many niche slots and unifying vocal awards in pop, R&B and country. Move sparked an outcry among some performers and a still-pending class-action lawsuit.

Material released between Oct. 1, 2010 and Sept. 30, 2011 was eligible for 2012 Grammys consideration.

Click here for the complete list of nominees.

Popular on Variety

More Music

  • Review: Taylor Swift Finds Giddiness, Amid

    Album Review: Taylor Swift's 'Lover'

    Sitting in a hot tub on “Saturday Night Live,” Will Ferrell and Rachel Dratch stole the sobriquet “love-ah” from the lexicon of acceptable terms of endearment — and, by golly, Taylor Swift is reaching into that oily water and stealing it back. The word doesn’t sound unctuous on her lips as she repeats it in [...]

  • Travis ScottWireless Festival, Finsbury Park, London,

    Travis Scott Surprises Fans With Netflix Documentary Reveal, Pop-Up in Houston

    Travis Scott just revealed his new Netflix documentary in the most organic way possible: a social media post to his 18.5 million followers on Instagram. The photo consisted of him holding a series of VHS tapes, which turns out to be the trailer for his forthcoming documentary on Netflix titled “Look Mom I Can Fly.” [...]

  • Beverly Hills Realtor Accused of Stealing

    Beverly Hills Realtor Accused of Stealing From Usher, Adam Lambert

    A Beverly Hills real estate agent has been arrested on charges of stealing from the homes of celebrities, including Usher, Adam Lambert and “Real Housewives” star Dorit Kemsley. Jason Emil Yaselli, 32, is accused of encouraging an accomplice, Benjamin Ackerman, to enter homes during open houses in order to steal from them. Ackerman allegedly sold [...]

  • Taylor Swift Debuts 'Lover' Video, Sings

    Taylor Swift Debuts 'Lover' Video, Sings 'Archer' During YouTube Livestream (Watch)

    Taylor Swift went live on YouTube today to talk about the inspiration behind her new album “Lover,” dropping tonight. Those who tuned into the live event on Swift’s YouTube channel were virtual attendees of the “Lover’s Lounge,” which included an acoustic performance of her already released single “The Archer,” a Q&A sesh and a behind-the-scenes [...]

  • Missy-Elliot VMA

    Missy Elliott to Drop New EP, ‘Iconology,’ Tonight

    It’s been nearly 15 years since Missy Elliott dropped her last album, and in that time she’s released a handful of songs, made some guest features, played some lconcerts, appeared alongside Katy Perry at the 2015 Super Bowl and this year she’s been voted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame and on Monday night she’ll [...]

  • John Janick Interscope Geffen

    And the New Interscope Records Publicity Chief Is...

    Variety has confirmed one of the worst kept secrets in the music business: Cara Donatto is joining Interscope Geffen A&M (IGA) as its new head of publicity. She arrives at the Universal Music Group label from Atlantic Records, where she has spent nearly two decades of her career guiding public relations strategy for such artists [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content