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December 04, 2008

Grammy appetizer

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A TV show that's dedicated to the alleged best in popular music should focus on what's hot and now and urgent, with that catchy and innocuous "American Boy" playing on a loop, bubble gum stars chomping bubble gum, and tons and tons of Autotune, right?

But that's not what we got with last night's first-ever attempt to air the Grammy nominations. Instead, we were "treated" to Celine Dion's version of Janis Ian's "At 17," Mariah Carey doing "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)" and the usually flawless Foo Fighters butchering "You're So Vain." Nothing performed was written after 1976, except, inexplicably, some new Taylor Swift tune.

What was that mess?

There are several answers for that.

1) A promo for the February airing of the actual Grammy awards, which haven't exactly been tearing up the Nielsens, even last year' when it celebrated its 50th anniversary and was one of the few original programs in a rerun-heavy writers strike environment.

2) An ad for the Grammy museum, opening this weekend at L.A. Live, which city fathers and corporate developers hope will be downtown's entertainment mecca.

3) A feeble attempt to get people to buy records.

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The CBS show, ostentatiously dubbed "Grammy Nominations Concert Live: Countdown to Music's Biggest Night," drew enough eyeballs (7.1 million) to beat a couple of lame duck shows, but not much else that aired on network TV last night. What does that mean for the telecast a few months away? Who knows.

On to the nominees!

Lil Wayne, the hardest working man in rap, led the way with eight nods, followed by Coldplay with seven, Kanye West, Ne-Yo and Jay-Z with six each. No Sugarland (boo!) but there's Radiohead, M.I.A. and Robert Plant and Alison Krauss.

Perhaps our favorite nominee: Emmy owning "My Life on the D-List" star Kathy Griffin, who shamelessly named her CD "For Your Consideration" and said from Day 1 that it was her Grammy bait project. Good on her!

More from Billboard here and full list of nominees here.

 

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Oscar Contenders

  • So "The Dark Knight" didn't make it into the final five after all, never mind that critical and popular support. Let's just call the comic-inspired mega-hit "The Biggest Snubee."

    Here are the best picture contenders in a race that, two weeks away from the Oscars, seems to be a foregone conclusion ("Slumdog") unless there's a come-from-behind possibility ("The Reader" anyone?)

    "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," with Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett; the politically timely "Milk;" rags-to-riches fairy tale, "Slumdog Millionaire," Holocaust best-seller-based drama "The Reader," and Watergate-era biopic "Frost/Nixon."

    Could "Button" and "Slumdog" split the vote, allowing another film to take the prize? Doesn't seem likely. After having clung to "Button" for months as what we thought would be the Academy voters' top vhoice, our money's now on "Slumdog." Momentum can't be ignored.

    Watch this blog for updates, ephemera and all manner of postulating.

Picture this

  • Mmmmm, chocolate Oscar. Not every star will walk away from the 81st annual Academy Awards with a trophy, but if they hit the high-profile Governor's Ball they can have pastry chef Sherry Yard's gold-dusted candy version. Also on the menu from celeb chef Wolfgang Puck is tuna tartare in sesame miso cones, chopped Chino Farms vegetable salad with ginger soy vinaigrette, Maine lobster and caviar. Serve it up! (Getty Images)

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