Grammy Nominations 2014: Show Highlights (and the List of Nominees)

Jay Z leads all artists with nine noms

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Grammy nominations for the 65th Annual Grammy Awards
Michael Nelson / EPA

Lorde at the 65th Annual Grammy Awards at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles, Dec. 6, 2013.

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis kicked off the 56th Grammy Awards nomination concert last night with the song that put the hard-working Seattle rappers on the map: “Thrift Shop”.  The performance — filled with a lot of self-censoring — was just the opening salvo for the hip-hop duo that went on to earn seven nominations, including best new artist, album of the year and song of the year for their anti-homophobia chart topper “Same Love.” Only Jay Z bested the duo with nine nods.

The Grammy nomination concert was hosted by LL Cool J (who was released from the set of NCIS: Los Angeles for the occasion). Here are the highlights from the concert that we assume no one else watched as it aired on a Friday night:

Least Life-like Experience: It was heavily touted that Taylor Swift would be performing. In fact she was —but in Sydney, Australia.  Viewers were treated to a simulcast performance of her song  “I Knew You Were Trouble” on giant televisions, which probably had fewer buffering problems than watching the video on YouTube on repeat, but not much else going for it.

Fun Fact: While Swift’s Red came out in 2012, the Grammys have a different understanding of years than the rest of us: by their rules, they run from October to October. Thus, Red is eligible to win for both Album of the Year and Country Album of the Year in 2014.

Most Unlikely Pairing: Keith Urban and Miguel covering Bill Withers’ “Ain’t No Sunshine When She’s Gone.”

Most Serious Moment:  LL Cool J took a moment out of the concert to  say a few words about Nelson Mandela, which got serious nod from Melissa Etheridge.

Biggest Surprise: Sara Bareilles’ The Blessed Unrest was nominated for Album of the Year.

Biggest Applause: While Bareilles’ nomination was a surprise, it was Kendrick Lamar’s and Macklemore & Lewis’s nods that got the biggest applause from the live studio audience.

Most Notable Absence: While Justin Timberlake is also up for seven Grammys. His The 20/20 Experience was passed over in the album of the year category. Perhaps Timberlake should have sent the voting members of the Recording Academy an Edible Arrangement.

Strangest Display of Modesty: Katy Perry, who was broadcast in from a packed concert hall somewhere in Canada, told the crowd that she had no idea that her song “Roar” would be such a big deal.  Guess she’s not used to this whole hit song thing.

Worst Dialogue: LL Cool J: “You ready to blur some lines for us, Robin?” Robin Thicke: “Yes, I hope so.”

Interesting Tidbit: Three of the five Album of the Year nominees (Taylor Swift’s Red, Kendrick Lamar’s good kid, m.A.A.d city, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ The Heist) came out in October 2012.

Most Straight Forward Introduction: “The host of The Arsenio Hall Show …Arsenio Hall!” Good hosting, LL!

Toughest Competition: Best New Artist category with Kacey Musgraves, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Kendrick Lamar and Ed Sheeran.

Biggest Snub: Lorde was not nominated for Best New Artist, despite her nomination for Best Song and Best Album. Plus she was pushed out of the category by …James Blake?! Of course, if the Ed Sheeran nomination is any indication she’ll still be eligible next year.

Nicest Prospective Loser: Sheeran told CNN that he hopes Macklemore & Lewis win the Grammy. “They’ve achieved so much this year in popular culture,” Sheeran said. “They really changed things doing a song about homophobia.”

Best Lawsuit, What Lawsuit? Moment: Robin Thicke convinced some members of Earth, Wind and Fire to perform on his mega-hit “Blurred Lines.” As Thicke’s legal battle with the heirs of the late Marvin Gaye, who argue that the hit ripped off Gaye’s classic “Got to Give It Up,” it’s now clear which side of the lawsuit Earth, Wind and Fire come down on.

Best Proof That You’re Never Too Old to Rock: Paul McCartney whose collaboration with Nirvana is up for the best rock song against Rolling Stones’ Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. The best rock album competition could have been plucked from a 1970s festival bill with Black Sabbath, David Bowie, Led Zeppelin and Neil Young with Crazy Horse all in the running.

Keep It In Perspective: Last year, one of the big winners at the Grammys was Gotye. Remember him? Exactly.

The Grammy Awards ceremony will air on CBS on Jan. 26, 2014.

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List of 2014 Grammy Nominees:

Record Of The Year

Daft Punk & Pharrell Williams “Get Lucky”
Imagine Dragons “Radioactive”
Lorde “Royals”
Bruno Mars “Locked Out Of Heaven”
Robin Thicke Featuring T.I. & Pharrell “Blurred Lines”

Album Of The Year

Sara Bareilles “The Blessed Unrest”
Daft Punk “Random Access Memories”
Kendrick Lamar “Good Kid, M.A.A.D City”
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis “The Heist”
Taylor Swift “Red”

Song Of The Year

Pink Featuring Nate Ruess “Just Give Me A Reason”
Bruno Mars “Locked Out Of Heaven”
Katy Perry “Roar”
Lorde “Royals”
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis Featuring Mary Lambert “Same Love”

Best New Artist

James Blake
Kendrick Lamar
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
Kacey Musgraves
Ed Sheeran

Best Pop Solo Performance

Sara Bareilles “Brave”
Lorde “Royals”
Bruno Mars “When I Was Your Man”
Katy Perry “Roar”
Justin Timberlake “Mirrors”

Best Pop Duo/Group Performance

Daft Punk & Pharrell Williams “Get Lucky”
Pink Featuring Nate Ruess “Just Give Me A Reason”
Rihanna Featuring Mikky Ekko “Stay”
Robin Thicke Featuring T.I. & Pharrell “Blurred Lines”
Justin Timberlake & Jay Z “Suit & Tie”

Best Country Album

Jason Aldean “Night Train”
Tim McGraw “Two Lanes of Freedom”
Kacey Musgraves “Same Trailer Different Park”
Blake Shelton”Based on a True Story”
Taylor Swift “Red”

Best Rap Album

Drake “Nothing Was The Same”
Jay Z “Magna Carta…Holy Grail”
Kendrick Lamar “Good Kid, M.A.A.D City”
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis “The Heist”
Kanye West “Yeezus”

Best Rock Album

Black Sabbath “13”
David Bowie “The Next Day”
Kings Of Leon “Mechanical Bull”
Led Zeppelin “Celebration Day”
Queens Of The Stone Age “…Like Clockwork”
Neil Young With Crazy Horse “Psychedelic Pill”

Best Alternative Album

Neko Case “The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You”
The National “Trouble Will Find Me”
Nine Inch Nails “Hesitation Marks”
Tame Impala “Lonerism”
Vampire Weekend “Modern Vampires Of The City”

The full list of Grammys nominations for 2014 is available at the awards show’s website. There are 82 categories.

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