Eminem’s Grammy wins are in the double digits, but despite a career that has been as commercially successful as it has been critically acclaimed, he’s never won a trophy for album of the year on music’s biggest night.
On Wednesday, he might get another shot at it. The rapper is a leading favorite when Grammy nominations are announced at the Recording Academy’s annual nominations special, broadcast live on CBS at 10 p.m. EST from Club Nokia in Los Angeles. The hourlong show hosted by LL Cool J will include performances from likely nominees Justin Bieber, Katy Perry and Miranda Lambert.
Eminem’s “Recovery” is the top-selling album of the year so far, with almost three million copies sold. But more than a sales triumph, it’s also a creative one, marking a return to form after years of battling prescription drugs, lags between albums, and sub par material with last year’s “Relapse.” There are no guarantees when it comes to the Grammys, but an album of the year nomination for “Recovery” is about as sure as it gets.
Eminem is also likely to get nominations for either song of the year, record of the year, or both, for hits “Love the Way You Lie,” featuring Rihanna, and for “Not Afraid.” He’s also a virtual lock to be nominated in several rap categories, where he’s won the majority of his 11 Grammys.
Lady Antebellum’s sophomore album, “Need You Now,” was almost as successful as “Recovery” and is the second best-selling album of the year. The country trio is likely to be nominated in their own genre category, but a nomination for song and record of the year for “Need You Now” is also a strong possibility. And they may get a nod in the album category as well.
Country singer-songwriter Miranda Lambert may also find herself in the album of the year category for her “Revolver,” which won top honors at the Academy of Country Music and Country Music Association awards this year.
Lambert rehearsed for the nominations concert late Tuesday at downtown L.A.’s Club Nokia, backed by a band that included a trio of guitarists as she performed her single “Only Prettier.”
“I’m excited to do something for the Grammys,” she said. “This is kind of a cool thing for me, an introduction to this world. There’s other great artists on the bill, and it’s not just country, it’s across the board for music genres, and I’m just glad to be here representing country music.”
Taylor Swift took home the album of the year trophy for her multiplatinum “Fearless” at last season’s Grammys. Could 2011 be another crossover year for country artists?
“I hope so,” Lambert said. “Country music right now, we have a great name for ourselves, and we’ve all worked real hard to get it out there and make it cool and I think it’s working, so I’m glad to be part of it.”
Sade is also a key contender for album of the year; her “Soldier of Love” received raves and was a best-seller when it was released in February, her first album in 10 years. Other possibilities for album of the year nominations include Arcade Fire for their CD “The Suburbs” and Jay-Z for “The Blueprint 3,” which spawned the massive “Empire State of Mind,” another top Grammy contender.
“Empire State of Mind,” which features Alicia Keys, could get nominations for song and record of the year. Other possibilities for record of the year include Perry’s summer sensation, “California Gurls”; Train for “Hey, Soul Sister”; and two from rapper B.o.B, who had two of the year’s biggest hits with “Nothing on You” (featuring Bruno Mars) and “Airplanes” (featuring Eminem and Paramore’s Hayley Williams).
B.o.B may be nominated for best new artist; rapper Drake is another favorite, along with teen sensation Justin Bieber, a big winner at last month’s American Music Awards.
Previous winners from last year, including the Zac Brown Band, Lady Gaga, and Kings of Leon, could also be among the overall nominees.
While Eminem, Bieber and Jay-Z are among the biggest names as far as Grammy contenders, mainstream acts represent only a portion of the hundreds of nominees to be announced on Wednesday night in 109 categories ranging from pop to folk to polka to classical and gospel.
The Grammys will be awarded Sunday, Feb. 13, at Staples Center in Los Angeles and broadcast live on CBS.
Editors: Entertainment writer Sandy Cohen contributed to this report.