Will Coldplay, Alicia Keys get Grammy nominations?


The contenders will be revealed in a prime-time special.

Rapper Lil’ Wayne looks like he’s got the biggest-selling album of 2008 with “Tha Carter III,” but will it mean anything when the nominations for the 51st Annual Grammy Awards are announced this week?

As much as the Grammys pretend to want to be hip, they don’t want to be too hip.

We saw that in action, yet again, last year when cool names such as Amy Winehouse and Kanye West racked up big nominations, including in the Album of the Year category.

But when Album of the Year was announced at the end of the night at the 50th annual ceremony, it went to Herbie Hancock. Hancock’s a legend, but ignoring the impact of West and Winehouse felt like a mistake.

As for loopy rapper Lil’ Wayne, don’t look for too much Grammy presence. As maddeningly infectious as “Tha Carter III” is, it’s just not the type of music to sweep the Grammys, except maybe in rap categories.

Which way the Recording Academy swings will become clearer with “The Grammy Nominations Concert Live!! Countdown to Music’s Biggest Night.”

The clumsily titled special airs at 9 p.m. Wednesday on CBS and will announce nominations in top categories. It’s the first time nominations have been announced in prime time.

Performers include Christina Aguilera, Mariah Carey, Celine Dion, Foo Fighters, B.B. King and John Mayer, all past Grammy winners looking to pick up a nod or two this week. LL Cool J and Taylor Swift will host, with the country-pop Swift possibly up for nominations of her own.

Here are a few things to look for when the nominations are announced. The Grammy Awards will air Feb. 8 on CBS.

Coldplay/Radiohead: It’d be a good day indeed for modern rock to see both Radiohead’s “In Rainbows” and Coldplay’s “Viva La Vida” both up for Album of the Year. If it doesn’t happen, it’ll nearly discount the rest of this category.

Leona Lewis: The boring but talented Leona Lewis and her “Spirit” project weren’t all they were hyped to be, though her “Bleeding Love” single grows on you. Still, she seems perfectly packaged for Grammy success, eyeing possible nominations such as Best New Artist, Song of the Year and Album of the Year.

Alicia Keys: Keys did well last year on the strength of her single “No One,” but her “As I Am” wasn’t yet eligible. It’s eligible now, and this Grammy favorite will reap those benefits including an Album of the Year nomination.

Carrie Underwood: The presence of Swift as a co-host of the Grammy special means Underwood may want to watch her back, but for now, Underwood and her “Carnival Ride” will do just fine, particularly in country categories.

Duffy: The influence of Winehouse last year helped open the door to the retro stylings of Duffy, who, like Lewis, looks like a Best New Artist nominee.

Nas: Nas’ latest CD may have gone out without a title, but it could walk away with Best Rap Album and more.

Robert Plant/Alison Krauss: Nominating Plant and Krauss’ effort “Raising Sand” lets the Recording Academy honor a legend and a favorite at the same time.

Mariah Carey/Madonna: There shouldn’t be much of a to-do with either Carey or Madonna when the nominations are revealed, though Carey’s “EMC2” and Madonna’s “Hard Candy” should receive a couple of nods in R&B and pop/dance categories, respectively.