NASHVILLE - The Grammy Awards celebrated the diversity of music as six different artists tied for top nominee - Kanye West, Jay-Z, Frank Ocean, Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys, Mumford & Sons, and fun., all with six nominations.
Auerbach received five nominations as a member of the Keys and also is up for producer of the year, earning a spot with the others at the top of the list as the Grammys' prime-time television special came to his hometown Wednesday night.
The rockers little resemble any of the other acts at the top of the list. The top nominations for Jay-Z and West, two of hip-hop's most important figures, are a familiar refrain; each has routinely been at or near the top of the nominations list for the last several years.
The indie pop band fun., a featured performer during the show aired live from Nashville's Bridgestone Arena on CBS, rode the success of its anthemic hit, "We Are Young," featuring Janelle Monae, to a sweep of the major categories, earning nods for best new artist, song and record for "We Are Young," and album of the year for Some Nights. The band's producer, Jeff Bhasker, is up for four awards.
"When you call your band fun. with a period at the end of the sentence, you set a very high standard for yourself and for fun itself," Taylor Swift, the concert's cohost, said in introducing them. "Fortunately this band from New York has lived up to the name in the best possible way."
R&B singer Ocean had major nominations for best new artist, record for "Thinkin Bout You," and album of the year for channel ORANGE.
The British folk-rock band Mumford & Sons, which made an auspicious debut in front of an international audience during the 2011 Grammys, is up for album of the year for Babel, one of 2012's best-selling releases.
Miguel, who helped Ocean shake up the R&B world this year, and jazz great Chick Correa join the Keys with five nominations apiece. Nas and recording engineer Bob Ludwig join Bhasker at four apiece.
There were no major snubs among the top nominees. Most of 2012's inescapable hits are represented in some way - Gotye's "Somebody That I Used to Know" is up for record of the year, and Carly Rae Jepsen's "Call Me Maybe" garnered a song-of-the-year nod. Drake, Rihanna, and Nashville residents Swift, Kelly Clarkson, Jack White, and best-new-artist nominee Hunter Hayes were among 16 nominees with three nods.
In many ways the nominations reflect a singles-driven year when no album rose to the level of acclaim as did Adele's 21 or West's My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, which dominated the Grammys in February.
The five-year-old nominations show was held outside Los Angeles for the first time and showcased Music City for its growing role in the music industry. The Bridgestone Arena marked the largest venue in which the show has been held, and it also may have been a dress rehearsal for a chance to host the main awards show sometime in the future.
LL Cool J returned as host, sharing duties with Swift, whose hit song "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" earned a nod in the jam-packed record-of-the-year category. She was joined by fun., Gotye, Clarkson's "Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)," the Black Keys' "Lonely Boy," and Ocean's "Thinkin Bout You."
Swift and LL Cool J opened the show by putting together a beat-box version of Swift's hit "Mean." Hayes displayed his versatility while announcing the best pop vocal album by singing snippets of each star's hit song.
Maroon 5 played headliner, singing three songs midshow before finishing off the live broadcast. The group stuck around for an hour-long performance afterward for the crowd in attendance.
The 55th annual Grammy Awards will be Feb. 10 in Los Angeles. Trophies will be handed out in 81 categories.