NEW YORK • The Grammy Awards may come down to a battle of the superdivas.
Beyonce leads the nominations for the 59th annual Grammys, announced on Tuesday, with nine nods for her album Lemonade. But in each of the three top categories, she will square off against Adele, who was nominated five times.
Both women had extraordinary years. Lemonade, an ambitious album and film, tackled issues of race and infidelity. Adele's album 25 was a blockbuster, selling more than 10 million copies in less than a year.
Both were nominated for album of the year, and Beyonce's Formation will go up against Adele's Hello for both record and song of the year.
The Grammys, on Feb 12 in Los Angeles, will mostly hew to the biggest pop hits of the moment - a notable development for a show that has often celebrated ageing stars at the expense of vital young talent.
The other leading nominees include Drake and Rihanna, each with eight nods, and Chance The Rapper, who climbed the charts as an independent and had seven nominations in five categories, including best new artist.
ALBUM OF THE YEAR:
25 - Adele; Lemonade- Beyonce; Purpose -Justin Bieber; Views - Drake; A Sailor’s Guide To Earth - Sturgill Simpson
RECORD OF THE YEAR:
Hello -Adele; Formation - Beyonce; 7 Years - Lukas Graham; Work -Rihanna featuring Drake; Stressed Out - TwentyOnePilots
SONG OF THE YEAR:
Formation; Hello; Love Yourself; 7 Years
BEST NEW ARTIST:
Kelsea Ballerini; The Chainsmokers; Chance The Rapper; Maren Morris Anderson
The list comes with surprises.
Justin Bieber apparently has made the jump from troubled young pop star to respected artist. He got four nods, with a spot in the album of the year category for Purpose, also nominated for pop vocal album.
The biggest surprise for album of the year was A Sailor's Guide To Earth by Sturgill Simpson, a country singer who has won a high-brow audience with abstract lyricism including meditations on Tibetan Buddhism.
For record of the year, Formation and Hello face off against 7 Years, a mellow hit by Danish group Lukas Graham; Stressed Out, by the genre-mixing pop duo Twenty One Pilots; and Rihanna's Work, which features Drake. The Chainsmokers, a DJ duo, are up for three awards, including best new artist. Kanye West, whose album The Life Of Pablo and related tour drew wide attention, received eight nominations. Like Drake and Chance, he is up for all four rap awards.
But members of the Recording Academy, which presents the Grammys, did not choose West - a frequent Grammy critic - in any of the top categories for his own work. He is, however, one of the 20 credited producers on Drake's Views.
Beyonce, however, was nominated for seemingly every award possible. Besides the top fields, she is up for awards in the pop, rock, R&B and rap categories. Lemonade was also nominated for best music film, and Formation for best music video. She has already won 20 awards, and if she wins eight this year, she would surpass Alison Krauss as the most-honoured woman in Grammy history.
Members of Twenty One Pilots are up for five awards; David Bowie, who died in January after releasing his album Blackstar, is up for four. In his lifetime, he won only one Grammy, along with a lifetime achievement award.
Striking absences were Drake's hit One Dance and Frank Ocean's Blonde, another major pop event.
Ocean declined to submit his material for consideration, saying last month that the Grammy award system was outdated and marred by racial bias. He is the exception. In October, Chance bought a full-page ad in Billboard magazine aimed at Grammy voters that asked, "Hey, why not me?"
Meanwhile, Indonesian pianist Joey Alexander, who was nominated for two Grammys at this year's awards but did not win, has a nod for Best Improvised Jazz Solo. It is for Countdown, on his second album.
NYTIMES, WASHINGTON POST