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Beyonce, Jay-Z, Outkast Among Top Grammy Contenders - 2003-12-10

Nominees for the 46th annual Grammy Awards were announced December 4 at a press conference in Los Angeles. Members of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences will be honoring musical achievement in 105 categories this year.

Rap, R&B and hip-hop stars Beyoncé Knowles, Jay-Z, Outkast and Pharrell Williams lead the list of Grammy hopefuls with six nominations each. Beyoncé is in the running for Record of the Year for Crazy In Love, featuring Jay-Z. Other contenders in that category include the Black Eyed Peas and Justin Timberlake for Where Is the Love, Hey Ya! by Outkast, Eminem's Lose Yourself and Clocks by Coldplay.

The Song of the Year category, which honors the composer, includes a diverse field, with Eminem appearing once again with Lose Yourself. Also in contention, Christina Aguilera's Beautiful, and Avril Lavigne with I'm With You. Two sentimental favorites appear in the category: Warren Zevon's Keep Me In Your Heart and Dance With My Father by Luther Vandross. Luther is still recovering from the stroke he suffered earlier this year, and veteran singer and songwriter Warren Zevon passed away in 2003 after battling cancer.

Alternative band Evanescence received five Grammy nominations, including Album of the Year. Their CD Fallen will compete in that category with Missy "Misdemeanor" Elliott's Under Construction, Justified, the first solo effort from 'N Sync member Justin Timberlake, and Elephant, by critically-acclaimed alternative duo, The White Stripes. Rounding out the field is Speakerboxxx/The Love Below by Outkast. The double album features separate material by members Big Boi and Andre 3000, who explore contemporary hip-hop as well as classic soul and funky jazz. The coveted Best New Artist Grammy is given to the artist or group who releases their first commercial recording during the eligibility year, and makes a significant impact on the music industry. Evanescence represents alternative rock in the category, along with rapper 50 Cent, R&B diva Heather Headley, reggae dancehall artist Sean Paul and 1960s pop revival band, Fountains of Wayne.

The 46th annual Grammy Awards will be handed out during a live, televised ceremony on February 8 in Los Angeles.