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Eminem, Lady GaGa, Justin Bieber Among Top Grammy Contenders

Rapper Eminem performs at Yankee Stadium in New York. , September 13, 2010.

The 53rd Annual Grammy Awards ceremony takes place February 13, 2011 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Here'a a look at this year’s contenders in the pop, rock, and Rhythm and Blues races.

Eminem returned to the summit of the pop world in 2010. Fresh from winning his battle with prescription drugs, the Michigan rapper issued his comeback album Recovery. Selling 5.8 million copies globally, it was the second-best selling album of the year, trailing only The Fame Monster by Lady Gaga. It also helped Eminem earn 10 Grammy nominations, more than any other current contender. Recovery is up for Album Of The Year; also in the running are The Suburbs by Canadian band Arcade Fire, Need You Now by country-pop trio Lady Antebellum, Lady Gaga’s aforementioned set The Fame Monster, and Teenage Dream, from pop singer Katy Perry.

Eminem is also present in the Record Of The Year race, as he and Rihanna contend with “Love The Way You Lie.” Opposing it are “Need You Now” from Lady Antebellum, “Empire State of Mind” from Jay-Z and Alicia Keys, “Forget You” by Cee Lo Green, and “Nothin’ On You” from rapper B.O.B. featuring Bruno Mars.

Ranking second among this year’s nominees with seven is Bruno Mars. Born Peter Hernandez, this 25-year-old native of Hawaii was a young boy when he began working as a professional Elvis Presley impersonator. He later crafted several hits for other acts as one-third of the songwriting-production team The Smeezingtons.

Justin Bieber's "My World" CD
Justin Bieber's "My World" CD

While Bruno has enjoyed three number one U.S. singles in the past year, he didn’t make it into the ranks of Best New Artist nominees. Leading that list is Justin Bieber, the 16-year-old Canadian phenomenon whose rise to fame began when his mother posted videos of his performances on the Internet. Also in the race for Best New Artist are Canadian rapper-actor Drake, British rock act Florence & The Machine, U.K. folk-rock quartet Mumford & Sons, and U.S. jazz performer Esperanza Spalding.

While the Song Of The Year category honors songwriting, many of the nominees are also performers. They include Ray LaMontagne, who sings his composition “Beg Steal or Borrow.” Also competing are Tom Douglas and Allen Shamblin, for Miranda Lambert’s hit “The House That Built Me,” Alexander Grant, Holly Hafferman, and Marshall “Eminem” Mathers for “Love The Way You Lie,” Dave Haywood, Josh Kear, Charles Kelley, and Hillary Scott for Lady Antebellum’s “Need You Now,” and Cee Lo Green, Philip Lawrence, and Bruno Mars for “Forget You.”

Lady GaGa's "The Remix" CD
Lady GaGa's "The Remix" CD

Last year, Lady Gaga released the world’s best-selling album with The Fame Monster. She also picked up two Grammy Awards… but found herself ineligible for Best New Artist. This year, the often provocative performer is up for six trophies, including Best Female Pop Vocal Performance, for “Bad Romance.”

Opposing Lady Gaga in the Best Female Pop Vocal Performance category are Sara Bareilles with “King Of Anything,” Beyonce with a live rendition of “Halo,” Norah Jones with “Chasing Pirates,” and Katy Perry with “Teenage Dream.”

Named after the gramophone, or early phonograph, the Grammy Awards carry extra significance due to their peer-oriented nature. Voting is confined to members of the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences, a U.S. organization encompassing professionals from all facets of the music industry.

Pop music was front and center on the nation’s charts last year, so let’s close our look at the 53rd annual Grammy race with Best Pop Vocal Album. Justin Bieber offers My World 2.0, facing off against I Dreamed A Dream by talent show competitor Susan Boyle, The Fame Monster by Lady Gaga, Battle Studies from John Mayer, and Katy Perry’s Teenage Dream.