Whether he wins or loses on Grammy night, the chances of more Kanye West awards show drama were high after he received a leading eight nominations Thursday.
The British singer Amy Winehouse received six nominations after months of personal problems that took the focus off her gritty, soulful music. Other top nominees included the Foo Fighters, Jay-Z, Rihanna, Paul McCartney, T-Pain and Timbaland.
Both West and Winehouse were nominated for album of the year for their CDs “Graduation” and “Back to Black,” respectively. Winehouse was also cited for best new artist, plus record and song of the year for the defiant hit “Rehab.”
Other record of the year candidates included Beyonce’s “Irreplaceable,” the Foo Fighter’s “The Pretender,” Rihanna’s “Umbrella” and “What Goes Around Comes Around” by Justin Timberlake.
Winehouse, an admitted marijuana smoker, has been dogged by reports of further drug use amid a flurry of canceled concert dates. Just this week she was spotted walking outside of her London home wearing a bra and jeans, with no shoes, looking distressed.
“She makes Lindsay Lohan look cool,” comedian George Lopez said on stage as he helped announce the nominations.
West, known for throwing tantrums at awards shows when he doesn’t win, has had a triumphant yet tragic year. He knocked 50 Cent off his throne when “Graduation” had the best-selling debut of the year with nearly one million copies sold, but his mother died suddenly in November at age 58 after plastic surgery.
In addition to West and Winehouse, the album of the year category also featured the Foo Fighters, for “Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace,” Vince Gill’s four-disc set “These Days,” — and, surprisingly, Herbie Hancock’s tribute to Joni Mitchell, “River: The Joni Letters.”
Hancock, on hand to announce the nominees, said he was shocked.
“It’s not a category you normally find a jazz artist,” said Hancock, who said he had awakened that morning at 5:30 a.m. to chant Buddhist prayers for a half-hour. “I don’t chant to win awards ... But it helps my life. And I’ve never been nominated for album of the year.”
Other song of the year candidates included Corrine Bailey Rae’s sweet-sounding “Like A Star,” Carrie Underwood’s revenge anthem “Before He Cheats,” The Plain White T’s “Hey There Delilah” and “Umbrella.”
Winehouse was competing against Feist, Paramore, Taylor Swift and Ledesi in the best new artist category.
“This is the best day ever. I’m freaking out,” said Swift, 18. “I really didn’t think it was going to happen. I was about to cry.”