It was Adele's year, and when the Grammy Awards are revealed next February, it very well may be her night.
But on Wednesday night, the British songstress shared in the Grammy nominations glory. While she was nominated for six trophies, including album of the year for "21" and record and song of the year for her bitter groove "Rolling in the Deep," Bruno Mars and the Foo Fighters also received six each, and it was Kanye West who was the night's top leader, with seven nominations.
West was nominated for song of the year for his all-star anthem "All of the Lights," which featured everyone from Rihanna to Elton John. But even though the album from which it came, "My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy," heralded an epic album by critics when it was released last year, it was not featured in the best album category (so far, no obligatory West rant has surfaced in response).
Bon Iver, the folky indie rock act that was a key part of "My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy" and received a popularity boost from its association with Kanye, was one of the night's big winners, receiving four nominations, including for best artist, and song and record of the year for "Holocene." And last year's critical darlings, Mumford & Sons, were once again nominated, receiving among their bids for song and record of the year for "The Cave."
Other multiple nominees were Lady Gaga, Nicki Minaj, Lil Wayne, Radiohead, and dubstep artist Skrillex, who landed a bid for best new artist among his surprising five nominations.
Among the evening's biggest eye-openers were the artists not mentioned in certain categories. Taylor Swift, who won best album in 2010 for "Fearless" and was considered to be a key favorite for her multiplatinum "Speak Now," only got her three nominations in the country fields, and Tony Bennett, who had a feel-good story as his "Duets II" album made him the oldest act to debut an album at No. 1 at age 85, was not nominated for album of the year, as some critics had predicted.
West's joint album with Jay-Z, "Watch the Throne," was also ignored for best album.
Mars, who like Adele was nominated in all the top three categories — record, album and song of the year — was estatic about his night. He was nominated for song and record of the year for "Grenade," album for "Doo-Wops & Hooligans," and best pop solo performance, among other bids.
"It feels incredible. Me and these guys, we locked ourselves in the studio not too far from here and worked on this album, especially 'Grenade.' That's the song we worked the hardest on. That's like our trophy right there. Of all the songs we've been fortunate enough to be a part of this year, we were most proud of that one," Mars said after the nominations, some of which were announced in Los Angeles at the Nokia Theatre as part of the Recording Academy's hour-long concert nominations special.
Mars, who was part of the CBS special, along with Rihanna, Lady Gaga, The Band Perry and others, also got key nominations last year. But he said of awards: "I'm trying to get used to it. It's hard for me, because Adele is incredible. Kanye West is incredible. All these people are just incredible and they all offer something different, so the fact that this album got recognized and is being categorized alongside these acts, that's the craziest part, because I'm a fan of all of this music."
The academy seemed to be fans of a wide variety of music as well. They top categories honored rap, pop, indie music, folk and dance.
Adele's "21" is the year's top-selling album with more than 4.5 million albums sold, and the singer-songwriter's mournful post-breakup album produced smash hits like the torch ballad "Someone Like You." Besides "21," the best album candidates inclduded Lady Gaga; Gaga garnered her third straight nod in the category for "Born This Way," while veteran rockers the Foo Fighters were nominated for "Wasting Light," along with Mars' debut album, and Rihanna's steamy dance album "Loud."
For record of the year, besides Bon Iver, Adele, Mars and Mumford & Sons, Katy Perry's inspirational anthem "Firework" got a nod. The category looked virtually the same for song of the year, with "Firework" being replaced by West's "All of the Lights."
Unlike the past two years, which saw Swift and fellow country act Lady Antebellum soar in the general categories, the only country act that got a mainstream nomination was the country sibling act The Band Perry. Best known for their poignant ballad "If I Die Young," they got a nomination for best new artist. Their competition also includes Bon Iver, Jay-Z rap protÉgÉ J. Cole, Skrillex and rapper-singer Minaj.
"It's been an amazing evening," said lead singer Kimberly Perry. "We got the good news yesterday that our debut album went platinum, it was certified yesterday, to so follow it with a nomination tonight is phenomenal. We're just in the clouds, absolutely."
The 54th Grammys will be held Feb. 12 in Los Angeles. The ceremony will mark the first since the academy shaved its categories from 109 to 78 this year, amid some protest. Some of the more niched categories, like best Zydeco or Cajun music album, were eliminated.
In addition, men and women now compete together in vocal categories for pop, R&B and country, instead of having separate categories for each sex. This year, the category is best pop solo performance and Bruno Mars is the only man nominated for "Grenade." His competition includes Adele for "Someone Like You," Lady Gaga for "You and I," Pink for "(Expletive) Perfect" and Perry for "Firework."
Entertainment Writer Sandy M. Cohen contributed to this report.