Suzanne Vega wasn't nominated, so she didn't stick around. Jewel, Busta Rhymes and BB King were, so they stayed to answer the same question ad nauseam: How does it feel to be nominated for a Grammy? King -- a seven-time Grammy Award winner and 1997 nominee for Best Rock Instrumental Performance -- provided the standard response, "It means a lot to be part of the program and even more to be nominated."
An eclectic panel of musicians, which also included David Sanborn, Steven Curtis Chapman and Richard Marx, were on hand at the Ed Sullivan Theater to announce the nominees for the 39th Grammy Awards to be awarded on Feb. 26 at New York's Madison Square Garden.
Producer Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds received the most mentions, nabbing a record-tying 12 nominations for his work on the "Waiting to Exhale" soundtrack, Toni Braxton's "Secrets," and others.
The National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences (NARAS) validated the Smashing Pumpkins commercial success with seven nominations, including Record of the Year ("1979") and Album of the Year ("Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness").
Other alternative acts receiving mainstream consideration included Beck for Album of the Year ("Odelay"), the sometimes indistinguishable tandem of Garbage and No Doubt for Best New Artist, and Tracy Bonham for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance ("Mother Mother").
Nominated for Best Rock Album were Sheryl Crow ("Sheryl Crow"), the Dave Matthews Band ("Crash"), No Doubt ("Magic Kingdom"), Bonnie Raitt ("Road Tested") and Neil Young with Crazy Horse ("Broken Arrow"). Best Alternative Music Performance nominees include: Tori Amos' "Boys for Pele," Beck's "Odelay," Tracy Bonham's "The Burdens of Being Upright," R.E.M.'s "New Adventures in Hi-Fi" and the Pumpkins "Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness."
Conspicuously absent from all categories are Pearl Jam's commercial flop but critically-acclaimed "No Code" and Metallica's venturous, chart-topping "Load."
Conspicuously present was Howard Stern show henchman Stuttering John Melendez who managed to upset the fragile Jewel (nominated for Best New Artist and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance) with off-the-wall questions like: "What was Sean Penn like in bed?" and "Are you going to sleep with any more unstable actors?" Jewel gave Stuttering John a playful slap before her annoyed handlers whisked her away.
But it was Rhymes, far more tolerant of Stuttering John's ersatz questions, that was the toast of the room. Upon hearing Sanborn announce his name as a nominee for Best Rap Solo Performance, the rapper let out a roof-rocking yelp. Later, the loquacious Rhymes was giddy upon receiving consideration for the "Woo-Hah!! Got You All in Check" single.
"Busta Rhymes feels incredible to be nominated," the rapper said, naturally referring to himself in the third person.
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