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Jones, Lavigne and Mayer should all be among the finalists for the Best New Artist nod, along with Murder Inc./IDJ’s Ashanti, Maverick singer/songwriter Michelle Branch and, yeah, even 143/Reprise crooner Josh Groban.

GRAMMY TO KEEP UP WITH JONES

Eminem, Springsteen, Mayer, Pink Also Expected to Get Multiple Nominations

Norah Jones looks like she could be this year’s Alicia Keys in the first Grammy ceremony of the post-Mike Greene era.

With the annual NARAS bash headed back to N.Y. on Feb. 23 at Madison Square Garden under new head Neil Portnow, the Blue Note chanteuse looks headed for multiple nominations, including the coveted Best New Artist, as well as Best Album and Best Song. Her debut, Come Away With Me, remains on the charts and is now up to 1.8m sold, moving a consistent 65-70k a week nearly a year after its release last February.

But Jones isn’t the only one expecting nominations when they’re announced Jan. 7. Hip-hop icon Eminem, a past honoree, should be on the Best Album list with the year’s top seller, his Shady/Aftermath/ Interscope effort The Eminem Show. Other candidates for the Album prize should include a trio of Columbia artists in Bruce Springsteen’s The Rising, his meditation on the events of 9/11; John Mayer’s critically acclaimed Room for Squares; and Grammy fave James Taylor’s surprise best-seller October Road. Arista artist Pink’s multi-hit Missundazstood, one of the year’s commercial smashes, is another strong candidate, while former winners Coldplay, with their Capitol album, A Rush of Blood to the Head, and Beck, whose Interscope-released Sea Change received great reviews (if disappointing sales), are also possibilities. Other dark-horse candidates include multiple winner Sheryl Crow’s C’mon C’mon (A&M/Interscope), the Dixie ChicksHome (Open Wide/ Monument/Columbia), Alan Jackson’s Drive (Arista Nashville), No Doubt’s Rock Steady (Interscope), Fo’ Reel/ Universal rapper Nelly’s Nellyville and Avril Lavigne’s Let Go (Arista). And Interscope’s epochal America: A Tribute to Heroes has to be considered a wild card in the Album of the Year category.

Two high-visibility Clive Davis projects—J’s Rod Stewart and Arista’s Carlos Santana—came out after the Sept. 30 deadline for eligibility.

Song of the Year contenders include Jones’ "Don’t Know Why," Eminem’s "Without Me" and "Lose Yourself," Lavigne’s "Complicated" Springsteen’s "The Rising," Santana/Michelle Branch’s "The Game of Love" (which did come out in time), Alan Jackson’s 9/11 tribute, "Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning)," Mayer’s "No Such Thing," Pink’s "Get the Party Started" and "Don’t Let Me Get Me," Nelly’s "Hot In Herre," Mary J. Blige’s "No More Drama" and Celine Dion’s "A New Day Has Come."

Jones, Lavigne and Mayer should all be among the finalists for the Best New Artist nod, along with Murder Inc./IDJ’s Ashanti, Maverick singer/songwriter Branch and, yeah, even 143/Reprise crooner Josh Groban. If the Academy pays any attention to media kudos, then you have to include as long-shots V2’s White Stripes, RCA’s The Strokes, Capitol’s The Vines and Burning Heart/Epitaph/Sire/WB’s The Hives.

In the Rock categories, expect a laundry list of Grammy regulars, including WB’s Red Hot Chili Peppers, Virgin’s Lenny Kravitz, Columbia’s System of a Down, Flawless/Geffen’s Puddle of Mudd and No Doubt.

While Springsteen, Taylor, Mayer, Jackson and Eminem could battle it out on the Male side, Jones, Pink, Lavigne, Crow, Ashanti and Blige, as well as Epic’s Shakira and Lost Highway’s Kim Richey, should be among the candidates in the Female category

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