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The nominees for the 2012 Grammy Awards were announced last night, and they feature the usual mix of old standbys, new favorites, occasional head scratchers, and Kanye West snubs.The contenders were announced during a prime-time, star-studded concert that was basically a mini-version of the February awards show, only with the advantage of being much shorter. It may have been a blessing that a rumored reunion of the original lineup of Van Halen did not take place as promised.

West led all nominees with seven total, but only one in a major industry-wide category. Both his hit solo album and his collaboration with Jay-Z, "Watch The Throne" were snubbed for Album of the Year. Adele and Bruno Mars both received nods in all three of the big general categories, Record, Album, and Song of the year. Popular favorites like Rihanna, Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Mumford and Sons, Foo Fighters, and Coldplay all got nominations too. Up and comers The Band Perry and Bon Iver will also compete in the Song of the Year and Best New Artist categories.

Of course, with hundreds of awards across dozens of genres determined via mysterious and baffling criteria, the awards themselves are mostly beside the point. (As usual, the Grammy Best New Artist list includes three acts we've never heard of and two that you probably first heard of four years ago.) The two TV shows are the only reason for the Grammys to exist, pairing disparate artists in unusual duets and trying desperately to make hip-hop, country, and classic rock fans pretend to like each other for a few hours. The record industry can't even get us to listen to the same things anymore, let alone come to some sort of agreement on what's the best. Other than the ability to start futile arguments, the winners are beside the point. Unless you're Kanye West.

You can see the full list of nominees at the Grammy website (or a short list of major awards here.) The winners will be announced on February 12.

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