Country's Nominee Report Card: A+

  • Hunter Hayes
    Photo: Erika Goldring/WireImage.com
  • Carrie Underwood
    Photo: Jeff Vespa/WireImage.com
  • Dierks Bentley and Kimberly Perry
    Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images
  • Ronnie Dunn
    Photo: Christopher Polk/Getty Images
  • Eric Church
    Photo: Scott Legato/Getty Images
  • Eli Young Band
    Photo: Jason Kempin/Getty Images

"The GRAMMY Nominations Concert Live!!" was such a great event for the country music capital of the world. Not only did some of the genre's finest artists receive nominations, Nashville performers lit up the stage giving fans an enthusiastic show.

After opening the telecast alongside the Band Perry in a tribute to Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash's "Jackson," Dierks Bentley received the 11th GRAMMY nomination of his career for "Home" in the Best Country Solo Performance category. Backstage Bentley said that he's looking forward to the 55th GRAMMY Awards because it gives him an opportunity to be a fan of artists from all genres. Ronnie Dunn was also nominated in this category, one of his two nominations for his raw and emotional tribute to the working man, "Cost of Livin'." The nominations shocked Dunn, who posted on his Facebook page late Wednesday night: "Wrote songs all day. Just got home and my phone lights up a few minutes ago. TWO Grammy nominations for COST OF LIVING!!!! I'm speechless."

Eric Church, Carrie Underwood and Eli Young Band each received a nomination for their hits "Springsteen," "Blown Away" and "Even If It Breaks Your Heart," respectively. Arguably the genre's most celebrated artist of the evening was newcomer Hunter Hayes, who received a total of three nominations, including Best New Artist and Best Country Album for his self-titled release. A humble and excited Hayes appeared backstage after the show still in awe of his accomplishments. Calling himself a "crazy dreamer," Hayes said, "All I ever want to do is make music," and added that he feels "incredibly lucky and incredibly blessed" about his nominations.

Neil Portnow, President/CEO of The Recording Academy, took time backstage to thank and praise Music City for its support of "The GRAMMY Nominations Concert Live!!" A self-proclaimed longtime country music fan, Portnow said that it was "a great personal honor" to be in Nashville for the nominations and that the city "gets an A+" for hosting the event.

This year's GRAMMY nominees represented a variety. While industry veterans such as Vince Gill (the Time Jumpers) and Don Williams represented the genre's roots, newcomers such as Church, Hayes and Eli Young Band are helping to keep the genre moving forward. When the 55th GRAMMY Awards are handed out on Feb. 10 in Los Angeles, there's a good chance that country music will once again take center stage.

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