(For a complete list of 54th GRAMMY Awards nominees, click here.)
Nominating pop recordings for a GRAMMY Award is a daunting task. The pop scene is filled with many memorable tunes that are deserving of GRAMMY recognition. Considering pop's evolving nature and the power of the "Playlist Generation," the task of selecting this year's best presents a formidable challenge.
But despite its genre-mashing nature, great pop music is still marked by powerful melodies and relatable songwriting, and the nominations for the 54th Annual GRAMMY Awards highlight exactly those qualities.
This year's pop nominations are a very well-balanced collection of recordings that combines chart-toppers with fan-favorites and some unexpected surprises.
Nominated in the Best Pop Solo Performance category are Adele's "Someone Like You," Lady Gaga's "Yoü And I," Bruno Mars' "Grenade," Katy Perry's "Firework," and Pink's "F***in' Perfect."
"F***in' Perfect" and "Firework" poignantly reflect the 2011 zeitgeist with their message of self-empowerment, which resonated in a big way amidst recent news headlines about teen bullying.
Perry chatted with the GRAMMY Live crew backstage at "The GRAMMY Nominations Concert Live!!" and spoke candidly about her nominated song and what inspired it. "I wrote ['Firework'] because everyone has the potential to be great," she said.
Perry added that she was compelled to write the song after reading Jack Kerouac's classic novel, On The Road.
Mars expressed deep gratitude for his six GRAMMY nominations, which also includes a Record Of The Year nod for "Grenade." Backstage he noted that it took a while for the song to come together but that "all of the hard work paid off."
The Best Pop Duo/Group Performance category is a wonderfully diverse collection of nominees, including Coldplay's uplifting pop/rock anthem "Paradise," the chart-topping Benny Blanco production "Moves Like Jagger" by Maroon 5 and Christina Aguilera, the bluesy Buddy Holly remake "Dearest" by alt-pop outfit the Black Keys, and "Pumped Up Kicks" by fresh-faced Los Angeles trio Foster The People. Rounding out the category is the teaming of Tony Bennett and the late Amy Winehouse on "Body And Soul."
The race for Best Pop Instrumental Album looks to be very competitive with releases by Jenny Oaks Baker (Wish Upon A Star), Daniel Ho (E Kahe Malie), Booker T. Jones (The Road From Memphis), Dave Koz (Hello Tomorrow) and Brian Setzer (Setzer Goes Instru-Mental!).
In the Best Pop Vocal Album category, it will be a match of the pop titans with Adele (21), Cee Lo Green (The Lady Killer), Lady Gaga (Born This Way), Bruno Mars (Doo-Wops & Hooligans) and Rihanna (Loud) going head-to-head in what will be an epic pop battle.
Tune in to the 54th Annual GRAMMY Awards to see who will be taking home the top honors on Sunday, Feb. 12, 2012, live from Staples Center in Los Angeles on CBS at 8 p.m. (ET/PT).