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December 2, 2010

Eminem's 'Recovery' vs. LeCrae's 'Rehab'

Potty-mouthed hip-hopper vs. righteous rapper at Grammys. Sorta. And other Christian noms.

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No surprise that Eminem's Recovery, the top-selling album of the year, received a whopping ten Grammy nominations on Wednesday night, including Album of the Year, Song of the Year, and Record of the Year.

But what most Grammy watchers won't notice -- either in the long list of nominees in every conceivable category, or on the Feb. 13 awards show on CBS -- is that another album with a similar title is also up for rap album of the year. Well, Best Rock or Rap Gospel Album, that is, with Lecrae's terrific Rehab While Eminem's last two releases were titled Relapse and Recovery, Lecrae decided he was ready for some spiritual rehab, a theme that plays throughout his album.

Also nominated for Best Rock or Rap Gospel Album are David Crowder Band's Church Music, Fireflight's For Those Who Wait, Gungor's Beautiful Things, and Switchfoot's Hello Hurricane.

Best Pop/Contemporary Gospel Album noms went to Steven Curtis Chapman's Beauty Will Rise, Israel Houghton's Love God, Love People, Sanctus Real's Pieces of a Real Heart, Ricky Skaggs' Mosaic, and TobyMac's Tonight. (The Skaggs nomination is slightly puzzling, not because it's undeserving, but because it's mostly a country album -- and there is a Best Southern, Country, or Bluegrass Gospel Album category, where it more logically belongs.)

Meanwhile, Amy Grant's hit single "Better Than a Hallelujah" (written by Sarah Hart and Chapin Hartford) led the noms for Best Gospel Song. Others were Gungor's "Beautiful Things," Kirk Whalum & Leah Hathaway's "It's What I Do," Chris Tomlin's "Our God," and Ricky Skaggs' "Return to Sender."

Mavis Staples' astonishingly good You Are Not Alone was NOT nominated for Best Traditional Gospel Album, but WAS nominated for Best American Album -- and interestingly, that's a decent fit, though it could've gone into either category. Best Traditional Gospel nods went to Vanessa Bell Armstrong's The Experience, Shirley Caesar's A City Called Heaven, Patty Griffin's Downtown Church, Marvin Sapp's Here I Am, and Karen Clark Sheard's All in One.

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Finally, former CCM darling-turned-pop star Katy Perry, nominated for Album of the Year for Teenage Dream, apologized for using a mild form of blasphemy after learning of her nomination on Wednesday night's live show. "Are you feeling some Grammy love tonight?" LL Cool J asked Perry, who was seated in the audience. "Hell yes!" she blurted out, before adding, "Excuse me, sorry CBS."

NY Daily News writer opined on Perry's behavior: "She then held her hands up in a prayer motion and thanked her peers for the nomination. During the concert, the 25-year-old pop star didn't shy away from impious behavior, engaging in some graphic choreography while performing 'California Gurls.' While singing the line 'so hot/will melt your Popsicle,' she gesticulated wildly towards her groin area. Pulling an about-face after the ceremony, Perry ended her post-Grammy tweet fest with the simple hashtag '#GOD.' Perry's behavior comes as a surprise after she tweeted over the summer that 'using blasphemy as entertainment is as cheap as a comedian telling a fart joke.' Perry, who was raised by Christian pastors and first started singing in church, said she took issue with blasphemous behavior regardless of the perpetrator."

(Perry photo: Beck/Getty)

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