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49th Grammy Nominations

08:24 AM Thursday 12/7/06 | |

(The Associated Press) Veteran R&B diva Mary J. Blige was the breakout leader with eight nominations as the 49th annual Grammy Awards were announced Thursday at the Music Box at Fonda Theater in Hollywood. The Red Hot Chili Peppers were also multiple nominees, garnering six.

Other multiple nominees were the Dixie Chicks, British newcomer James Blunt, John Mayer, Prince, and the Black Eyed Peas' will.i.am.

Blige's multi-platinum album The Breakthrough was nominated for R&B album of the year, and the hit "Be Without You" earned song of the year and record of the year nods.

Blige helped announce the nominees, along with Justin Timberlake, who also collected multiple nominations.

When Timberlake brought sexy back to music, Grammy love came with it. The 25-year-old singer's second solo CD, FutureSex/LoveSounds, nabbed nominations for pop vocal album of the year and album of the year.

The Dixie Chicks survived the controversy that followed singer Natalie Maines' criticism of President Bush in 2003, crowning their comeback year with a number of nominations, including album of the year for Taking the Long Way and record of the year for the single "Not Ready to Make Nice."

James Blunt, who was on hand at the announcement ceremony, capped his stellar year with numerous nods, including best new artist, plus record of the year and song of the year for his ubiquitous hit, "You're Beautiful."

Corinne Bailey Rae, another presenter at the ceremony, matched that. Besides best new artist, she earned song of the year and record of the year nominations for her hit "Put Your Records On."

The nominees for record of the year are "Be Without You" by Mary J. Blige, "You're Beautiful" by James Blunt, "Not Ready to Make Nice" by the Dixie Chicks, "Crazy" by Gnarls Barkley and "Put Your Records On" by Corinne Bailey Rae.

Christina Aguilera grabbed two nominations, for best pop female vocal and best pop vocal album for "Ain't No Other Man."

Blige was also nominated for best R&B album, along with Jamie Foxx, India.Arie, Prince and Lionel Richie.

Another nominees for female pop vocal performance were Natasha Bedingfield, Sheryl Crow, Pink and KT Tunstall.

Male pop vocal performance nominees were James Blunt, John Legend, John Mayer, Paul McCartney and Daniel Powter,

The nominees for best new artist are James Blunt, Chris Brown, Imogen Heap, Corinne Bailey Rae and Carrie Underwood.

The 49th Grammy Awards are scheduled to air live on CBS from the Staples Center here on February. 11.