Carey, West set for duel on February 8
Mariah Carey and Kanye West both have been nominated in eight categories, along with R&B newcomer John Legend.india Updated: Feb 08, 2006 15:05 IST
Outspoken rapper Kanye West and comeback pop diva Mariah Carey will clash for music's top honours on Wednesday at the Grammy Awards, where performance highlights will include Madonna duetting with a bunch of cartoons.
West and Carey are both nominated in eight categories, along with R and B newcomer John Legend, who looks a sure bet to walk off with the best new artist award.
A Grammy windfall would crown a remarkable comeback for Carey, 35, whose career went into freefall after her leading role in the 2001 rags-to-riches movie Glitter, which was pilloried by critics and tanked at the box office.
Carey was twice hospitalized for exhaustion that year, and the future looked even grimmer when, in January 2002, EMI terminated her record deal with a 28-million-dollar payoff.
Her return to the pop pantheon was achieved with her comeback disc "The Emancipation of Mimi," which was the best-selling album of 2005 and is up for the best album, record and song of the year awards at Wednesday's glittering event at the Los Angeles Staples Center.
West will be hoping to better his haul from last year, when he began the evening with a leading 10 nominations for his debut album The College Dropout but ended with only three gramophone statuettes.
His campaign this time around is spearheaded by his sophomore album effort Late Registration and the single Gold Digger, which will be competing for album and record of the year, among other categories.
While Carey has generated newsprint with her comeback story, the never shy West has grabbed even more media attention by courting controversy.
In September, during a live telethon for victims of Hurricane Katrina, the rapper launched into an unscripted diatribe against the US government which included the now famous line: "George Bush doesn't care about black people."
He then upset some by appearing on the cover of this month's Rolling Stone magazine, made up as Jesus with a crown of thorns.
In an interview with the magazine, he predicted that Carey would be a tough act to beat.
"I think a lot of people are gonna get behind Mariah because of the comeback story," he said.
"Not to discredit her at all, but I think I deserve it over her, because 'Gold Digger' sounds like nothing you've heard before.
"And statements like that could be the very reason why she possibly could win over me," he added wryly.
Other nominees for album of the year are U2's How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb, Gwen Stefani's Love. Angel. Music. Baby, and Paul McCartney's "Chaos and Creation in the Backyard."
The 63-year-old former Beatle - a 13-time Grammy winner - will sing for the first time at the annual ceremony where the performances traditionally attract as much, if not more, attention as the awards themselves.
Madonna, who stole the 2003 show by smooching with pop princess Britney Spears, looks set to do the same this year when she duets with the "virtual band" Gorillaz.
The Material Girl will appear alongside a 3-D colour animation of the four cartoon characters created by Blur frontman Damon Albarn.
Despite not actually existing, Gorillaz have been nominated for five Grammys, including record of the year for Feel Good, Inc.
Also doing turns on stage will be Irish rockers U2, singer Mary J Blige, Coldplay, Sugarland, Jamie Foxx, Faith Hill and Keith Urban, and Christina Aguilera and Herbie Hancock.
The awards presenters will include a number of non-musicians, such as actor Tom Hanks, comedian Ellen DeGeneres and seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong.