(NEW YORK) -- The eligibility period for a 2011 Grammy Awards nomination ends Thursday. Musicians who released albums or singles between Sept. 1, 2009 and Sept. 30, 2010 are in contention for a nod. The nominees will be announced during a primetime CBS special in December, with the actual awards being handed out when the show airs on CBS Feb. 13.
Billboard senior editor Ann Donahue says Eminem and Jay-Z are two names that will loom large. She tells us, "Those seem to be the two we're hearing the most chatter about." Jay's monster hit "Empire State of Mind" and Eminem & Rihanna's song "Love the Way You Lie" are bound to attract many Grammy votes. Donahue also predicts that the Best New Artist category will include Drake and B.o.B, and possibly Justin Bieber, depending on whether or not he's considered a "new" artist since he's technically already released two albums.
Donahue also predicts that Lady Antebellum's "Need You Now" could see nominations in the three biggest categories: Record, Song and Album of the Year. Since they are mostly considered a country group, Donahue says Grammy voters "always like changing up the genres in the Album of the Year category, and I think [Lady A] could take the country slot."
Another album that Grammy voters may be drawn to is Santana's Guitar Heaven, which features the legendary guitarist teaming with guest vocalists like Chris Daughtry and Rob Thomas. Not only is Santana a past winner, sweeping the awards ten years ago with his album Supernatural, but he's made the kind of record that Grammy voters love. Donahue says that they "want to see a diversity of genres...artists that are unexpected working together." She adds, "The Grammys always seem to respond to that. It's kind of an evergreen for the Grammys to reward that kind of work."
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