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Inside the Grammy nominations

The Associated Press, Wednesday, December 1, 2010, 10:21pm (PST)

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Seen and heard at the 53rd annual Grammy nominations show on Wednesday night:

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Five minutes before the CBS special went live, executive producer Ken Ehrlich took the stage to pump the crowd up inside Club Nokia. He warned that several of the performances were taped, but he wanted the audience to respond just like they would if the artists were right in front of them. "You've gotta get louder than that!" he demanded during a practice cheer.

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LL Cool J, the nomination concert's host, was all business when preparing to present from the mezzanine during one commercial break. A stagehand pointed a flashlight at his script as he studied his next introduction. The rapper-actor did crack a smile though when a stranger in the crowd yelled "Mama said knock you out!" at the "NCIS: Los Angeles" star.

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During breaks in the action, the audience inside Club Nokia watched performances from last season's Grammy awards show, including Lady Gaga's duet with Elton John and Pink's acrobatic act. Several folks let out an "Ahttp://wwwww!" when the flashback featuring Pink was cut short before her now-famous Grammys dip when she sprayed the audience with water.

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After LL Cool J surprised Craig Ferguson on stage by revealing that he was nominated for a spoken word trophy, the talk show host kept asking LL Cool J if he was kidding during the montage of record of the year contenders. After the concert, Ferguson learned backstage that he was up against the likes of Jon Stewart and Michael J. Fox, and joked, "I'm the crappiest person in this race."

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When asked what he thought of his band's nomination for rock alternative album, Bill Reynolds of Band of Horses asked reporters, "Can I cuss?" The bassist said he drove down from his house in rural Ojai, Calif., in his truck to attend the nominations, while the rest of the band was on the East Coast. Reynolds said they've been writing more music on the road because of "this thing they have called the iPad."

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Prince might want to start screening his calls. Several artists backstage said they were interested in collaborating with The Artist, including Bruno Mars and Cee Lo Green, who called Prince a friend but said they "haven't done anything musically or creatively together."

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Miranda Lambert could see herself in her dress, but she had no idea who designed the black strapless number accented with mirrored pieces. "My stylist is going to kill me," said the country crooner.

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Justin Bieber is not only a double Grammy nominee at age 16, he's also not too shabby at a certain video game, according to Jimmy Jam. The music producer praised Bieber's music and gaming skills. "He's a hard worker," said Jam, "and he's also pretty good at 'Guitar Hero.'"

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Monica, the double nominee for female R&B vocal performance and R&B album, will be making her first trip back to the Grammys since she was nominated in 1999. "At 16 years old, I didn't understand what it meant," she said. "Now at 30, I'm just in shock that I'm even being considered, and being nominated with some of the people who are in the category."

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Recording Academy President Neil Portnow is now thinking about what the 53rd annual Grammy ceremony will look like across the street at the Staples Center come Feb. 13. He said this year's nominations "really gives us an incredible palette to paint on" and that the academy will start planning the show beginning Thursday morning.

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Online:

http://www.grammy.com

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