By NEKESA MUMBI MOODY
AP Music Writer
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Besides being one of the most popular singers on the planet, Beyonce has gotten plenty of accolades over her career. Now a veteran, she's won a caseload of Grammys for her solo work and also with Destiny's Child.
What she hasn't won, however, is the prestigious album of the year trophy, despite being nominated once before. That may change on Sunday. The superstar is nominated for a leading 10 Grammys, including record of the year for "Halo," song of the year for her anthem "Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)" and album of the year for her multiplatinum third CD, "I Am ... Sasha Fierce".
Of course, she faces tough competition—especially from two newer divas.
Taylor Swift isn't far behind in the Grammy nominee count with eight. She too is up for the evening's three top awards: "Fearless" is nominated for album of the year, and her song "You Belong With Me" is nominated for both record and song of the year. Swift, whose country album became the most popular album of any genre last year, has captured top awards at just about every awards show she's been at, from the Country Music Association Awards to the MTV Video Music Awards. The 20-year-old, who is only on her second album, could emerge as the top winner at the Grammys as well.
Lady Gaga is another relative newcomer up for top awards. Although she was disqualified from the best new artist category because her first single, "Just Dance," was released last fall and nominated for a Grammy, the Recording Academy more than made up for her exclusion in that category. Gaga is up for five Grammys, and like Beyonce and Swift, is also up for record and song of the year, for "Poker Face," and album of the year for "The Fame".
Rounding out the album of the year category is the Black Eyed Peas' "The E.N.D.," and the Dave Matthews Band's "Big Whiskey and the Groogrux King." The latter album was the band's first release since the death of founding member and saxophonist LeRoi Moore.
All are expected to perform on Sunday's show, to be aired on CBS fromStaples Center. But the show won't be all about the nominees. There will be a special 3-D tribute to Michael Jackson; a video clip he made of "Earth Song" will be shown, as Usher, Carrie Underwood, Celine Dion,Jennifer Hudson and Smokey Robinson sing along.
Mary J. Blige and Andrea Bocelli will celebrate the 30th anniversary of "Bridge Over Troubled Water's" Grammy wins with a special performance of the classic song, which will be made available on iTunes. The proceeds will be donated to Haiti relief.