Grammy Boss May Bend Rules For Lady Gaga's Best New Artist Bid

'We change the rules frequently,' Grammy president Neil Portnow says.

Rules were made to be broken. Or, when it comes to [artist id="3061469"]Lady Gaga[/artist], one of the few true breakout music stars in a business that is starving for new icons, at least bent.

That's the message Grammy president Neil Portnow was sending in a red-carpet interview at the American Music Awards on Sunday night (November 22) following a revelation last week in Variety magazine that Gaga would not be eligible for the Best New Artist category at next year's Grammy Awards because her song "Just Dance" was nominated for Dance Recording at this year's Grammys.

Portnow told Entertainment Weekly that there may be a loophole that would allow Gaga to join the list of recent female luminaries who've snagged the award that includes [artist id="2476941"]Adele[/artist], [artist id="1742872"]Amy Winehouse[/artist] and [artist id="1933910"]Carrie Underwood[/artist]. "The awards and nominations committee meets to review the rules every year," Portnow said when asked if the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences might consider a rule change to let 2009's biggest breakout artist vie for the prize. "We change the rules frequently. We recognize that situation is not perfect, and we are looking at ways to figure it out."

However, on Monday morning the Los Angeles Times reported that Portnow's wishful thinking may be just that. An official spokeswoman for the Recording Academy told the paper that ballots have already been returned for the 2010 event, with nominees to be announced on December 2, with no further rule changes expected until after the January 31 ceremony. "First-round ballots were due back in early/mid-October, so it would be extremely challenging to change the rules now with nominations being announced next week," the unidentified Recording Academy spokeswoman said. "Any changes to be made will be considered after this year's show and therefore would not affect the current rule, which does disqualify her."

Gaga's debut, The Fame, was released in August 2008, but it didn't begin to take off until later in the year, going mega in 2009 on the back of a series of #1 hits — it has sold more than 1.6 million copies to date. Even without the prestigious best new artist nod, the Times said Gaga is expected to receive multiple Grammy noms, including Album of the Year and Record and Song of the Year for "Poker Face."

If it does somehow happen, the rule change could follow in the footsteps of another major reversal recently announced by Billboard magazine in reaction to the new realities of the music business. After a year in which albums by the Beatles and the late Michael Jackson experienced a surge in sales while being denied a spot on the Billboard 200 chart because of rules that mandate titles over 18 months old. Beginning this week, older releases will now be eligible for inclusion on the Top 200 chart.