Grammy Nominations: The Five Biggest Question Marks

The nominations for the Grammy Awards were announced on Wednesday (you should check out the recap of the live nomination show, which featured performances by Nick Jonas and the Black Eyed Peas). It's impossible for the nominating committee to come up with a batch of noms that everybody will agree with, especially considering there are 110 categories worth of music to cover. But there are always a handful of head-scratching moments buried within the list of potential winners. Here are the five nominations that puzzle us.

Silversun Pickups for Best New Artist: Make no mistake: Silversun Pickups are an excellent band, and their 2008 album Swoon was grossly overlooked slice of fuzzy, dreamy rock. But Swoon was the band's second full-length, and they've been kicking around since 2005. How is it that they are a "new" artist? This happens every year, as the criteria surrounding the Best New Artist category only demands that the artists in question "make a significant impact" during the eligibility period, so perhaps a revision of the criteria is in order.

"I'm on a Boat": The collaboration between T-Pain and the Lonely Island (Andy Samberg's "SNL" digital short crew) is a pretty great send-up of commercial hip-hop. But it's not nominated in any of the comedy categories — it's up for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration, competing against killer tracks like "Run This Town" and "Dead and Gone."

Hall and Oates' Nomination for "Sara Smile": Again, taking nothing away from Hall and Oates, but what is the logic behind this? It comes from a live album, and the song in question — while excellent — was originally released in 1976. Shouldn't that make it ineligible for recognition, especially considering there were plenty of pop groups overlooked in this category? The album was released during the eligibility period, but since the Best Pop Vocal prizes are performance awards and not songwriting awards, the tune slips in under the radar. Why they just don't create a separate category for live albums is mysterious (but then again, the last thing this show needs is more awards).

The Schism Between "Hard Rock" and "Metal": The Best Metal Performance category was created as a reaction to the legendarily weird incident in 1989 when Jethro Tull beat out Metallica for the Best Hard Rock prize. While that correction made sense at the time, it doesn't make much sense now, especially considering the difference between "hard rock" and "metal" is confusing at best. For example, Megadeth and Metallica are nominated in one category each, but is there really a difference?

The Best Rock Solo Vocal Performance Category: While the pop categories skew delightfully younger this year, many of the rock awards seem to want to pat guys on the back for lifetime achievement. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but it does make it seem like nobody under the age of 50 cut a decent solo rock song this year (hence the inclusion of Neil Young, Bob Dylan, John Fogerty, Bruce Springsteen and Prince).