What happened
Rapper Kanye West dominated the Grammy nominations released Thursday. West—who continued his tour after the death of his mother following plastic surgery—piled up eight nominations, including a nod for best album of the year for Graduation. Troubled British soul singer Amy Winehouse was right behind West with six nominations. (New York Daily News)

What the commentators said
West has yet to capture the Grammys’ top awards, said Jim DeRogatis in the Chicago Sun-Times. In fact, he’s becoming “known for throwing unbecoming tantrums when he fails to win an award he feels he deserves.” But his continued domination of the nominations comfirms “his standing as a groundbreaking producer and an artist whose appeal transcends the hip-hop genre.”

Winehouse’s strong showing came as her “life and career continued to spiral downward,” said J. Freedom du Lac in The Washington Post (free registration). Winehouse’s “alcohol and drug problems have gone from source material to potential career-killers” recently, especially since she canceled her tour after a slurred performance. But all these Grammy nominations serve as a reminder that she is “a compelling talent with a raw, deeply emotional voice and a knack for writing blunt confessionals filled with ache and humor.”

“The biggest surprise may have been the relatively low profile of Bruce Springsteen,” said Jeff Leeds in The New York Times (free registration). His new album, Magic, with the E Street Band, has been “praised by critics as a return to his classic rock style.” This was supposed to be the year for his album of the year win—but his four nominations didn’t include any of the marquee categories.