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Breakout star Lizzo leads Grammy nominations with 8

The newbies face superstar challengers Ariana Grande and Beyonce along with the soulful R&B artist H.E.R. ahead of music's biggest night on 26 January.

FILE: Lizzo performs at Radio City Music Hall on 24 September 2019 in New York City. Picture: AFP.

NEW YORK, United States - Singer and rapper Lizzo scored eight Grammy nominations Wednesday to lead a field packed with newcomers, including bold pop iconoclast Billie Eilish and overnight sensation Lil Nas X, for music's biggest honours.

The magnetic 31-year-old Lizzo debuted in 2013 but truly burst into the public eye this year with her third studio album Cuz I Love You, which scored a nomination for the prestigious Album of the Year category for the Grammys, which will take place on 26 January.

Eilish also nabbed a shot at best album for _When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? _to bring her total nomination count to six, as the genre-bending meme king Lil Nas X rode the fame of his viral smash Old Town Road to also snag six chances at Grammy gold.

The newbies will square up against some superstar challengers.

Ariana Grande -- whose album thank u, next missed last year's Grammy deadline -- bagged five nominations this year.

Beyonce earned four nods on the strength of her Netflix concert film about her dazzling 2018 Coachella performance and the album accompanying this year's Lion King film remake.

The enigmatic R&B prodigy H.E.R., who won two Grammys last year, also got five nominations this year, including for Album of the Year.

Once a perennial favourite, Taylor Swift was once again largely snubbed from the major categories for her new album Lover, except for Song of the Year -- which honours best songwriting -- for her title track.

She is up for just three awards this year, the two others coming in the pop categories.

Along with the nomination leaders, the nominee list includes a mix of pop newcomers and veteran alt-leaning acts including Lana Del Rey, Bon Iver and Vampire Weekend.

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