IT'S a woman's, woman's, woman's world in the best new artist category this year. Four of the five nominees are female solo acts, while the only nominated group features a flame-haired frontwoman.
The nominees: Amy Winehouse; Canadian indie chanteuse Feist; 17-year-old country newcomer Taylor Swift; Paramore, the fresh-faced emo-rock band with the Top 40 crossover hit "Misery Business"; and New Orleans-raised R&B singer Ledisi, who's such a wild card that Dave Grohl of Foo Fighters admitted he didn't know how to pronounce her name at Thursday's announcement ceremony.
"I'm absolutely shocked," Swift said. "Of all the amazing honors that have come and such great things that have happened this year, this just blows my mind.
"I'm a huge fan of Paramore," added Swift, who will celebrate her 18th birthday on Thursday. "To be in the same category as them, it's absolutely an honor."
London-based Lily Allen failed to make the cut, though many pundits had pegged her as a sure thing, and many also felt that way about "American Idol" rocker Chris Daughtry, whose self-titled pop-grunge collection is one of the year's bestselling debuts.
Staff writer Randy Lewis contributed to this report.