Finalists for the Billboard Music Awards 2011
KE$HA IS A FINALIST IN 6 CATEGORIES
Top New Artist, Top Female Artist, Top Hot 100 Artist, Top Digital Songs Artist, Top Pop Artist, Top Pop Album

Ask Billboard is updated every Friday. As always, submit your questions about Billboard charts, sales and airplay, as well as general music musings, to askbb@billboard.com. Please include your first and last name, as well as your city, state and country, if outside the U.S.

SHOCK AND AWARDS

Hi Gary,

Could you please tell me about your reaction to this year's Grammy Awards nominations and what you think were the biggest surprises - and snubs?

Thanks!

Chris DeCarlo

Hi Chris,

Billboard will be providing lots more Grammy coverage leading up to when the winners are announced, but in the meantime, let's look at the four general field categories, one-by-one for some early "Ask Billboard" thoughts.

It's difficult to argue with any of the five Record of the Year nominees: Jay-Z and Alicia Keys' "Empire State of Mind," Cee Lo Green's ""F**k You (Forget You),".

Eddie Murphy notched two top 40 hits in the '80s: "Party All the Time" (No. 2) and "Put Your Mouth on Me" (No. 27).

Two actors from the classic '70s/'80s sitcom "Happy Days" squeaked on: Donny Most ("Ralph Malph") reached No. 97 in 1976 with "All Roads (Lead Back to You)" and his pal Anson Williams ("Potsie Weber") hit No. 93 with "Deeply" in 1977.

And, four of the major prime time soaps from the '80s featured charting cast members: Michele Lee ("Knots Landing") rose to No. 52 with "L. David Sloane" (1968, before she starred on the show); Lorenzo Lamas ("Falcon Crest") reached No. 85 with "Fools Like Me" (1985); Al Corley ("Dynasty") climbed to No. 80 with "Square Rooms" (1985); and, Victoria Principal ("Dallas") advanced to No. 51 with her duet with Andy Gibb, "All I Have to Do Is Dream" (1981).

Best,

Chris Feldman
Dubuque, Iowa

Hi Gary,

A few more actors/actresses-turned-Billboard-charted-singers:

Shawn Cassidy is known more for being an actor ("The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries" and "Breaking Away") and producer ("American Gothic" and "Invasion") than a singer, but he actually was far more successful than his older brother, David, in terms of Hot 100 success. Shawn scored a No. 1 hit with "Da Doo Ron Ron" (1977) and "That's Rock 'N' Roll" and "Hey Deanie" also peaked in the top 10.

Jasmine Guy became famous for "A Different World," but I loved her in "Dead Like Me." She earned a No. 8 hit in 1991 with "Just Want to Hold You."

Tatyana Ali logged time on a show starring one of the most successful singers-turned-actors, Will Smith's "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air." She rose to No. 6 in 1998 with "Daydreamin'."

Jamie Foxx first became famous as an actor in the hilarious "In Living Color" TV series. For five years, he had his own sitcom and then went on to win an Academy Award for playing Ray Charles. Last year, his "Blame It" peaked at No. 2 on the Hot 100 and he's collected hits collaborating with Twista and Kanye West.

Hilary Duff, best known for "Lizzie McGuire" and the "Cheaper By the Dozen" remakes, has banked three top 40 Hot 100 hits, although my favorite of her songs just missed that accolade: "So Yesterday" peaked at No. 42 in 2003.

Vicki Lawrence, the iconic actress from "The Carol Burnett Show" and "Mama's Family," gave us one of my all-time favorites, "The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia," a No. 1 for two weeks in 1973.

By the way, one piece of trivia. If people remember Don Johnson's 1986 hit "Heartbeat," they may consider him a one-hit wonder. But, don't forget his second top 40 entry two years later, his duet with the incredible Barbra Streisand, "Till I Loved You" (No. 25).

Thanks for the trip down memory lane,

Tommy Marx
Wichita, Kansas

Hi Gary,

How about some additional actors and actresses better known for their acting than singing prowess and who have made their mark on Billboard charts? (All below refer to Hot 100 performance, unless specified).

I have excluded those actors and actresses with long, successful singing careers (i.e., Cher, Sammy Davis, Jr., Madonna, Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, Will Smith, Rick Springfield, Barbra Streisand, etc.)

Blues Brothers (Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi), "Soul Man," No. 14, 1979; "Rubber Biscuit," No. 37, 1979; "Gimme Some Lovin'," No. 18, 1980; and, "Who's Makin' Love," No. 39, 1981)

Bill Cosby, "Little Old Man (Uptight Everything's Alright)," No. 4, 1967)

Bob and Doug McKenzie (Dave Thomas & Rick Moranis), "Take Off," No. 16, 1982)

Steve Martin, "King Tut," No. 17, 1978

David Naughton, "Makin' It," No. 5, 1979

Tracey Ullman, "They Don't Know," No. 8, 1984

And, in the spirit of the Festival of Lights:

Adam Sandler, "The Chanukah Song," No. 10, Radio Songs, 1995

Happy holidays!

Jeff Lerner
Long Island, New York