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Britney's 'Blackout' Drops Out

Britney’s 'Blackout' | Geezers Vie for Grammy | Will ‘The Namesake’ Curry Favor?

Britney’s Blackout Drops Out

A month to the day after its release, Britney Spears’s "Blackout" album is over and out.

Even with the enthusiasm of the holiday sales, fans have pretty much turned their back on the CD after buying 430,000 copies.

On Friday morning, "Blackout" stands at No. 59 on Amazon.com. It’s also No. 13 on iTunes, which means that its downloading days are dwindling as well.

A new single, “Piece of Me,” is getting some airplay including on the nation’s top pop station, New York’s Z-100. But that doesn’t seem to make much of a difference.

“Piece of Me” is registering as only the 37th most downloaded single on iTunes, the place where anyone who wanted it would get it at this point if they didn’t want the whole album.

Geezers Vie for Grammy Best Album

It’s not going to be a strong show of youth on the next Grammy Awards.

The Best Album nominees, currently being determined in smoke-filled rooms, are not a pretty sight. The two best albums of the year, that is the Grammy year, were by senior members of the Academy.

Those would be Paul McCartney’s "Memory Almost Full," and Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band’s "Magic."

Each of them would be a winner in any year. But it’s a horse race between the two, with the other three spots really just there to fill out the card.

Of course, if Alicia Keys’ “As I Am” had made it before the Oct. 1 deadline, we’d have a horse race and at least one young player in the game. But “As I Am” will have to wait till 2009, believe it or not.

Apart from the McCartney and Springsteen albums, the pickings are slim. Suggestions from various music site forums include Kanye West’s "Graduation," Amy Winehouse’s "Back to Black," John Legend’s "Once Again," "Not Too Late" by Norah Jones, "The Reminder" by new female artist Feist, and so on.

With pop music having succumbed to "American Idol" as a standard, and some labels, like Warner Music and EMI pretty much ceasing to issue releases, it’s left the field of nominees mowed down closer than a Scarsdale lawn.

The choices for Best Record are a little more exciting, if only because Keys’ “No One” made the deadline and will qualify there and in Best Song.

McCartney and Springsteen should get entries there, too, with the former’s “My Ever Present Past” a strong choice. Springsteen as “Radio Nowhere” for Best Record and “Devil’s Arcade” and “Living in the Future” as good Best Song choices if the Grammy committees decide to get creative.

Beyond those artists, there will be some other interesting notables. Kanye West had “Stronger” for a Best Record choice, but he’s voided in Best Song since he only samples, and doesn’t compose, his records.

Amy Winehouse’s “Rehab,” though, is a sure shot in both categories as is Carrie Underwood’s “Before He Cheats.” The committee would be smart to include the aforementioned Britney Spears in Best Record for “Gimme More’’ — it was a good single, after all.

And what curve ball could the committees throw, just to be goofy? Why, they could give some nominations to Kelly Clarkson’s “My December” just so headlines the next day could read “Her December” since the nominees are announced next month!

Will ‘The Namesake’ Curry Favor?

One movie Academy Award voters should not overlook is Mira Nair’s "The Namesake," from FOX Searchlight. It’s got realistic chances in categories of Best Director (Nair), Best Supporting Actress (Tabu), Best Supporting Actor (Irfan Khan) and Best Adapted Screenplay (Sooni Taraporevala).

"The Namesake" is based on the bestselling novel by Jhumpa Lahiri. Mira Nair is already a favorite from "Monsoon Wedding" and "Salaam Bombay."

Tabu and Irfan Khan are huge stars in India who are already making headway here. Khan had a significant role this year also in "A Mighty Heart" playing the police captain who helps Mariane Pearl (Angelina Jolie).

Adapting novels to the screen is an iffy business that rarely works, but in the case of "The Namesake," the project has been an enormous success. I found myself watching the film for the third time Thursday now that the DVD is available and marveling at Nair’s ability to telescope so many stories and generations. She is adept at retaining the emotion without making it schmaltzy too. By the end of the film you feel like you’ve been part of this Indian family’s journey in America.

All the actors in "The Namesake" turn in sensitive, excellent work, including Kal Penn as Gogol, the main character.

But Tabu — who is 37 — is astonishing covering a range between 16 and 45. Outside of Cate Blanchett in "I’m Not There," it’s the only supporting actress performance I can think of this year that was completely transcendent. Khan is her equal if not more, and the pair are responsible for making "The Namesake" a convincing and resonant experience.