Tony Bennett, Madonna TV Specials Among the 2012 Emmy Awards Nominees

emmy 2012 logoThough they reward the best in television, the Emmy Awards always provide a few memorable music moments each year, from Jewel’s emotional 2010 performance to to last year’s unlikely musical comedy display from the Lonely Island, Michael Bolton, and Akon.

This year’s Emmy nominees are lighter on the music favorites, but Madonna’s Super Bowl halftime show and Tony Bennett’s PBS special were among the programs to earn recognition from the Academy. And some of our favorite comedians – Betty White and Kathy Griffin – were honored as well.

Despite the fact that Madonna’s Super Bowl performance with LMFAO, M.I.A., Nicki Minaj and Cee Lo Green earned mixed reviews, the show is a contender for Outstanding Lighting for a Variety Special. Its competition includes the Grammy Awards and Andrea Bocelli’s PBS special.

Bennett’s Duets II (Great Performances) is up for Outstanding Variety Special, but it will have to compete with Kathy Griffin’s Tired Hooker and Betty White’s 90th Birthday Party. White is also nominated for Outstanding Host for a Reality Program for the practical joke show Off Their Rockers. The love for Betty White hasn’t faded yet; we doubt anybody is going to beat her.

Our favorite category, Best Original Music and Lyrics, isn’t very impressive this year. The nominees include Jason Segel’s SNL tune “I Can’t Believe I’m Hosting,” Smash’s “Let Me Be Your Star,” and Neil Patrick Harris’ Tony Awards song “It’s Not Just for Gays Anymore,” which earned a nomination for songwriter Adam Schlesinger of Fountains of Wayne.

George Harrison: Living in the Material World, scored a few nominations. The HBO documentary on the late Beatle is up for Outstanding Nonfiction Special against the A&E project Paul Simon’s Graceland Journey: Under African Skies.

Elsewhere, Zooey Deschanel is up for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series for her role as Jess on Fox’s New Girl. The 2012 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony is nominated for Outstanding Picture Editing. Saturday Night Live, The Voice and Glee scored a boatload of nominations. American Idol only nabbed a couple of honors, including Outstanding Reality Host for Ryan Seacrest.

Check out the complete list of 2012 Emmy nominees here. Jimmy Kimmel hosts this year.

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