Grammy nods: Times music critics break down expanded categories, Taylor Swift snub and the power of ‘Shallow’

Jason Tam as Peter, John Legend as Jesus, Sara Bareilles as Mary in a scene from "Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert."

Jason Tam as Peter, John Legend as Jesus, Sara Bareilles as Mary in a scene from “Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert.” (Paul Lee / NBC)

A surprise challenger infiltrated the musical theater album category when the Grammy nominees were announced Friday: The television special “Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert,” starring Sara Bareilles, Alice Cooper and John Legend, landed a nomination next to Tony Award winners “The Band’s Visit,” “Carousel,” “My Fair Lady” and “Once on This Island.”

Long considered Broadway’s Grammy category, the winner is often a cast album for whichever show won the best musical or best musical revival Tony Award. “Dear Evan Hansen” won last year. In 2016, “Hamilton” took the Grammy.

Thanks to this year’s twist, the Tonys’ best musical, “The Band’s Visit,” and musical revival, “Once on This Island,” are not exactly shoo-ins for a Grammy win.