When MTV announced the nominees for the 2012 MTV Video Music Awards this morning, there were few if any surprises. Drake and Rihanna came out holding the most nominations at five apiece, with usual suspects like Katy Perry and Beyonce garnering a slew of nods. Even new artists like Gotye, Lana Del Rey and Skrillex came away with multiple nominations. Glaringly absent? Rock! Once again, MTV has snubbed the rock nation for lots of pop, hip-hop and the increasing influence of EDM.

The one – and pretty much only – place rock is really represented is in the Best Rock Video category (AKA the Rock Ghetto), where Coldplay (“Paradise”) will face off with the Black Keys (“Lonely Boy”), Linkin Park (“BURN IT DOWN”), Jack White (“Sixteen Saltines”) and newcomers Imagine Dragon (“It’s Time”). Coldplay got to dally outside of the Rock Ghetto for their collaboration with pop queen Rihanna (“Princess of China”), which received nominations for Best Cinematography and Best Direction.

Otherwise, guitar-driven rock is woefully underrepresented. Rise Against was able to snag a nomination for Best Video With a Message (“Ballad of Hollis Brown”), while Of Monsters & Men scored a Best Art Direction nod (“Little Talks”). Linkin Park also slipped into the Best Visual Effects category (“BURN IT DOWN”). In short, get ready for lots of choreographed dance routines and very little rocking out when the VMAs happen live from the Staples Center in L.A. on September 6.

On the bright side, 2013 is shaping up to a monster year for rock music. With new albums coming from such heavy hitters as Green Day, No Doubt and the Killers on the horizon, the Rock Ghetto is looking to bust out into major VMA categories next year – or else.

–Scott T. Sterling, CBS Local


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