Legend earned nominations Thursday for "Jesus Christ Superstar Live In Concert" - outstanding lead actor in a limited series or movie and as a producer in the outstanding variety special (live) category.
"I never envisioned myself being nominated as an actor in the Emmys, so it's a really nice, pleasant surprise," the 39-year-old told The Associated Press by phone.
Legend has won 10 Grammys, a best original song Oscar for "Glory" from the film "Selma," and a Tony for best revival of a play for producing "Jitney." Only a select number have won all four major entertainer awards, making them EGOTs.
He said playing the role of Jesus Christ in the NBC special was "more challenging for me than anything I've done before as a musician because I'm used to doing what I do as a musician, I'm used to being a songwriter and a performer."
"If I were expecting to ever win an Emmy, I would have probably expected it to come as a songwriter. But for this to happen ... it's pretty incredible," he added.
Only 12 entertainers have the luxury of being called EGOTs - Audrey Hepburn, Marvin Hamlisch, Whoopi Goldberg, Rita Moreno, Mel Brooks, Helen Hayes, John Gielgud, Mike Nichols, Richard Rodgers, Jonathan Tunick, Scott Rudin and Robert Lopez.
"Obviously it would be a huge honor to be in that rare group of people that have won it, but we'll see what happens," Legend said.
The piano-playing crooner isn't the only one who could join that exclusive club when the 70th Emmy Awards air on Sept. 17 - Benj Pasek and Justin Paul are also on their way to EGOT status.
The composing duo earned a nomination for outstanding original music and lyrics for "In the Market for a Miracle" from Fox's "A Christmas Story Live!"
Pasek and Paul won a Grammy and a Tony for their work on Broadway's "Dear Evan Hansen," and an Oscar for "City of Stars" from "La La Land."
Bareilles, who has been nominated for multiple Grammys and Tonys, is up for outstanding supporting actress in a limited series or movie for co-starring with Legend in "Jesus Christ Superstar," while Martin, a two-time Grammy winner, will compete for outstanding supporting actor in a limited series or movie for his role in FX's "The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story."
Mars earned a nomination for outstanding music direction for his first TV special, "Bruno Mars: 24K Magic Live at the Apollo," which aired on CBS. He won six Grammys for his "24K Magic" project earlier this year, including album, song and record of the year, bringing his career total to 11.
Donald Glover, who is having major success under his music moniker Childish Gambino with the hit "This Is America," earned four Emmy nominations, including three for his work on the hit FX series, "Atlanta," and one for hosting "Saturday Night Live." LL Cool J, as a producer, is nominated for outstanding structured reality program for Spike TV's "Lip Sync Battle."
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