Post Malone and Lil Nas X are this year’s leading nominees for the Billboard Music Awards, with 16 and 13 nods, respectively. They are followed by Billie Eilish and Khalid, with 12 nods each; and Lizzo, with 11.
The awards, which were originally scheduled for April 29, will finally be handed out on Oct. 14. Kelly Clarkson will host the show for the third straight year.
This year’s BBMAs are based on the chart period of March 23, 2019 through March 14, 2020. A statement from the Billboard Music Awards explains: “The original eligibility period will remain intact to recognize and honor the chart-topping artists and musical successes achieved and to maintain consistent tracking periods for future shows.”
Most of the nominees are young chartbusters, but several veteran artists received nominations in touring categories. The Rolling Stones, Elton John and Metallica are vying for top touring artist and top rock tour. Janet Jackson is up for top R&B tour. George Strait is up for top country tour.
A few artists were nominated posthumously. Juice WRLD, who died in 2019, is up for top rap album. Avicii, who died in 2018, is nominated for top dance/electronic album. Whitney Houston, who died in 2012, is nominated for top dance/electronic song for “Higher Love,” her from-the-grave collab with Kygo.
Drake, who is the leading BBMA winner with 27 wins, has five more nominations this year. Taylor Swift, the runner-up BBMA winner with 23 wins, has six nods this year. Justin Bieber, who is in third place with 20 wins, has four nods this year.
Swift could set a number of records this year in specific categories. She is vying to win artist of the year for a record third time. She previously won in 2013 and 2015. She is also vying to win top Billboard 200 album for a record third time (with Lover, of course, not her more recent Folklore). She’s also hoping to win top female artist and top Billboard 200 artist, each for a record fourth time.
Bieber is nominated in two far afield categories — top R&B album for Changes and top country song for “10,000 Hours,” his cross-genre collab with Dan + Shay. Bieber is also nominated for top collaboration for “I Don’t Care,” his hit collab with Ed Sheeran. Bieber won in the latter category two years ago for “Despacito,” the megahit by Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee on which he was featured.
Kanye West is nominated for both top Christian album and top gospel album. He could become the first artist to win in both categories. What’s more, West has four of the five nominees for top gospel song.
Dan + Shay and Jonas Brothers tied as the most nominated group or duo, with four nods each.
Note: The BBMAs aired annually from 1990 through 2006. The show then went on hiatus, relaunching in 2011. Because of the four-year gap in the awards coverage, and because the number of awards presented each year fluctuated considerably in the show’s first incarnation, all of the statistics in this piece are based solely on the results since the relaunch in 2011. This will be the 10th awards presentation since the reboot.
Here are 20 more artists who could make history at the BBMAs:
Billie Eilish and Lizzo: The stars are each nominated for top new artist. Either would become the first female artist to win in this category since Lorde in 2014. The stars are also each nominated for top Hot 100 song, for “bad guy” and “Truth Hurts,” respectively. Either would become the first female artist to win in this category on her own (not as part of a collab) since Meghan Trainor triumphed in 2015 with “All About That Bass.”
Ed Sheeran: Sheeran is nominated for top male artist, a category he won in 2018. A win would make him the third two-time winner in the category, following Bieber and Drake. In addition, Sheeran is vying to become the first artist to win back-to-back awards as top touring artist since U2 won in 2011 and 2012.
Ariana Grande: The pop star is vying to become the first artist to win back-to-back awards for top female artist.
BTS: The K-pop sensations are vying to become the first group or duo to win top duo/group two years running since another boy-band import, One Direction, in 2015-16. BTS is also vying to win top social artist for the fourth year in a row. Bieber won the six years before that.
Drake: Like Swift, Drake is vying to win a record fourth award for top Billboard 200 artist. Drake has won in the category the last three years running.
Imagine Dragons: The band is vying to become the first four-time winner of top rock artist. Another of this year’s nominees, twenty one pilots, could win its third award in the category, matching Imagine Dragons’ record.
Chris Brown and The Weeknd: Both are nominated for top R&B artist, a category won by Brown in 2012 and The Weeknd in 2016. Either would become the first repeat winner since the show’s relaunch. In addition, The Weeknd’s “Heartless” is nominated for top R&B song, a category he won four years ago for “The Hills.” He’s vying to become the first repeat winner in the category.
Beyoncé: Homecoming: The Live Album is nominated for top R&B album, a category in which Beyoncé won in 2012 and 2017. She’d be the first three-time winner in the category since the relaunch.
Post Malone: The genre-crossing star has two nominees for top rap song, a category he won two years ago with “Rockstar” (featuring 21 Savage). If Post wins again, he’ll tie Macklemore & Ryan Lewis as the only two-time winners in this category. The duo won in 2013-14.
Cardi B: The rapper is vying to win top rap female artist for the third year in a row, though she faces a stiff challenge from Megan Thee Stallion. Interestingly, the third nominee in the category is a duo, City Girls.
Luke Combs: The country star is vying to win top country artist for the second year in a row. He’d be the first artist to win back-to-back awards in this category since the show’s relaunch. Bryan is also vying to take top country album for the second year in a row. He’s nominated this year for What You See Is What You Get. He won last year for This One’s For You. Chris Stapleton won the country album award three years running from 2016-18.
The Chainsmokers: The duo is vying to win a record fourth consecutive award for top dance/electronic artist. In addition, World War Joy is nominated for top dance/electronic album. The duo would be the first three-time winner in that category.
Ozuna and Romeo Santos: Both artists are vying to become the first three-time winner for top Latin artist. Ozuna won the last two years. Santos won in 2015 and 2016.
Lauren Daigle and Hillsong United: Both acts are vying to become the first three-time winner for top Christian artist. They are currently tied with Chris Tomlin with two wins each in the category.
Kirk Franklin and Tasha Cobbs Leonard: Both artists are vying to become the first three-time winner for top gospel artist. The category originated in 2016.