The Weeknd leads nominees heading into Billboard Music Awards

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Posted at 2:32 PM, May 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-22 17:32:01-04

LOS ANGELES, Calif. (CNS) - After his much-publicized snub at this year's Grammy Awards, The Weeknd will carry a leading 16 nominations into Sunday's Billboard Music Awards, including nods for top artist, top male artist and top hot 100 artist.

The Weeknd made headlines earlier this year when -- despite being considered a heavy favorite -- he was completely ignored by the Recording Academy and received no Grammy nominations. But he's exacting some revenge with the Billboard Music Awards, which will be presented at the Microsoft Theater in downtown Los Angeles in a ceremony hosted by Nick Jonas.

The Weeknd's 16 nominations easily lead all artists, with DaBaby a distant second with 11 nods, Pop Smoke with 10 and Gabby Barrett with nine. Pop Smoke, 20, was fatally shot in the Hollywood Hills in February 2020.

The Weeknd and Pop Smoke are both nominated for top artist, along with Drake, Juice WRLD and Taylor Swift. The nomination for Juice WRLD is also posthumous. He died from a drug-related seizure at age 21 in December 2019.

The Weeknd, Pop Smoke, Juice WRLD, Drake and Lil Baby are all nominated for top male artist. Swift is nominated for top female artist, as are Billie Eilish, Ariana Grande, Dua Lipa and Megan Thee Stallion.

For top new artist, nominees are Gabby Barrett, Doja Cat, Jack Harlow, Pop Smoke and Rod Wave.

The awards are based on the chart period of March 21, 2020, through April 3, 2021. Nominees and winners are chosen "based on key fan interactions with music, including album and digital song sales, streaming, radio airplay and social engagement."

Country singer Morgan Wallen, who has been under fire and largely shunned by the music industry after being caught on camera using racial epithets, has multiple nominations in country categories. The nominations prompted Dick Clark Productions, which sponsors the awards, to issue a statement noting the nominations were based on "charting."

"As his recent conduct does not align with our core values, we will not be including him on the show in any capacity -- performing, presenting, accepting," according to the company.

The Weeknd will be among those performing at the event, along with Pink, Alicia Keys, Bad Bunny, BTS, AJR, DJ Khaled with H.E.R. and Migos, Duran Duran, twenty one pilots, Glass Animals, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis with Sounds of Blackness and Ann Nesby, Karol G, Doja Kat and SZA.

Pink will also receive the "Icon Award," which honors artists "who have achieved excellence on the Billboard charts and have made an indelible mark on music itself."

Drake will receive the "Artist of the Decade" award, which is based on "activity on the Billboard Hot 100 songs chart and the Billboard 200 albums tally, as well as social media data and touring revenue from Billboard Boxscore" over the past decade.

Rapper/activist Trae Tha Truth will receive the Billboard "Change Maker Award," which "honors the artist or group that speaks truth to power through their music, celebrity and community."