Billboard Awards Nominations Led by the Weeknd, DaBaby, Pop Smoke, Gabby Barrett

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Chris Willman
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The Weeknd is the leading nominee for the 2021 Billboard Music Awards, with his 16 nods putting him ahead of DaBaby, with 11, the late Pop Smoke, with 10, and country singer Gabby Barrett, who’s up for nine.

Meghan Thee Stallion was the second most named female artist in Thursday morning’s announcement, coming in with seven nominations. Bad Bunny, Drake, the late Juice WRLD and Chris Brown also have seven chances this year. Lil Baby and Morgan Wallen have six nominations apiece, followed by Justin Bieber and Doja Cat with five.

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Dick Clark Productions addressed Wallen’s six nods, saying he would not be invited to participate in the show despite his nominations because his recent actions did not meet with the show’s “core values.”

The Billboard Awards are not voted upon, per se, but reflect data collected by the music trade publication for its charts from streaming, sales, airplay and social engagement. The nominations for this set of awards are based on a chart period starting March 21, 2020 and ending a few weeks ago on April 3.

Last year, the telecast was delayed from its usual May spot until October as a result of the pandemic. For 2021, things are back to a normal schedule, with the show scheduled to be broadcast on May 23, airing live on both coasts at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on NBC.

The contenders for the crowning category, Top Artist, are Taylor Swift (who has four nominations), the Weeknd Drake, Juice WRLD and Pop Smoke.

Top New Artist is a contest between Barrett, Doja Cat, Pop Smoke, Jack Harlow and Rod Wave.

The Weeknd’s overwhelming 16 nominations include bids for Top Artist,Top Male Artist, Top Hot 100 Artist, Top Streaming Songs Artist, Top Song Sales Artist, Top Radio Songs Artist, Top R&B Artist, Top R&B Male Artist, Top Billboard 200 Album, Top R&B Album, Top Hot 100 Song, Top Streaming Song, Top Selling Song, Top Radio Song, Top R&B Song and Top Latin Song.

Producers point out that Drake is poised to break his own record for the most wins of all time, if any of his six nominations results in a win. His current record stands at 27 Billboard Awards trophies, 12 of which came in the year 2019 alone. But should he not win any of his categories and Swift win all of her four nominations, those two artists would be tied at 27. Swift currently is in second place with 23 career awards, followed by Bieber with 20 and Garth Brooks with 19.

Either the Weeknd or Bieber could supplant Swift in the second-place spot if they win in all their possible categories.

Barrett’s tally is impressive, not just because she’s the leading female contender with nine nods, but because she’s never been nominated at all previously.

BTS looks likely to hold onto a streak in the Top Social Artist category; the K-group has had a lock on that division for the previous four years and may well make it five.

Wallen’s six nominations come even though he was recently barred from competing in another awards show produced by Dick Clark Productions, the Academy of Country Music Awards, because of the controversy over the country singer having been filmed using the N-word. Wallen remains on what he says is a voluntary time-out from publicly pursuing his career. Dick Clark Productions addressed Wallen’s inclusion in a statement, saying it could not exclude him in an awards process driven purely by data, but emphasizing that he would not be invited to participate in the show. His “Dangerous: The Double Album” remains the most consumed album of 2021 so far.

The full statement: “Unique among awards shows, Billboard Music Awards (BBMA) finalists are determined by performance on the Billboard charts, and are not chosen by a voting committee or membership organization. BBMA finalists and winners are based on key fan interactions with music (including album and digital song sales, streaming, radio airplay, social engagement), tracked by Billboard and its data partners, including MRC Data.”

It continued, “With our content reaching millions of viewers, dcp and MRC have the privilege and responsibility to effect change by creating a more inclusive dialogue in our productions and across the industry.

“Morgan Wallen is a finalist this year 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).

“It is heartening and encouraging to hear that Morgan is taking steps in his anti-racist journey and starting to do some meaningful work. We plan to evaluate his progress and will consider his participation in future shows.”

The complete list of nominees:

ARTIST AWARDS

Top Artist
Drake
Juice WRLD
Pop Smoke
Taylor Swift
The Weeknd

Top New Artist
Gabby Barrett
Doja Cat
Jack Harlow
Pop Smoke
Rod Wave

Top Male Artist
Drake
Juice WRLD
Lil Baby
Pop Smoke
The Weeknd

Top Female Artist
Billie Eilish
Ariana Grande
Dua Lipa
Megan Thee Stallion
Taylor Swift

Top Duo/Group
AC/DC
AJR
BTS
Dan + Shay
Maroon 5

Top Billboard 200 Artist
Drake
Juice WRLD
Pop Smoke
Post Malone
Taylor Swift

Top Hot 100 Artist
DaBaby
Drake
Dua Lipa
Pop Smoke
The Weeknd

Top Streaming Songs Artist
DaBaby
Drake
Lil Baby
Pop Smoke
The Weeknd

Top Song Sales Artist
Justin Bieber
BTS
Megan Thee Stallion
*Morgan Wallen
The Weeknd

Top Radio Songs Artist
Justin Bieber
Lewis Capaldi
Dua Lipa
Harry Styles
The Weeknd

Top Social Artist (Fan Voted)
BLACKPINK
BTS
Ariana Grande
SB19
Seventeen

Top R&B Artist
Jhené Aiko
Justin Bieber
Chris Brown
Doja Cat
The Weeknd

Top R&B Male Artist
Justin Bieber
Chris Brown
The Weeknd

Top R&B Female Artist
Jhené Aiko
Doja Cat
SZA

Top Rap Artist
DaBaby
Drake
Juice WRLD
Lil Baby
Pop Smoke

Top Rap Male Artist
Juice WRLD
Lil Baby
Pop Smoke

Top Rap Female Artist
Cardi B
Megan Thee Stallion
Saweetie

Top Country Artist
Gabby Barrett
Kane Brown
Luke Combs
Chris Stapleton
*Morgan Wallen

Top Country Male Artist
Luke Combs
Chris Stapleton
*Morgan Wallen

Top Country Female Artist
Gabby Barrett
Maren Morris
Carrie Underwood

Top Country Duo/Group
Dan + Shay
Florida Georgia Line
Maddie & Tae

Top Rock Artist
AC/DC
AJR
Five Finger Death Punch
Machine Gun Kelly
twenty one pilots

Top Latin Artist
Anuel AA
Bad Bunny
J Balvin
Maluma
Ozuna

Top Latin Male Artist
Bad Bunny
J Balvin
Ozuna

Top Latin Female Artist
Becky G
Karol G
Rosalía

Top Latin Duo/Group
Banda MS de Sergio Lizárraga
Eslabón Armado
Los Dos Carnales

Top Dance/Electronic Artist
The Chainsmokers
Kygo
Lady Gaga
Marshmello
Surf Mesa

Top Christian Artist
Casting Crowns
Elevation Worship
for KING & COUNTRY
Carrie Underwood
Zach Williams

Top Gospel Artist
Kirk Franklin
Koryn Hawthorne
Tasha Cobbs Leonard
Maverick City Music
Kanye West

ALBUM AWARDS

Top Billboard 200 Album
Juice WRLD “Legends Never Die”
Lil Baby “My Turn”
Pop Smoke “Shoot for the Stars, Aim for the Moon”
Taylor Swift “folklore”
The Weeknd “After Hours”

Top R&B Album
Jhené Aiko “Chilombo”
Chris Brown & Young Thug “Slime & B”
Doja Cat “Hot Pink”
Kehlani “It Was Good Until It Wasn’t”
The Weeknd “After Hours”

Top Rap Album
DaBaby “BLAME IT ON BABY”
Juice WRLD “Legends Never Die”
Lil Baby “My Turn”
Lil Uzi Vert “Eternal Atake”
Pop Smoke “Shoot for the Stars, Aim for the Moon”

Top Country Album
Gabby Barrett “Goldmine”
Sam Hunt “SOUTHSIDE”
Chris Stapleton “Starting Over”
Carrie Underwood “My Gift”
*Morgan Wallen “Dangerous: The Double Album”

Top Rock Album
AC/DC “Power Up”
Miley Cyrus “Plastic Hearts”
Glass Animals “Dreamland”
Machine Gun Kelly “Tickets to My Downfall”
Bruce Springsteen “Letter to You”

Top Latin Album
Anuel AA “Emmanuel”
Bad Bunny “El Último Tour Del Mundo”
Bad Bunny “Las que no iban a salir”
Bad Bunny “YHLQMDLG”
J Balvin “Colores”

Top Dance/Electronic Album
DJ Snake “Carte Blanche”
Gryffin “Gravity”
Kygo “Golden Hour”
Lady Gaga “Chromatica”
Kylie Minogue “Disco”

Top Christian Album
Bethel Music “Peace”
Elevation Worship “Grave Into Gardens”
Carrie Underwood “My Gift”
We The Kingdom “Holy Water”
Zach Williams “Rescue Story”

Top Gospel Album
Koryn Hawthorne “I AM”
Tasha Cobbs Leonard “Royalty: Live at the Ryman”
Maverick City Music “Maverick City Vol. 3 Part 1”
Maverick City Music “Maverick City Vol. 3 Part 2”
Kierra Sheard “Kierra”

SONG AWARDS

Top Hot 100 Song Presented by Rockstar
24kGoldn ft. iann dior “Mood”
Gabby Barrett ft. Charlie Puth “I Hope”
Chris Brown & Young Thug “Go Crazy”
DaBaby ft. Roddy Ricch “ROCKSTAR”
The Weeknd “Blinding Lights”

Top Streaming Song
Cardi B ft. Megan Thee Stallion “WAP”
DaBaby ft. Roddy Ricch “ROCKSTAR”
Future ft. Drake “Life Is Good”
Jack Harlow ft. DaBaby, Tory Lanez, & Lil Wayne “WHATS POPPIN”
The Weeknd “Blinding Lights”

Top Selling Song
Gabby Barrett ft. Charlie Puth “I Hope”
BTS “Dynamite”
Cardi B ft. Megan Thee Stallion “WAP”
Megan Thee Stallion “Savage”
The Weeknd “Blinding Lights”

Top Radio Song
Gabby Barrett ft. Charlie Puth “I Hope”
Chris Brown & Young Thug “Go Crazy”
Dua Lipa “Don’t Start Now”
Harry Styles “Adore You”
The Weeknd “Blinding Lights”

Top Collaboration (Fan Voted)
24kGoldn ft. iann dior “Mood”
Gabby Barrett ft. Charlie Puth “I Hope”
Chris Brown & Young Thug “Go Crazy”
DaBaby ft. Roddy Ricch “ROCKSTAR”
Jack Harlow ft. DaBaby, Tory Lanez, & Lil Wayne “WHATS POPPIN”

Top R&B Song
Jhené Aiko ft. H.E.R. “B.S.”
Justin Bieber ft. Quavo “Intentions”
Chris Brown & Young Thug “Go Crazy”
Doja Cat “Say So”
The Weeknd “Blinding Lights”

Top Rap Song
24kGoldn ft. iann dior “Mood”
Cardi B ft. Megan Thee Stallion “WAP”
DaBaby ft. Roddy Ricch “ROCKSTAR”
Jack Harlow ft. DaBaby, Tory Lanez, & Lil Wayne “WHATS POPPIN”
Megan Thee Stallion “Savage”

Top Country Song
Jason Aldean “Got What I Got”
Gabby Barrett “I Hope”
Lee Brice “One of Them Girls”
*Morgan Wallen “Chasin’ You”
*Morgan Wallen “More Than My Hometown”

Top Rock Song
AJR “Bang!”
All Time Low ft. blackbear “Monsters”
Glass Animals “Heat Waves”
Machine Gun Kelly ft. blackbear “my ex’s best friend”
twenty one pilots “Level of Concern”

Top Latin Song
Bad Bunny “Yo Perreo Sola”
Bad Bunny & Jhay Cortez “Dákiti”
Black Eyed Peas & J Balvin “RITMO (Bad Boys For Life)”
Maluma & The Weeknd “Hawái”
Ozuna x Karol G x Myke Towers “Caramelo”

Top Dance/Electronic Song
Lady Gaga “Stupid Love”
Lady Gaga & Ariana Grande “Rain on Me”
SAINt JHN “Roses (Imanbek Remix)”
Surf Mesa ft. Emilee “ily (i love you baby)”
Topic & A7S “Breaking Me”

Top Christian Song
Elevation Worship ft. Brandon Lake “Graves Into Gardens”
for KING & COUNTRY, Kirk Franklin & Tori Kelly “TOGETHER”
Kari Jobe, Cody Carnes, & Elevation Worship “The Blessing (Live)”
Tauren Wells ft. Jenn Johnson “Famous For (I Believe)”
Zach Williams & Dolly Parton “There Was Jesus”

Top Gospel Song
Koryn Hawthorne “Speak To Me”
Jonathan McReynolds & Mali Music “Movin’ On”
Marvin Sapp “Thank You For It All”
Tye Tribbett “We Gon’ Be Alright”
Kanye West ft. Travis Scott “Wash Us In The Blood”

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