Macklemore & Ryan Lewis lead the pack in nominations for the 41st annual American Music Awards. The Seattle-based hip-hop duo has six nominations, including in three of the most prominent categories: Artist of the Year, New Artist of the Year, and Single of the Year, beating out several more established stars.
For Artist of the Year, the duo is competing with Bruno Mars, Rihanna, Taylor Swift, and Justin Timberlake.
For New Artist of the Year, the other finalists are country duo Florida Georgia Line, pop singer Ariana Grande, rock band Imagine Dragons, and "American Idol" winner Phillip Phillips.
For Single of the Year, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis's "Thrift Shop" (featuring Wanz) is squaring off against two other chart-topping collaborations: "Blurred Lines" by Robin Thicke featuring T.I. + Pharrell, and "Cruise" by Florida Georgia Line featuring Nelly.
This marks the first time that the AMAs have presented an overall award for Single of the Year. The program had three or four single awards (in various genres) each year from 1974 through 1995, but dropped all single awards in 1996. Now, for the first time, all singles will compete in one category.
It's fairly unusual for a new artist to compete for Artist of the Year. The last newcomers to do so, in 2010, were Justin Bieber and Ke$ha. (Bieber won both Artist of the Year and New Artist of the Year that year.)
Swift is vying to become the first artist to be named Artist of the Year three times. The country and pop superstar is currently tied with Bieber, who has also won the award twice. Swift won the award in 2009 and 2011. (Bieber took it in 2010 and 2012.)
Rihanna is the only artist who has been nominated for Artist of the Year the last two years running. Last year, she competed with Bieber, Drake, Maroon 5, and Katy Perry.
Timberlake was a finalist for a Fans' Choice Award — which was a precursor to Artist of the Year — at the AMAs in November 2003. Beyonce, 50 Cent, Matchbox 20, and Tim McGraw were also nominated, but the fans' choice that year was..."American Idol" runner-up Clay Aiken.
Timberlake, Mars, and Robin Thicke are competing for Favorite Male Artist in Pop/Rock. Timberlake won this award in 2007; Mars in 2011.
Rihanna, Ciara, and Alicia Keys are competing for Favorite Female Artist in Soul/R&B. This would be Rihanna's fourth win in this category, which would put her in a three-way tie with Aretha Franklin and Mariah Carey for the most wins in the category's history. Keys won the award in 2004.
Nominations in these five categories were announced this morning on ABC's "Good Morning America." Kelly Clarkson and will.i.am did the honors. Nominees in 17 other categories will be revealed at a later press conference Tuesday morning.
The awards will be telecast from the Nokia Theater at L.A. Live, November 24 on ABC.