New York — Cardi B is the leading contender at the 2019 Billboard Music Awards with 21 nominations.
NBC and dick clark productions announced on Thursday the 26-year-old rapper is up for honours including top artist, top female artist and top Billboard 200 album for her Grammy-winning release, Invasion of Privacy. With her No. 1 hits — I Like It featuring J Balvin and Bad Bunny and Girls Like You with Maroon 5 — Cardi B is nominated twice in categories like top Hot 100 song, top-selling song and top collaboration.
Drake and Post Malone are close behind with 17 nominations each. They will compete for the show's biggest prize — top artist — along with Cardi B, Ariana Grande and Travis Scott, who scored 12 nominations.
Kelly Clarkson will host the Billboard Awards, taking place on 1 May at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. The show has 56 categories and will air live on NBC.
Rap music, which dominated the charts and streaming services last year, owned the top Billboard album category. The nominees include Drake's Scorpion, Cardi B's Invasion of Privacy, Scott's ASTROWORLD, the late XXXTentacion's ? and Post Malone's Beerbongs & Bentleys.
For top Hot 100 song, rap shined again with nominees like Cardi B's I Like It, Juice WRLD's Lucid Dreams, Scott's SICKO MODE and Post Malone's Better Now. Maroon 5 and Cardi B's Girls Like You is also up for the prize.
XXXTentacion, who was fatally shot last June, earned 10 nominations, including bids for top male artist, top R&B artist and top rap album. Last year, he posthumously won honors at the American Music Awards and the BET Hip-Hop Awards.
The late Aretha Franklin also earned a nomination. The Queen of Soul, who died last August, is up for top gospel album with Gospel Greats. Snoop Dogg will also compete in the category with his first gospel release, Snoop Dogg Presents Bible of Love.
Queen — whose music hit a new peak late last year with the Oscar-winning Freddie Mercury biopic, Bohemian Rhapsody — received nominations for top rock artist and top soundtrack.
Taylor Swift, the most decorated winner in the show's history with 23 honors, is nominated for top female artist and top touring artist.
The Rolling Stones, U2 and Elton John are competing for top rock tour.
Nominees and winners for the Billboard Awards are based on album and song sales, streaming, radio airplay, touring and social engagement. The awards are based on the chart period of 23 March, 2018, through 7 March, 2019.