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PERFORMERS:

CLAY AIKEN

Clay AikenThe runner-up of the second season of the Fox competition "American Idol," is a finalist in best selling single of the year category ("This is the Night"/"Bridge Over Troubled Water").

Although he narrowly missed taking the "Idol" crown (which went to Ruben Studdard), Aiken has found a vast audience of fans since the show ended. His debut single topped Billboard's Hot 100 Singles Sales chart, while his first album, "Measure of a Man" (RCA), opened at No. 1 on The Billboard 200.

Aiken is in the midst of a promotional tour that sees him performing at several radio-station sponsored holiday concerts through December.


BEYONCÉ

BeyoncéThe Destiny's Child singer is a finalist in five categories:
• New Artist of the Year
• R&B/ Hip Hop New Artist of the Year
• Hot 100 Female Artist of the Year
• Hot 100 Single of the Year ("Crazy in Love" featuring Jay-Z)
• Digital Track of the Year ("Crazy in Love" featuring Jay-Z)

By stepping out on her own, Beyoncé Knowles has proven to be one of 2003's biggest artists. Following a role in last year's "Austin Powers in Goldmember," she appeared on Jay-Z's hit single "'03 Bonnie & Clyde."

The rapper returned the favor on her smash "Crazy in Love," which topped Billboard's Hot 100 for eight weeks. She also spent nine weeks on top of that tally with her single "Baby Boy" featuring Sean Paul.

Both songs are featured on her debut Columbia solo album, "Dangerously in Love," which opened at No. 1 on The Billboard 200 and Billboard's Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart.


EVANESCENCE

EvanescenceA breakout rock act of 2003, the band is a finalist in the new artist of the year category.

The group's debut Wind-Up album, "Fallen," reached No. 3 on The Billboard 200 in June. The set features the singles "Bring Me To Life" and "Going Under."

Despite the abrupt exit of guitarist Ben Moody in the midst of a recent European tour, the band will soldier on through North American tour dates with substitute guitarist Terry Balsamo of Cold. The tour will pick up just days after the Billboard Music Awards with a Dec. 12 show in Montreal and is slated to end Dec. 16 in Little Rock, Ark.

The group will kick off 2004 with tours of New Zealand/Australia and Japan.


FOO FIGHTERS

Foo FightersThe band led by former Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl is a finalist in the modern rock artist of the year category.

In late 2002, the group released its fourth studio album, "One By One." The 11-track Roswell/RCA collection features the singles "All My Life" and "Times Like These," and debuted at No. 3 on The Billboard 200.

After considerable travel throughout the year, the Foo Fighters will end 2003's touring regimen with their performance at the Billboard Music Awards. The night prior to the event, the band will play a sold-out show at Las Vegas' House of Blues.


R. KELLY

R. KellyThe R&B artist is a finalist in five categories:
• Artist of the year
• R&B/ Hip Hop Artist of the Year
• Hot 100 Male Artist of the Year
• Hot 100 Producer of the Year
• Hot 100 Single of the Year ("Ignition")

This year, R. Kelly released his seventh studio album, "Chocolate Factory" (Jive). Released in March, the set debuted at No. 1 on The Billboard 200 and Billboard's Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart.

Despite controversy in his personal life, Kelly has notched several hit singles from the album, including "Step in the Name of Love" and "Ignition."


NO DOUBT

No DoubtThe California-based ska-leaning pop act is in a celebratory mood this year as it recently released the career-spanning collection "The Singles 1992-2003." The just released Interscope set bowed at No. 2 on The Billboard 200.

The album boasts such hit singles as "Don't Speak" and "Just a Girl" among its 15 tracks, as well as one new song, a cover of new wave act Talk Talk's "It's My Life."


PINK

PinkAlthough not finalist in any of the categories included in this year's show, Pink is finishing up 2003 in fine form. Her third studio album, "Try This," was released in November by Arista.

Featuring the singles "Trouble" and "God is a DJ," the set debuted at No. 9 on The Billboard 200. Boasting eight songs co-written and produced by Rancid frontman Tim Armstrong, "Try This" is the follow-up to her breakthrough album "M!ssundaztood." Linda Perry, who collaborated with Pink on much of that 2001 album, wrote or co wrote three songs on the new set.

Pink is slated to kick off a European tour Feb. 19 in Dublin. She'll also visit Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Norway and Sweden before winding the tour up with six U.K. dates in late-March.


STING

StingThe former frontman/bassist of the Police is Billboard's 2003 Century Award honoree.

The Century Award was created in 1994 by the magazine's then-editor in chief, the late Timothy White, and then-publisher, Howard Lander, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the publication.

Previous Century Award honorees are George Harrison (1992), Buddy Guy (1993), Billy Joel (1994), Joni Mitchell (1995), Carlos Santana (1996), Chet Atkins (1997), James Taylor (1998), Emmylou Harris (1999), Randy Newman (2000), John Mellencamp (2001) and Annie Lennox (2002).

In September, Sting released his ninth solo studio album, "Sacred Love." The A&M album debuted at No. 3 on The Billboard 200. He'll launch a North American tour Jan. 23 in Miami; a European tour will follow in April.


SHANIA TWAIN

Shania TwainThe Canadian-born pop country artist is a finalist in two categories:
• Country Artist of the Year
• Album of the Year ("Up!)

Twain is in the midst of a leg of North American tour dates that will revisit Las Vegas 10 days after the Billboard Music Awards for her last show of 2003. She will retake to the road in early 2004 with a full European tour and an extensive spring North American return that will have her out through June.

The concert work comes in support of Twain's latest Mercury album, "Up!" Released in November 2002, the set debuted at No. 1 on The Billboard 200 and on Billboard's Top Country Albums chart. The set includes the singles "I'm Gonna Getcha Good!" and "Forever and for Always."


ALSO SLATED TO APPEAR (non-performers):

OutKastArtists: OutKast, the Black Eyed Peas, Audioslave, J.C. Chasez, Lil Jon & The East Side Boyz, Fabolous, Trapt, 3 Doors Down, Jessica Simpson, Nick Lachey, Dave Navarro, Kelly Clarkson, Celine Dion, Chingy, LL Cool J

Celebrities: Adam Brody, Ben McKenzie and Mischa Barton from the Fox show "The O.C.," Carmen Electra, Kathy Griffin, Shaun Morgan, Carmen Electra, Triumph The Insult Comic Dog