With mentions in 10 categories, St. Louis based rap artist Nelly leads the list of finalists for the 2002 Billboard Music Awards. Close behind is Ashanti, who on her own is a finalist in seven categor

With mentions in 10 categories, St. Louis based rap artist Nelly leads the list of finalists for the 2002 Billboard Music Awards. Close behind is Ashanti, who on her own is a finalist in seven categories, and is twice a finalist in another as a featured artist on tracks by Ja Rule and Fat Joe. As previously reported, the awards ceremony will be held Dec. 9 at Las Vegas' MGM Grand Garden Arena and will be broadcast live on Fox beginning at 8 p.m. ET (tape delayed on the West Coast).

Puddle Of Mudd is a finalist in five categories, while Eminem and Alan Jackson show up in four. Those who will complete in three categories are Ja Rule, Usher, Creed, Nickelback, Ludacris, and Garth Brooks.


Nelly's nods come in the male artist, R&B/hip-hop male artist, and rap artist of the year categories, as well as in the album and R&B hip-hop album of the year column for his Fo' Reel/Universal set "Nellyville." He's also a finalist twice for Hot 100 and rap single of the year with "Dilemma" featuring Kelly Rowland and "Hot In Herre." The latter is also up for the R&B/hip-hop single of the year honor.

Ashanti, meanwhile is a finalist for female artist, R&B/hip-hop female artist, R&B/hip-hop new artist, and new artist of the year. Her single "Foolish" is among the finalists for Hot 100 and R&B/hip-hop single of the year, while the self-titled Def Jam album it came from is up for the R&B hip-hop album of the year title. Ashanti's last two mentions both come in the rap track of the year category, where her guest appearances on Fat Joe's "What's Luv?" and Ja Rule's "Always on Time" are finalists.

The full list of finalists can be viewed by clicking here.

Comedian Cedric "The Entertainer" will host the ceremony, which will feature performances by Justin Timberlake, Faith Hill, Avril Lavigne, Creed, Nelly, and Puddle Of Mudd. Cher will receive the Artist Achievement award, which annually recognizes an artist who has helped redefine popular music with massive success on the Billboard charts. Annie Lennox will be presented with the Billboard Century Award.