The Billboard Music Awards Keep Bubbling

Can the Billboard Music Awards keep it up? Since returning to the air four years ago - after a four-year absence and a move from Fox to ABC - the show has been attracting larger audiences, capped by last year's 9.5 million viewers, a 28 percent spike over the year before.

The broadcast, which will air May 18 live on ABC from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, is recruiting some boldface friends to help. Imagine Dragons, who will return to their hometown of Vegas to perform on the show, and New Zealand breakout star Lorde share the most nominations, with 12 apiece. Among the performers are Jennifer Lopez (who will receive the Icon award) and Pitbull, debuting the new FIFA World Cup anthem "We Are One (Ole Ola)," and Carrie Underwood and Miranda Lambert will join forces on a duet from the latter's new album. Others booked to sing their hits include Lorde, Luke Bryan and Florida Georgia Line ("This Is How We Roll"), John Legend ("All of Me"), OneRepublic ("Falling Stars"), Katy Perry ("Birthday"), Jason Derulo ("Talk Dirty") and Aussie pop-punk boy-band phenom 5 Seconds of Summer ("She Looks So Perfect").

Nominees and winners are determined by weighing consumer interactions with music, including album and digital singles sales, radio airplay, tour attendance, streaming and social activity on Facebook, Twitter, Vevo and Spotify, as tracked by Billboard and its data partners, including Nielsen Entertainment and Next Big Sound between March 11, 2013 and March 9, 2014.

This year's edition, produced for the first time by Billboard corporate partner Dick Clark Productions (both are owned by Guggenheim Partners) is overseen by Larry Klein, Barry Adelman and Mark Bracco, who just joined DCP from ABC, where he was instrumental in moving the show after 18 years on Fox.

Klein, a veteran of the American Music Awards who will be producing the Billboard Music Awards show for the first time, says the venerable publication's brand lends the show credibility.

"It's the bible of the industry, the holy grail," he says. "I get to fall back on the magazine's 120-year tradition. Everybody wants to be No. 1 on the Billboard charts. Hopefully, we will capture a year in the life of Billboard's hottest music."