Usher, Keys Lead Billboard Awards Finalists
Usher and Alicia Keys lead the pack of multiple-award finalists for the Billboard Music Awards, to be held Dec. 8 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas and set to air live on Fox. Usher will contUsher and Alicia Keys lead the pack of multiple-award finalists for the Billboard Music Awards, to be held Dec. 8 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas and set to air live on Fox. Usher will contend for awards in 13 categories while Keys is up for 12 awards. Other multiple finalists include Maroon5, OutKast, Kanye West, R. Kelly, Gretchen Wilson, Hoobastank and Jay-Z.
As previously reported, Ryan Seacrest will host the event, which will feature performances by Gwen Stefani, Usher, Nelly and Green Day and others to be announced.
Among the categories in which Usher is a finalist are artist of the year, R&B/hip-hop artist of the year, male artist of the year, Hot 100 artist of the year and Billboard 200 album of the year for "Confessions" (LaFace/Zomba). Keys is up for artist of the year, female artist of the year, Hot 100 songwriter of the year and Billboard 200 album of the year for "The Diary of Alicia Keys" (J).
Maroon5 ("This Love") appears with Keys ("If I Ain't Got You") and Usher ("Burn" and "Yeah!") in the Hot 100 single of the year category. The latter two are the only finalists for R&B/hip-hop single of the year (Usher's "Burn" and "Yeah!" and Keys' "If I Ain't Got You" and "Diary").
Maroon5 and OutKast are the other two finalists for artist of the year. Both are also up for duo/group artist of the year alongside Hoobastank and Linkin Park. OutKast's "Speakerboxxx/The Love Below" is a finalist for Billboard 200 album of the year, in addition to the Usher and Keys sets and Josh Groban's "Closer" (Reprise/Warner Bros.)
The finalists for male artist of the year are Usher, country star Toby Keith, rapper Twista and hip-hop newcomer Kanye West. Beyoncé, Britney Spears and Norah Jones join Keys as finalists for female artist of the year.
Stevie Wonder will receive Billboard's Century Award, the magazine's highest honor for creative achievement, at the ceremony.
The awards recognize the year's leading artists and songs as determined by performance on Billboard's weekly charts. For a full list of finalists, click here.