12 Top Takeaways from the 2020 American Music Award Nominations

Roddy Ricch
Jai Lennard

Roddy Ricch photographed on Jan. 31, 2020 at Outpost Studio in Brooklyn.

The AMAs added three Latin categories, upping the total to four, which puts Latin on par with soul/R&B and rap/hip-hop.

The nominations for the 2020 American Music Awards were announced Monday (Oct. 26) morning. Roddy Ricch and The Weeknd are this year’s leading contenders with eight nods each. Megan Thee Stallion is the top female nominee, with five nods.

Here are 12 takeaways from this year’s nominations:

Taylor Swift, who has won 29 American Music Awards, more than anyone else, is nominated for four more this year, including favorite female artist pop/rock. If she wins, she’ll become the first five-time winner in the category’s history. She’s currently tied with Olivia Newton-John and Whitney Houston with four wins each. She’s also nominated for favorite album –pop/rock for folkore. If she wins, she’ll become the first four-time winner in the category’s history. She’s currently tied with Michael Jackson and Justin Bieber with three wins each.

Bieber, who has won 15 American Music Awards, which puts him in a tie for seventh place, is nominated for four more awards this year. He’s vying for his fourth award as favorite male artist – pop/rock. That would, likewise, set a record in this category. The Bieb is currently tied for the lead with Barry Manilow, Michael Bolton, Eric Clapton and Jackson, with three awards each.

Juice WRLD, who died of a seizure in December 2019, is vying for favorite male artist – rap/hip-hop. Juice WRLD wouldn’t be the first posthumous winner in this genre. 2Pac took the 1997 award for favorite rap/hip-hop artist, four months after he was shot to death in Las Vegas.

BTS, the winner for favorite social artist the last two years running, is nominated in that category again this year. BTS is also defending in favorite duo or group—pop/rock, which it won for the first time last year.

Ricch is nominated for both artist of the year and new artist of the year. He’s the first act to be nominated in both of those categories in the same year since another hip-hop star, Iggy Azalea, six years ago.

Several artists are nominated in categories that are out of their normal playing field. Pop stars Bieber and Gwen Stefani are each nominated for favorite song—country, for collabs with Dan + Shay and Blake Shelton, respectively.  Kanye West is nominated for favorite artist – contemporary inspirational. Nicki Minaj is nominated for favorite song—Latin for “Tusa,” a collab with Karol G.

The AMAs added three Latin categories, bringing Latin’s total from one to four categories. This gives Latin parity with soul/R&B and rap/hip hop (which gained one category this year). The only genres with more categories in the AMAs are pop/rock and country, with five categories each. Trailing, with just category each: alternative rock, adult contemporary, contemporary inspirational and EDM. The AMAs dropped tour of the year, a timely move in this year of tour cancellations due to COVID-19.

There will be first-time winners in several categories, including two that have long been dominated by just two women. Gabby Barrett, Miranda Lambert and Maren Morris are the nominees for favorite female artist – country, which has been won the last 13 years by either Swift (in her country days) or Carrie Underwood. Jhené Aiko, Doja Cat and Summer Walker are the nominees for favorite female artist –soul/R&B, which has been won the last 13 years by either Beyoncé or Rihanna.

Several artists are competing against themselves this year. Megan Thee Stallion has two nominations for collaboration of the year—“WAP” (a collab with Cardi B) and “Savage” remix (a collab with Beyoncé). Ricch has two of the nominees for favorite song—rap/hip-hop—“Rockstar,” a collab with DaBaby, and his own “The Box.” Bad Bunny has two of the nominees for favorite album – Latin – las que no iban a salir and YHLQMDLG.

Lauren Daigle is vying for her fourth consecutive award for favorite artist – contemporary inspirational. She is the only artist going for a fourth consecutive win in any category this year.

All three nominees for favorite male artist—soul/R&B are past winners in that category. Chris Brown has won twice. John Legend The Weeknd have each won once. This is the only category where all the contenders are past category champs.

The American Music Awards are billed as “the world’s largest fan-voted award show.” Nominations are based on key fan interactions including streaming, album and digital song sales, radio airplay and social activity. These measurements are tracked by Billboard and its data partners MRC Data and Next Big Sound, and reflect the time period of Sept. 27, 2019 through Sept. 24, 2020.

The 2020 American Music Awards is produced by dick clark productions, which is owned by MRC Entertainment, the parent company of Billboard. Amy Thurlow, Barry Adelman, Mark Bracco and Linda Gierahn are executive producers. Larry Klein is producer.

The show will air live on Sunday, Nov. 22 at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT on ABC. The host has yet to be announced.

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