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The Weeknd, Doja Cat and Olivia Rodrigo lead the Billboard Music Awards nominations

After booking Morgan Wallen, the Billboard Music Awards added another controversial cast member to their 2022 show: Travis Scott, who will make his first television appearance since a stampede at Astroworld left hundreds injured and 10 dead.

A press release did not specify what Scott is up to during his performance. He’s also nominated for a Billboard Music Award this year, with the HVME remix of his track “Goosebumps” being nominated for Top Dance/Electronic Song.

Along with Scott, the BBMAs added Ed Sheeran, Becky G, Elle King and Miranda Lambert to the 2022 lineup. They all join Wallen, Silk Sonic, Florence and the Machine, Maxwell, Megan Thee Stallion, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Burna Boy

The announcement of Scott’s BBMAs booking came after he made his first public appearance since Astroworld, a 45-minute set at Miami nightclub E11even. Scott was also recently announced to be headlining the upcoming Primavera Sound festival in Brazil, where he will perform on November 6th, exactly one day after the first anniversary of the Astroworld tragedy. Scott is expected to be added to more festivals this summer as well.

But even as he returns to the public eye, Scott remains at the center of a series of legal battles over Astroworld that have left 10 people dead and hundreds injured in a crowd during his set. The rapper is the main defendant in more than 380 lawsuits filed by victims and participants, all of which have been consolidated into a master case. The lawsuit alleges that Astrowrold was poorly planned and staged and that the mass rush was avoidable. Scott and the other defendants have denied the allegations against them.

As for Wallen, his BBMA’s slot comes just a few months after the country music industry welcomed him back to the with open arms Academy of Country Music Awards March. Wallen – who won Album of the Year for Dangerous: The double album — had been banned from last year’s show, one of several industry-wide repercussions he’s faced after being caught casually using the n-word on a video. Despite the controversy, Wallen’s music remained extremely successfuland after spending much of 2021 for one apology tourHe has continued to step into the limelight with new music and a steady massive arena tour.

MRC Live and Alternative, which produces the BBMAs, explained the decision to book Wallen in an internal memo shared via billboard. According to the memo, the decision came after both internal discussions and discussions between MRC and Wallen’s team; MRC staff were reportedly convinced that Wallen was committed to improving and learning more and that the 2021 incident was not part of a common pattern of behavior. (billboard and Rolling Stone are both owned by the same company, PMRC, which was formed in 2020 through a merger between MRC and Penske Media Corporation.)

“We reject discrimination, harassment or racism of any kind,” MRC said. “We believe in treating everyone with dignity and respect. After a thorough review and intense discussions internally and with the artist team, in which we found a proven and ongoing commitment to meaningful work and outreach, we have extended an invitation to participate in this year’s show.”

Both Meg and Burna Boy will make their first appearances at the BBMAs this year, while the Red Hot Chili Peppers will return to the show for the first time in 23 years. The first cast for this year’s show also includes Rauw Alejandro and Latto, while additional artists will be announced in the coming weeks.

The Weeknd received the most nominations (17) for this year’s Billboard Music Awards, while Doja Cat and Olivia Rodrigo followed closely with 14 and 13 nominations, respectively.

The Weeknd, Doja and Rodrigo were all nominated for Top Artist alongside Drake and Taylor Swift. Doja Cat and Rodrigo will also compete against Adele, Dua Lipa and Swift for top female artist, while Weeknd will compete against Drake, Ed Sheeran, Justin Bieber and Lil Nas X for top male artist.

In the Top New Artist category, Rodrigo – who just won Best New Artist at the Grammys – goes up against Giveon, Masked Wolf, Pooh Shiesty and Kid Laroi. The Top Duo/Group category will feature BTS, Glass Animals, Imagine Dragons, Migos and Silk Sonic. (See a full list of nominees here.)

Billboard Music Awards nominees and winners are based on various factors, such as album and digital song sales, streaming numbers, radio airplay, and community engagement. The qualifying period for this year’s show is April 10, 2021 – March 26, 2022 and the above metrics will be tracked billboard and its various data partners. (billboard and Rolling Stone share the same parent company, PMRC.)

Other top nominees at the BBMAs this year include Drake, who competes in 11 categories and is already the most decorated artist in the show’s history with 29 wins. However, Swift has 25 wins, which means she could surpass Drake if she takes home enough of her seven awards (she’s even been nominated twice in the Top Country Album category for Taylor’s Versions of Red and Fearless). Bieber also has a chance to add to his 21 BBMA wins thanks to his 13 nominations this year.

The 2022 BBMAs will feature five new categories, including four based on billboard‘s global charts and one that measures viral songs: Top Billboard Global 200 Artist, Top Billboard Global Excl. US Artist, Top Billboard Global 200 Song and Top Billboard Global Excl US Song.

The BBMAs will be broadcast live on NBC on May 15 at 8pm ET/5pm PT (they will also stream live on Peacock). The show, open to the public, takes place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas; Tickets are now available.

This story was updated on 4/19/22 at 10:51am ET with cast members for the 2022 Billboard Music Awards. This story was updated on 4/29/22 at 2:00pm ET with new cast members and information about the decision to book Morgan Wallen. This story was updated 5/9/22 at 3:00pm ET with new cast members and information about Travis Scott and the Astroworld tragedy.

https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-news/the-weeknd-doja-cat-olivia-rodrigo-billboard-music-awards-nominees-1334791/ The Weeknd, Doja Cat and Olivia Rodrigo lead the Billboard Music Awards nominations

Brian Lowry

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