Teen phenom Olivia Rodrigo leads American Music Award nominations

Olivia Rodrigo attends the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures gala in Los Angeles, California, US on Sept 25, 2021.
PHOTO: Reuters

LOS ANGELES - Pop newcomer Olivia Rodrigo led nominations on Thursday (Oct 28) for the 2021 American Music Awards, where she will compete for the top prize against fan favorites like Taylor Swift, BTS and Drake.

Rodrigo, 18, who burst onto the charts in January, got seven nods including artist of the year, best new artist, and favourite pop song for her debut single, Drivers License.

Canadian R&B singer The Weeknd followed with six, while Doja Cat, reggaeton star Bad Bunny and first-time nominee R&B singer Giveon had five apiece.

Billie Eilish was notably absent from the nominations list despite releasing her second album in July. Kanye West, whose Donda album had the biggest first-week sales of 2021, got just one nod, for favourite gospel artist.

Rodrigo, The Weeknd, K-Pop band BTS, rapper Drake and Ariana Grande will face off for artist of the year against Swift, who last year won the title for a record sixth time.

The fan-voted event, one of the largest music award shows in the United States, will take place in Los Angeles on Nov 21.

The nominations are based on performances on the Billboard music charts, streaming and album sales, radio play and social media engagement.

First-time nominees, including rappers Saweetie, 24kGoldn and the late Pop Smoke, dominated the list. Silk Sonic, the new R&B duo formed in March by Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak, got three nods including favourite pop duo or group.

BTS, whose single Butter, ruled the Billboard singles charts for 10 weeks this past summer, will compete in three categories - artist of the year, favourite pop group, and favourite pop song.