Ed Sheeran, Kendrick Lamar and Bruno Mars top Billboard Music Awards nominations
All three have received 15 nods for prizes at the showpiece American music award ceremony.
Ed Sheeran, Kendrick Lamar and Bruno Mars lead the way in the nominations for the 2018 Billboard Music Awards, with each receiving 15 nods.
All three are up for Best Artist and will compete with Drake, who has nine nominations, and Taylor Swift, who has five.
British singer-songwriter Sheeran has also been nominated for Top Male Artist, Top Touring Artist and Top Hot 100 Artist. He faces stiff competition for all of these awards from Bruno Mars, who won in all six of his categories at the Grammy Awards in January.
Fresh from becoming the first rapper to be awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Music for his album Damn, Kendrick Lamar’s fourth studio album is in the running for Top Selling Album, Top Rap Album and Top Billboard 200 Album.
Beyonce has been left off the list for Top Female Artist, which will be contested by Camila Cabello, Cardi B, Halsey, Demi Lovato and Swift. However, the Coachella headliner does face a showdown with SZA and Rihanna for Top R&B Artist.
Elsewhere, Irish rock band U2’s live performances were rewarded with nods for Top Touring Artist and Top Rock Tour. They must overcome Guns N’ Roses, who have wowed crowds around the world with a reunited line-up of singer Axl Rose, guitarist Slash and bassist Duff McKagan.
Hard rock band Linkin Park received a nomination for Best Rock Artist following the death of singer Chester Bennington last July. Meanwhile, 68-year-old singer Lionel Richie proved his staying power with a nomination in the category for Top R&B Tour.
The ceremony for the 2018 Billboard Music Awards will take place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on Sunday May 20.