By JONATHAN LANDRUM Jr.
AP Entertainment Writer
Olivia Rodrigo, Kanye West and Drake are already big winners before the Billboard Music Awards officially kicks off.
Rodrigo and West, known as Ye, both have taken home the most awards with six during a non-televised ceremony on Sunday. Rodrigo, who won best new artist, is a finalist in the top female artist category, which will be announced later in the show’s live broadcast.
Sean “Diddy” Combs will emcee the show, which is being broadcast live from the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas and will air live beginning at 8 p.m. Eastern on NBC and its Peacock streaming service.
Drake was named top artist, male artist, rap artist, rap male artist and rap album for “Certified Lover Boy.” The rapper extended his record as the most decorated winner in the history of the awards show with 34 wins.
Ye made his mark in the faith-based categories – again: The rapper won top Christian artist for the first time, but he claimed top gospel artist and gospel song for a third year in a row. He also received top gospel album for the second time.
The Kid LAROI became a first-time winner, taking home five wins for his song “Stay” with Justin Bieber – whose Billboard Music Awards win count rose to 26.
Doja Cat won top R&B artist and R&B female artist for the second consecutive year. She’ll compete for top R&B album and female artist.
Taylor Swift – who has the second most-ever award show wins with 29 – won four awards. Bad Bunny received two wins while R&B duo Silk Sonic, comprised of Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak, won their first-ever award for top R&B song through “Leave the Door Open.”
The show will include performances by Travis Scott, Ed Sheeran, Becky G and other artists who have enjoyed chart-topping success.
Becky G, who released the album “Esquemas” on Friday, will perform her hit song “MAMIII,” which topped the Billboard’s Hot Latin Songs chart. Sheeran will deliver a remote performance from Northern Ireland, where he is on tour.
Other acts taking the stage include Scott, who’s nominated in the dance/electronic music category, as well as Miranda Lambert, Meghan Thee Stallion, Morgan Wallen, and Grammy Awards darlings Silk Sonic.
Nominees are determined by Billboard chart rankings and winners are selected based on several criteria, including their album and digital song sales, airplay and streaming success and touring.