The beat goes on: Stars celebrate at the American Music Awards

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Kyla Brewer / TV Media
The Weeknd leads in nominations at The 48th Annual American Music Awards

The Weeknd leads in nominations at The 48th Annual American Music Awards

A lot has changed in the past several months, but one thing that never seems to change is the power of music to unite us. This year it seems especially important to find safe ways to celebrate, and the stars of the music industry are poised to do just that in the days ahead.

Join in the celebration as fans and recording artists celebrate outstanding achievements in music at The 48th Annual American Music Awards, airing Sunday, Nov. 22, on ABC. The ceremony may look a little — or a lot — different this year, but the awards will still celebrate a mix of genres, from rock and hip hop to country and pop.

There's a tie for top nominees for this year's awards. Both The Weeknd and Roddy Ricch scored eight nominations each. They'll go head-to-head for both Artist of the Year and Song of the Year. Ricch is also up for New Artist of the Year; Collaboration of the Year (with DaBaby); Favorite Song, Pop/Rock; Favorite Male Artist, Rap/Hip Hop; Favorite Album, Rap/Hip Hop; and Favorite Song, Rap/Hip Hop. Meanwhile, The Weeknd's other nominations include Favorite Song, Soul/R&B; Favorite Album, Soul/R&B; Favorite Male Artist, Soul/R&B; Favorite Album, Pop/Rock; Favorite Male Artist, Pop/Rock; and Favorite Music Video.

Those are impressive lists, but the two recording artists face some stiff competition from some of the music industry's heaviest hitters. Newcomer Megan Thee Stallion clocked in with the second-highest number of nominations for New Artist of the Year; Favorite Female Artist,  Rap/Hip Hop; Favorite Song, Rap/Hip Hop; and two for Collaboration of the Year — one for her work with Cardi B on "WAP" and the other for her work with Beyoncé on "Savage Remix."

Six different acts earned four nominations each this time around. DaBaby, Bad Bunny, Doja Cat, Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber and Taylor Swift could each take home as many as four awards. Swift and Bieber join The Weeknd and Ricch, along with Post Malone, in the Artist of the Year category. It's a category Swift knows well, as the singer is the current record holder for the most Artist of the Year wins with five. Should she win in any of the four categories in which she's nominated this year, she'll break her own record for the most AMA wins of all time. At the 2019 American Music Awards, Swift was honored as the Artist of the Decade and broke Michael Jackson's previous record of 25 AMA wins. She now has 29 American Music Awards to her credit and could walk away with even more before November is over.

Even Swift may find it difficult to compete with the rising popularity of R&B, hip hop and Latin music. In fact, the genres have been gaining such mainstream momentum that the American Music Awards have expanded its categories to reflect their current popularity and relevance. They include Favorite Male Artist and Favorite Female Artist for Rap/Hip Hop and Favorite Male Artist, Favorite Female Artist, Favorite Album and Favorite Song for Latin Music.

Taylor Swift is nominated for Artist of the Year

Taylor Swift is nominated for Artist of the Year

Other notable nominations include one for late rapper Juice WRLD, who died in December. He is up posthumously for Favorite Male Artist, Rap/Hip Hop. In the country genre, Dan Shay picked up three nominations: Favorite Song, Country; Favorite Duo or Group, Country; and Collaboration of the Year for "10,000 Hours" with Bieber. Former One Direction member Harry Styles could pick up his first solo award for Favorite Album, Pop/Rock.

Of course, watching awards shows isn't only about seeing your favorite stars accept awards. It's also an opportunity to see some of the world's most popular acts perform, and this year should be no different. In October, Billboard magazine put the call out to fans to see who should perform at this year's ceremony. The list of suggestions included The Weeknd, Taylor Swift, Roddy Ricch, BTS, Megan Thee Stallion, Billie Eilish, DaBaby and Bad Bunny among others.

By the end of October, it was announced that K-Pop sensation BTS would present the TV debut of "Life Goes On," the lead single of their upcoming album "Be (Deluxe Edition)" at this year's ceremony. The group is also slated to perform the hit "Dynamite" in what will be their second experience on the American Music Awards stage. BTS first took the AMA stage by storm in 2017, becoming the first Korean group to perform at the prestigious ceremony. At this year's ceremony, BTS is up for Favorite Social Artist and Favorite Duo or Group, Pop/Rock.

While further details about the 2020 AMAs were sparse at press time, it's likely the American Music Awards will follow suit with other recent awards shows and broadcast without a live audience. Jimmy Kimmel ("Jimmy Kimmel Live!") did his best as he hosted an audience-less Emmy Awards this fall, the MTV VMAs opted for a digital audience to enhance the atmosphere and the Billboard Awards fell flat with the often-awkward silences following its award presentations, despite the best efforts of host Kelly Clarkson ("The Voice").

The show must go on, as the old saying goes, and it will be interesting to see how the AMA producers and stars cope with the challenge of putting on a lively show in the era of COVID-19. Watch as some of the music industry's biggest stars honor their peers at The 48th Annual American Music Awards, airing Sunday, Nov. 22, on ABC.