Usher tops music award nominations

— R&B; casanova Usher, whose album "Confessions" steamed up the charts with songs about sex, affairs and breakups, received a leading four nominations Tuesday for the American Music Awards.

Many categories included last year's winners -- Toby Keith, Tim McGraw and Linkin Park -- and previous nominees Beyonce, Avril Lavigne, Norah Jones and R. Kelly.

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AP Photo

Producer Dick Clark, right, directs singer Kelly Clarkson, center, and Nick Lachey to photographers after they announced nominees for the annual American Music Awards in Beverly Hills, Calif. The awards are to be presented Nov. 14.

Meanwhile, rapper-producer Kanye West, whose album "The College Dropout" combines gospel, rap and braggadocio, had three nominations, the second most after Usher.

Usher was nominated as favorite male artist in both the pop/rock and soul/R&B; categories, and his "Confessions" also has best album bids in both groups.

In the hip-hop/rap class, West was up for favorite male artist, "The College Dropout" got a mention for best album, and his third bid came for the cross-genre award as best newcomer.

Meanwhile, OutKast -- the big winner at February's Grammys -- was nominated for best rap/hip-hop group, and its Grammy-winning "Speakerboxxx/The Love Below" got a bid for best rap album.

The awards will be presented during a Nov. 14 ceremony that will be shown live on ABC. Talk show host Jimmy Kimmel will host it.

The nominations are based on sales figures and radio play. Winners are selected by a survey of about 20,000 listeners.

American Music Award nominees

Pop/Rock

Male Artist: Josh Groban, Lenny Kravitz, Michael McDonald, Usher.

Female Artist: Sheryl Crow, Avril Lavigne, Jessica Simpson.

Band, Duo or Group: Evanescence, Nickelback, OutKast.

Album: "Feels Like Home," Norah Jones; "In This Skin," Jessica Simpson; "Confessions," Usher.

Soul/R&B;:

Male Artist: R. Kelly, Prince, Ruben Studdard, Usher.

Female Artist: Beyonce, Janet Jackson, Alicia Keys.

Album: "The Diary of Alicia Keys," Alicia Keys; "Musicology," Prince; "Confessions," Usher.

Adult Contemporary

Artist: Harry Connick Jr., Sheryl Crow, Norah Jones.

Country

Male Artist: Kenny Chesney, Alan Jackson, Toby Keith, Tim McGraw.

Female Artist: Martina McBride, Reba McEntire, Gretchen Wilson.

Band, Duo or Group: Brooks & Dunn, Lonestar, Rascal Flatts.

Album: "When the Sun Goes Down," Kenny Chesney; "Shock'n Y'All," Toby Keith; "Martina," Martina McBride.

Rap/Hip-Hop

Male Artist: Jay-Z, Juvenile, Lil' Flip, Kanye West.

Band, Duo or Group: G-Unit, OutKast, Ying Yang Twins

Album: "The Black Album," Jay-Z; "Speakerboxxx/The Love Below," OutKast; "The College Dropout," Kanye West.

Latin Music

Artist: Marc Anthony, Intocable, Paulina Rubio.

Alternative Music

Artist: Incubus, Jet, Linkin Park.

Contemporary Inspirational

Artist: Steven Curtis Chapman, MercyMe, Third Day.

Breakthrough

New Artist: Maroon 5, Kanye West, Gretchen Wilson.

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