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Taylor Swift, Michael Jackson dominate American Music Awards nominations [UPDATED]

October 13, 2009 | 11:40 am


A fast-rising country superstar and a fallen pop icon dominate the nominees for the 2009 American Music Awards. Taylor Swift, who was the bestselling artist of 2008, leads all nominees for the fan-voted gala with six, including recognition in the artist of the year field. Yet in major categories she'll be up against sentimental favorite Michael Jackson, who has dominated sales and headlines since his death June 25.

Jackson received five nominations, including artist of the year, favorite pop/rock album, favorite soul/R&B artist and favorite soul/R&B album. Unlike the industry-voted Grammy Awards, the American Music Awards base their nominations on sales and radio data from Nielsen. Expect the American Music Awards to play out as a tribute of sorts to Jackson, allowing his 2003 greatest hits package "Number Ones" to score a nod for favorite album, where it will compete against Lady Gaga's "The Fame" and Swift's "Fearless."

The American Music Awards will air live for the East Coast from downtown's Nokia Theatre on ABC at 8 p.m. Nov. 22. The awards are determined by onling voting from fans.

After Jackson's death, his "Number Ones" surged to the top of the charts. It sold more than 440,000 copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan, in the 10 days following the star's death. It may very well end up as 2009's top-selling album. Jackson was featured heavily on the first-ever American Music Awards broadcast in 1974, and has a total of 20 American Music Awards trophies as a solo artist, including one for artist of the century, according to an AMA spokeswoman.

In 2009, SoundScan reports that Jackson's "Number Ones" has moved a total of 1.9 million copies. Swift's "Fearless" ranks as the year's second-best selling album thus far, having sold 1.8 million copies.

Swift remains on track for a blessed award season. After securing an entertainer of the year nomination at the Country Music Awards, Swift snared American Music Award nominations in major country and pop categories. In addition to artist of the year and favorite album, she's up for favorite country female artist, as well as favorite pop/rock female artist.

Competing with Swift and Jackson for album of the year are Southern rock act Kings of Leon, pop star Lady Gaga and rapper Eminem. Completely left out of all major nominations, however, is Kanye West, who faced heavy industry and fan criticism after interrupting an acceptance speech from Swift at the recent MTV Video Music Awards. The rapper was a top performer on last year's telecast, where he unveiled "Heartless" on national television, but his "808s & Heartbreak" failed to receive any recognition in the rap, R&B or pop fields.

Up for favorite soul/R&B album is Beyoncé's "I Am ... Sasha Fierce, " Black Eyed Peas' "The E.N.D." and Jackson's "Number Ones." In the rap/hip-hop field, Eminem's "Relapse" will compete against Jay-Z's recently released "Blueprint 3" and T.I.'s "Paper Trail."

Kings of Leon have had a breakout sales year for 2008's "Only by the Night," which has sold 1.4 million copies to date, according to Nielsen SoundScan, and the act was rewarded with three nominations. In addition to its artist of the year nod, the act will compete for favorite alternative rock artist with Green Day and Shinedown.

In the country field, Swift's "Fearless" is up against "Unstoppable" from Rascal Flatts and the Zac Brown Band's "The Foundation." Teen star Miley Cyrus was represented twice in the favorite soundtrack category, once for "Hannah Montana: The Movie" and once for "Hannah Montana 3," the latest television soundtrack. But Cyrus will be challenged by the soundtrack to movie phenom "Twilight."

The American Music Awards share downtown's L.A. Live complex with the Grammy Awards. The latter will announce its nominees in prime time shortly following the American Music Awards on Dec. 2.

-- Todd Martens

Photo: Taylor Swift. Credit: Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times

Complete Nominations for the 2009 American Music Awards

Kings of Leon
Taylor Swift
Lady Gaga
Michael Jackson

POP/ROCK -- Favorite Male Artist
Michael Jackson

POP/ROCK -- Favorite Female Artist
Lady Gaga
Taylor Swift

POP/ROCK -- Favorite Band, Duo or Group
The Black Eyed Peas
Kings of Leon

POP/ROCK -- Favorite Album
"The Fame" -- Lady Gaga
"Number Ones" -- Michael Jackson
"Fearless" -- Taylor Swift

COUNTRY -- Favorite Male Artist
Jason Aldean
Darius Rucker
Keith Urban

COUNTRY -- Favorite Female Artist
Reba McEntire
Taylor Swift
Carrie Underwood

COUNTRY -- Favorite Band, Duo or Group
Rascal Flatts
Zac Brown Band

COUNTRY -- Favorite Album
"Unstoppable" -- Rascal Flatts
"Fearless" -- Taylor Swift
"The Foundation" -- Zac Brown Band

RAP/HIP-HOP -- Favorite Male Artist

RAP/HIP-HOP - Favorite Album
"Relapse" -- Eminem
"Blueprint 3" -- Jay-Z
"Paper Trail" -- T.I.

SOUL/R&B - Favorite Male Artist
Jamie Foxx
Michael Jackson

SOUL/R&B -- Favorite Female Artist
Keyshia Cole
Keri Hilson

SOUL/R&B -- Favorite Band, Duo or Group
The Black Eyed Peas
Mary Mary

SOUL/R&B -- Favorite Album
"I Am...Sasha Fierce" -- Beyoncé
"The E.N.D." -- the Black Eyed Peas
"Number Ones" -- Michael Jackson

SOUNDTRACKS -- Favorite Album
"Hannah Montana: The Movie"
"Hannah Montana 3"
"Twilight Soundtrack"

ALTERNATIVE ROCK -- Favorite Artist
Green Day
Kings of Leon

Jason Mraz
Taylor Swift

LATIN -- Favorite Artist
Luis Fonsi
Wisin y Yandel

Jeremy Camp
Brandon Heath
Mary Mary

UPDATED: This post was updated at 12:38 p.m. to add a full list of nominees. Additionally, originally this post stated Michael Jackson won 22 American Music Awards. As a solo artist, Jackson has 20 AMA trophies to his name, according to an AMA spokeswoman.