50 Cent leads finalists for Billboard Awards -- The rapper is up for six prizes, with Beyonce, R. Kelly, Sean Paul, and the Dixie Chicks close behind

By Gary Susman
Updated November 27, 2003 at 05:00 AM EST

50 Cent could hit the jackpot next week in Las Vegas. The rapper is the leading contender among the finalists for the 2003 Billboard Awards, the list of which the music trade publication announced on Monday. He’s up for six prizes: Artist of the Year, Album of the Year (”Get Rich or Die Tryin”’), R&B/Hip-Hop artist of the year, Rap Artist of the Year, Hot 100 Male Artist of the Year, and Hot 100 Single of the Year (”In da Club”).

Up for five trophies each are R. Kelly and Beyoncé. Kelly is competing against 50 Cent in the Artist, R&B/Hip-Hop Artist, Hot 100 Male Artist, and Hot 100 Single categories (his tune is ”Ignition”), and he’s also up for Hot 100 Producer of the Year. Beyoncé is vying for New Artist of the Year, R&B/Hip-Hop New Artist of the Year, and Hot 100 Female Artist of the Year, while her track ”Crazy in Love” is up for Hot 100 Single of the Year and a new category, Digital Track of the Year.

Sean Paul and the Dixie Chicks are both nominated for four awards. The dancehall performer hopes to walk off with trophies for Artist of the Year, Rap Artist of the Year, Hot 100 Male Artist of the Year, and Hot 100 Single of the Year (”Get Busy”). The Chicks are hopefuls for Album of the Year (”Home”), Duo/Group of the Year, Country Artist of the Year, and Hot 100 Duo/Group of the Year.

Others up for multiple prizes are Chingy, Justin Timberlake, and 3 Doors Down (nominated for three awards each) and matchbox twenty, Norah Jones, Shania Twain, Aaliyah, Floetry, Linkin Park, and Audioslave (two each).

The awards, selected according to contenders’ rankings on the various Billboard charts published from Dec. 2002 to Nov. 2003, will be presented Dec. 10 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Fox will air the ceremony live.