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AC/DC nabbed three nominations for the 2021 Billboard Music Awards, which is great. Less great is their…let’s just say “interesting” competition.

The hard rock icons were nominated for “Top Duo/Group,” “Top Rock Artist” and “Top Rock Album.” The full nominations for those categories are as follows:

Top Duo/Group
Dan + Shay
Maroon 5

Top Rock Artist
Five Finger Death Punch
Machine Gun Kelly
twenty one pilots

Top Rock Album
AC/DC, Power Up
Miley Cyrus, Plastic Hearts
Glass Animals, Dreamland
Machine Gun Kelly, Tickets to My Downfall
Bruce Springsteen, Letter to You

So, that’s a lot to unpack, and it’s difficult to really determine the entry point on this mess, but here we go.

As far as “Top Duo/Group” goes, it is a general field category which means it isn’t genre-specific, so BTS being nominated technically isn’t wrong but it certainly feels that way. Really, the same can be said for AJR, Dan + Shay and Maroon 5, which are all acts that could only dream of having a career like AC/DC.

When it comes to “Top Rock Artist”…you know what? The same reasoning regarding “Top Duo/Group” can be applied here, too. Sure, those acts are considered rock, but seeing them alongside Acca Dacca just feels wrong.

Finally, there’s “Top Rock Album.” Oh, boy…well, Bruce Springsteen being nominated is good, as was his Letter to You album. As for the others: While Miley Cyrus’ Plastic Hearts album did feature Joan Jett and Billy Idol, calling it a “Top Rock Album” is just a mistake. I don’t even have anything clever to say about Glass Animals, so I won’t bother trying.

And then, there’s Machine Gun Kelly, the latest rapper who’s trying to play rockstar, because even though rock isn’t considered to be the mainstream, everyone still wants to be a rockstar. Sure, he played Tommy Lee in The Dirt, but that doesn’t mean we’re just going to let him into the genre. In closing, here’s MGK getting power bombed off a large stage by WWE superstar Kevin Owens on an episode of Monday Night Raw.

The Billboard Music Awards are determined by a given artist’s success on the outlets various charts over a calendar year. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out who’s going to win any given award, and the suspense around the ceremony makes the suspense around pretty much any other award show seem almost Hitchcock-ian.

However, if you feel like just throwing away two hours of time, the 2021 Billboard Music Awards will be taking place Sunday, May 23 at 8 PM on NBC.


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Erica Banas is a rock/classic rock news blogger who's well-versed in etiquette and extraordinarily nice. #TransRightsAreHumanRights