Lorde, Justin Timberlake, Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis lead the 2014 Billboard Music Awards nominations.

Atop the pack of nominees are Las Vegas rockers Imagine Dragons and 17-year-old New Zealand pop prodigy Lorde, who both scored 12 nods.

Imagine Dragons and Lorde dominated radio last year with inescapable hits. The quintet’s Grammy-winning smash Radioactive made Billboard history in February after spending a record-breaking 77 weeks on the trade publication’s Hot 100 chart and Lorde’s biting, yet ubiquitous, hit Royals nabbed her the honour of being the youngest artiste to win song of the year at the Grammys.

The two will square off in nine categories, including Hot 100 artiste, digital song, radio songs artiste, top rock artiste and rock album. Lorde is also up for new artiste against Capital Cities, Ariana Grande and Passenger.

Timberlake scored 11 nods, including top artiste and Billboard 200 album for his comeback opus, The 20/20 Experience (the two-part album even competes with itself in the R&B album category). Perry is up for 10, including top artiste, top female and Hot 100 artiste, and breakout Seattle hip-hop duo Macklemore & Ryan Lewis are in the running for eight trophies.

Cyrus, whose transition from Disney princess to urban pop provocateur has yet to pay off with any actual awards, could see her luck reversed on the Billboard stage. The headline-grabber is up for nine, including top artiste, top female, Hot 100 artiste and top streaming artiste.

Finalists for Billboard’s Milestone award, which was launched last year to honour musical ingenuity and innovation (Justin Bieber won the inaugural fan-voted award to mostly jeers) are Imagine Dragons, John Legend, Luke Bryan, OneRepublic, Ellie Goulding and Carrie Underwood. The six finalists will be whittled down to three and fans logging their votes online can also enter a contest to present the honour alongside Kelly Rowland during the telecast.

Other notable nominees include Beyonce, whose surprise album is up for a slew of honours, Pharrell Williams, Robin Thicke, Luke Bryan and Eminem. The 2014 Billboard Music Awards will be held at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on May 18. – Los Angeles Times/McClatchy-Tribune Information Services