The American Music Awards nominations were announced on Tuesday (October 9, 2012), pitting R&B star Rihanna against rapper Nicki Minaj in four categories The pair led the nominations, edging out pop sensations One Direction and Justin Bieber, reports Reuters

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On paper, Rihanna and Nicki Minaj hold the most nominations, though it's the former artist who will no doubt be the happier of the two, having been given a nod in the most prestigious category: artist of the year. The Barbadian goes up against Bieber, Katy Perry, Maroon 5 and rapper Drake for the award, with every chance of scooping the prize come the ceremony on November 18, 2012. Minaj, who is creating waves as a judge on American Idol, secured nominations for Female Pop/Rock Artist and a couple of nods for album 'Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded.' Last year's big winners, Taylor Swift and Adele, both scored three awards each, with the latter certain to the take the award for 'Adult Contemporary Artist' in a weak category also featuring Kelly Clarkson and Train.

Though many of the prizes on offer are a formality, the battle for Best New Artist appears to be an intriguing affair. R&B singer J.Cole goes up against indie-pop band Fun, singer-songwriter Goyte, Carly Rae Jepson and One Direction.