TORONTO — Shawn Mendes is giving fellow Canadian artist Drake some stiff competition at the iHeartRadio MMVAs.
The 19-year-old pop singer from Pickering, Ont., is the frontrunner this year with eight nominations — racking up one more nod than the Toronto rapper.
Both performers will face-off in some categories at the televised awards show on Aug. 26.
Mendes and Drake are in the running for artist of the year, where they’re competing with the likes of Camilla Cabello, Cardi B, Ed Sheeran and Post Malone.
Other major nominees this year include Alessia Cara with five nominations while Sheeran and electronic dance producer Marshmello have four nods each. Singer Halsey has three nominations.
The MMVAs will be hosted by Internet-famed rapper Awkwafina, who appears in “Ocean’s 8” and the upcoming big-screen adaptation of the book “Crazy Rich Asians.”
A number of changes were introduced by organizers of the MMVAs this year, including a decision to revamp the event into a late-August shindig after it spent over a decade marking the start the summer season.
The shift gave them a prime opportunity to plunge into the perennial debate over which popular track should be crowned the song of the summer.
They’ve introduced the new category with a stacked list that will be instantly recognizable to Top 40 radio listeners, including Bebe Rexha and Florida Georgia Line’s “Meant to Be,” Cardi B’s “I Like It,” and “Body,” a song produced by London, Ont.-raised production duo Loud Luxury.
Other nominees in the song of the summer category include Marshmello and Anne-Marie’s “Friends,” Zedd and Maren Morris’ “The Middle” and Drake’s “Nice for What,” a choice that may baffle his fans since the song “In My Feelings” exploded in popularity over the summer driven by viral dance challenge that’s spread on social media.
The MMVAs, which will air on Much and CTV and stream through various Bell Media platforms, are set to feature performances by Mendes, Cara, Halsey and Meghan Trainor.
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David Friend, The Canadian Press