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Hillsong, Kendrick Lamar Early Winners At Billboard Awards

Australian Christian group Hillsong Worship has joined Kendrick Lamar, Bruno Mars and Ed Sheeran as early winners at the Billboard Music Awards in Las Vegas.

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The main ceremony is scheduled to begin at the MGM casino's Grand Garden Arena on Sunday night (10am AEST Monday), but organisers announced the winners of numerous categories that will not feature in the main TV broadcast. 

Hillsong Worship won the top Christian song category for What A Beautiful Name.

Hillsong Worship and another offshoot group from Sydney's globally popular Hillsong Church, Hillsong UNITED, were vying against each other in two other Billboard categories, top Christian artist and Christian album, but missed out.

MercyMe won top Christian artist and Alan Jackson took the Christian album award for Precious Memories Collection. 

Lamar, Mars and Sheeran tied for the most overall nominations with 15 each.

Lamar took the early lead with six pre-ceremony awards, including top Billboard 200 album, top rap artist, top rap male artist and top rap album.

Mars follows Lamar with five early wins, then Imagine Dragons and Sheeran with four each.

Mars won for top R&B artist, R&B male artist, R&B tour, R&B album and R&B song.

Imagine Dragons received wins for top duo/group, rock artist, rock album and rock song.

Sheeran goes into the night's main ceremony with wins for top Hot 100 artist, song sales artist, radio songs artist and radio Song.

The Billboard nominees and winners are based on key fan interactions with music, including album and digital song sales, streaming, radio airplay, touring and social engagement based on the chart period of April 8, 2017 through March 31 this year. 

AAP

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