Beyonce and Justin Timberlake have each received seven nominations at the MTV Video Music Awards, including best female and male artist of the year.
Rapper Kanye West and R&B star Rihanna are shortlisted in five categories.
The UK's Lily Allen, whose US work visa was cancelled by officials on Sunday, will go head to head with Amy Winehouse in the best newcomer category.
Winehouse, the Foo Fighters and Rihanna are due to perform at the ceremony, to be held in Las Vegas on 9 September.
Last year Colombian singer Shakira had seven nominations but won just one award.
The event, held in New York, saw newcomers US rock band Panic! at the Disco beat top-selling artists to win the coveted video of the year with their song I Write Sins Not Tragedies.
This year, Beyonce's Irreplaceable is up for video of the year alongside Timberlake's What Goes Around ... Comes Around, which featured actress Scarlett Johansson.
Allen (l) was held in Los Angeles ahead of Tuesday's announcement
Other nominees for the event's main award include Amy Winehouse's Rehab, Kanye West's Stronger and Rihanna's Umbrella.
Umbrella, which topped the UK chart for 10 straight weeks, is also up for "monster single of the year".
Despite her visa difficulties, Allen was able to attend Tuesday's nominations announcement at the Palms Hotel-Casino in Las Vegas.
In a statement, the singer said she was "trying everything I can to sort this out" and that she intended to honour US touring commitments in September.