Ludacris is back

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First Posted: 4/14/2015

If you are creating a seating chart for the 2015 Billboard Music Awards, there are two artists that should be assigned prime real estate near the stage: Taylor Swift and Sam Smith. Finalists were revealed for the BBMAs last week, with the songstress and crooner racking up 14 and 13 entries respectively.

The 2015 Billboard Music Awards air at 8 p.m. Sunday, May 17 on ABC from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Ludacris will return as host, but this time he’ll don the co-host title and share the stage with model Chrissy Teigen.

“I learned that we were in Vegas and that we should’ve been doing a lot more partying, so that’s exactly what we’re going to incorporate this year,” Luda, nee Chris Bridges, told me after appearing on ABC’s “Good Morning America.” The hip hop artist was joined by Fall Out Boy’s Pete Wentz to announce some of the categories, and promised that this year he would push the envelope further. “We’re in Vegas. What better place to push the envelope?”

And of course Ludacris will do so with the aforementioned Teigen. Her husband, singer John Legend, is featured on a bonus track of Luda’s new album, “Ludaversal.”

“I think people haven’t seen her personality,” the artist said of his partner-in-crime. “I think they’re going to be surprised because she is extremely funny and what better way to add a little spice to the hosting this year?”

Side note: Ludacris’s voice is as distinct as they come, to the point where when he adds a little emphasis on the word “spice,” you expect him to drop a rhyme in the next sentence.

And for what it’s worth, Luda dropped a few predictions on us as well – picking Smith to win Top Artist and Top Male Artist, while tabbing Swift for Top Female Artist. The two lead all finalists in entries and will go head-to-head in eight different categories.

Finalists are determined by a number of key metrics and interactions through Billboard, including sales, airplay, streams and more. The entries reflect data reported between March 10, 2014 and March 8, 2015.

In addition to naming some of the finalists on “GMA,” Wentz announced that Fall Out Boy would perform “Uma Thurman” alongside soon-to-be tour mate Wiz Khalifa. FOB and Wiz will co-headline the “Boys Of Zummer” tour, which stops at Toyota Pavilion on Montage Mountain July 4.

The Chicago-quartet is also a finalist in two BBMA categories.