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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Pop stars Beyonce and Lady Gaga on Tuesday each earned nine nominations for next month's MTV Video Music Awards, more than any other artist, while Britney Spears continued her musical comeback with seven nods.
All three will compete for the honor of video of the year, with Beyonce earning a bid for "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It), Lady Gaga for "Poker Face" and Britney Spears for "Womanizer."
They square off against rappers Kanye West with "Love Lockdown" and Eminem for "We Made You" in the video of the year race. Honors will be given out at New York's Radio City Music Hall on September 13 in a show hosted by British prankster Russell Brand.
Beyonce has enjoyed a hugely successful solo career since leaving the all-female group "Destiny's Child." Her third solo album, "I Am ... Sasha Fierce," had the No. 1 hit "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)."
"I've been blessed this year to have 'Single Ladies' become a video people really connected with and responded to," Beyonce said in a statement released by MTV.
The annual awards are one of the cable TV channel's most-watched programs, as much for the celebrity antics and performances as the awards themselves.
At the height of Spears' early career in 2003, she and Madonna famously kissed on the show. Later her personal life veered out of control and her father took control of her business affairs. But recently she has rebounded.
Spears is currently on tour and her video for the song "Circus" was nominated for best choreography.
New Yorker Lady Gaga's 2008 debut album, "The Fame," included the hit single "Just Dance" and was among the top five CDs in countries including the United States, Britain and Germany.
"Poker Face" earned Lady Gaga not only a video of the year nomination but also a nod for best female video, a category that pits her against Katy Perry with "Hot N Cold," Beyonce with "Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)," Kelly Clarkson with "My Life Would Suck Without You," Taylor Swift with "You Belong With Me" and Pink with "So What."
Lady Gaga thanked MTV "for being our video flagship, and for supporting this bunch of inspired kids, who love to get wasted and make art, together."
Eminem ("We Made You") and Kanye West ("Love Lockdown") will square off in the best male video category against hip hop star Jay-Z with "D.O.A. (Death of Auto-Tune)," rapper T.I. (featuring Rihanna) with his "Live Your Life" and Ne-Yo with "Miss Independent."
First-time nominees include U.S. rockers Kings of Leon as well as rappers Drake and Asher Roth. Both rappers were nominated in the best new artist category.
Other categories include best hip hop video, best pop video and best rock video.
Editing by Bob Tourtellotte and Xavier Briand