After being postponed due to the coronavirus, the 2020 Billboard Music Awards finally went down last night from the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles, and it was quite a night, even if it went on without an audience.
Post Malone went into the show as the artist to beat with 16 nominations, and he wound up winning a whopping nine of them, including Top Artist, Top Male Artist, Top Hot 100 Artist, Top Billboard 200 Artist and Top Streaming Songs Artist. Billie Eilish was also a big winner taking home three awards, Top Billboard 200 Album for “When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?,” Top Female Artist, and Top New Artist. Lil Nas X’s“Old Town Road,” featuring BillyRay Cyrus, was also a big winner, nabbing four trophies, including Top Hot 100 Song, Top Streaming Song, Top Selling Song and Top Rap Song. (Click here for a complete list of last night's winners.)
- Garth Brooks was honored with this year’s Billboard Icon Award, which was presented to him by Cher(looking better than ever). Before actually accepting his award, Garth performed a medley of his biggest hits including “Thunder Rolls,” “Calling Baton Rouge,” “The River,” “Standing Outside the Fire,” “That Summer,” “Dive Bar,” “Friends in Low Places” (with a recorded audience singing along), and “The Dance.” Then a tearful Garth accepted his award telling Cher that winning an award she got makes him feel “cool,” which is a “word I’d never use to describe me.” He thanked God, his wife TrishaYearwood, his daughters, and fans, adding, “thank you for my life.”
- Also receiving a special honor was Run The Jewels’ Killer Mikewho was awarded the first-ever Billboard Change Maker Award for using his voice to highlight police brutality, inequality in Black communities, and race relations. "Kids out there that sing and dance: What you do is worthy," he shared in his speech. "You are artists and your goal should be to express the very reality around you in the very most beautiful or ugliest of ways you see fit. Kids who run and dance and sing and jump and all that, all the things they tell you don't matter -- you matter more than you know." NBC and the BBMAs then announced they were depositing $1 million to support Killer Mike’s Greenwood, a digital banking platform which supports black owned banks and businesses for consumers.
- Voting was on a lot of people’s minds last night, with Billie reminding fans to vote, andLizzowearing a “Vote” dress. She delivered a powerful speech about “suppression,” reminding for those who feel suppressed, “they're afraid of your power. There's power in who you are. There's power in your voice,” adding, “So whether it's through music, protest, or your right to vote, use your power, use your voice and refuse to be suppressed."
Of course what everyone tunes in for his the performances, and there certainly were some great ones last night, including:
- HostKelly Clarksonopened the show with a powerful performance ofWhitney Houston’s version of Steve Winwood’s“Higher Love,” alongside Pentatonix and Sheila E.
- Sia, in a huge flowing pink dress, with her usual face-covering wig with yellow bow, performed her latest single “Courage.”
- Kane Brown was joined bySwae LeeandKhalidfor their collaboration “Be Like That.”
- Alicia Keys looked fierce in a full glittering white bodysuit, with bangs. She also sounded fierce performing "Love Looks Better" for her first performance on the award show since 2012.
- Luke Combs got dressed up in a suit and no hat and treated fans to somber performance of “Better Together,” accompanied only by a piano.
- Post Malone’s performance was beamed in from a super secret location in Los Angeles, which appeared to be some sort of industrial plant. He performed “Circles,” and then was joined byTyla Yawehfor “Tommy Lee.”
- Brandy performed “Borderline” and brought the soul for “No Tomorrow” with Ty Dolla $ign, and wrapped things with “Almost Doesn’t Count.”
- John Legend shared a special performance of “Never Break,” which he dedicated to his wife Chrissy Tiegen. As we told you, the couple sadly lost their third child earlier this month.
- Bad Bunny, who was named Top Latin Artist, performed “Yo Perreo Sola,” with his performance featuring roller-skating male dancers in tutus.
- Doja Cat channeled a Broadway star in a 1920s-era outfit for a medley of her hits, including “Juicy,” “Say So,” and “Like That.”
- Saint Jhn performed his global hit “Roses.”
- The BBMAs honored the late Eddie Van Halen by showing Van Halen’s2015 performance of “Panama.”
- Demi Lovato took the BBMA stage sitting at a piano for the world premiere of her new Trump protest song “Commander In Chief.”TMZ reports that when Demi performed the song the word "Vote" was displayed across the video screen, but when "Billboard" aired it they didn't show it, focusing on her face instead. Sources say the network didn't air it because since the song slammed Trump, they felt it was a call to vote him out.
- BTS, who won the Top Social Artist for the fourth year in a row, once again performed their hit “Dynamite,” from South Korea.
- The show wrapped with this year’s throwback performance.En Vogue, celebrating their 30th anniversary, rocked the house with a rendition of their classic “Free Your Mind,” with images of Black Lives Matter protests projected on the screen behind them.