The biggest stars of the music industry were out in force yet again this week for another pinnacle event in the annual calendar, the Billboard Awards 2020, but as with so many other events this year, the usual festivities took a slightly different form. With the live performance opportunities currently halted for many artists in the entertainment industry, these events are keeping the love for performance and music alive and sending a message of hope from the iconic stars.
The event took place on Wednesday 14th October in Los Angeles at the Dolby Auditorium, having already been delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic from its original scheduled date of 29th April 2020. The host for the evening was former American-Idol winner Kelly Clarkson, age 38, who has hosted the show for the past three years. Looking stunning, over the course of the evening the singer remained glamorous as ever in 7 noted outfit changes creating awe inspiring looks. Kelly opened the show with her rendition of Higher Love, a Whitney Houston classic, with other performances of the evening coming from Alicia Keys, Garth Brooks, Brandy and Doja Cat.
Post Malone was celebrated as the biggest winner of the evening, awarded Top Male Artist and Artist of the Year amongst his 9 awards, of which 8 were delivered in style via a cart pushed by Kelly towards the star whilst joking “I can’t touch you, so I had to wheel it out”. Khalid received the second highest number of awards for the evening, cleaning up all the awards within the R&B category including Top Artist, Top Song and Top Album.
Lil Nas X and Billy Ray Cyrus both took home four awards on behalf of their collaboration Old Town Road (Remix). Kanye West was also a winner of four awards in the Christian and gospel categories accepting Top Gospel Album, Top Christian Album for Jesus is King, Top Gospel Artist and Top Gospel Song, with Lauren Daigle winning Top Christian Artist.
Other noted winners of the evening were Billie Eilesh winning Top Billboard 200 Album for her latest offering When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?, Top Female Artist and Top New Artist.
BTS were the winners of The Top Social Artist Award, an acclaimed award as it is voted for by fans and which they are honored to have won for the 4th consecutive year. Performing ‘Dynamite’ on the evening to signify their first number one hit on the Billboard Hot One Hundred and the success of their first song sung in English.
Looking at the Country category, Luke Combs won Top Country Artist for the second year in a row as well as Top Country Album. George Strait accepted the award for Top Country Tour and Justin Bieber took the award for Top Country Song for his collaboration with Dan and Shay, 10,000 Hours.
In the Rock categories Panic! At The Disco won Top Rock Song for a second year running and the band Tool took the award for Best Rock Album.
Other winners included The Chainsmokers accepting Top Dance/Electronic Artist for the fourth year in a row, Rapper Cardi B won Top Rap Female Artist for the third year in a row, Bad Bunny won Top Latin Artist for the first time, and Pink won Top Touring Artist.
The evening also played host to a number of performances with a message, such as Demi Lovatos ‘Commander in Chief’, highlighting the importance of voting in the upcoming Presidential election next month. Other artists sharing a message were Lizzo who during her acceptance of the Top Song Sales Artist Prize, wore a dress inscribed with the word “VOTE”. Also, as part of her acceptance speech Billie Eilish enforced the message saying “Please vote, please wear a mask, please wash your hands and be safe”.
John Legend has also been praised for his emotional performance of his song ‘Never Break’. After the sad news of the loss of their third baby at the beginning of the month, John dedicated the performance to his wife Chrissy Tiegan. Set to be a tear jerking performance, Kelly announced the song with a message to the family; “Our hearts go out to you both in this very difficult time and I’m thankful that you continue to share your light and your talent with all of us for the very special performance, possibly my favorite of the night”.
The evening also paid tribute to Eddie Van Halen, iconic guitarist and founder of the group Van Halen, who sadly passed away 6th October. The tribute to the guitar legend took a unique format, with the star’s guitar solely taking center stage and projected in the background was footage of his last performance at the Billboard Awards 2015, alongside his son Wolfgang Van Halen. The evening also honored various stars who we have sadly lost in the past year including Little Richard and Kenny Rogers.
The show was closed by En Vogue who celebrated their 30th anniversary, having released their first single in 1990. They held a special performance marking this milestone in a modern take on their classic Free Your Mind. The band consisted of founding members Terry Ellis and Cindy Herron, accompanied by Rhona Bennett who has been with the group since 2003 following the departure of Dawn Robinson and Maxine Jones.
The hit song is known for its anti-prejudice message and also made the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100 in 1992, so was the perfect choice to close the highly anticipated show.