The 2018 Billboard Music Awards ceremony rocked the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on Sunday, May 20, and boasted a handful of historical performances and awards.
The event was hosted by Kelly Clarkson, who opened the night with a heartfelt tribute to the Santa Fe school shooting victims, followed by a performance of other artists’ songs, such as Taylor Swift’s ‘Look What You Made Me Do; and Kendrick Lamar’s ‘Humble.’
Ariana Grande brought the house down with her highly anticipated performance of ‘No Tears Left to Cry,’ a Billboard Top Ten hit that resonates deeply with the families of victims from the bombing at her Manchester show one year ago.
Alternative-pop singer Halsey and Alex Pall and Andrew Taggart of The Chainsmokers honored the death of Avicii, who took his own life one month ago after struggling with substance abuse. Taggart commented that “his passing was a great loss for the music world and for us. He was an artist that inspired so many in so many ways, and simply put, but he meant so much to us and everyone in the EDM community.”
Janet Jackson graced the stage for the first time in nine years as the first black woman in history to win the Icon Award. After a show stopping performance of “Nasty” and “Throb,” Jackson gave a memorable acceptance speech. “I’m deeply humbled and grateful for this award. I believe that for all the challenges, all of our challenges, we live a great moment in history. It’s a moment that at long last women have made it clear that we will not be controlled, manipulated or abused.”
Pop singer Shawn Mendes and rapper Khalid, who won the Top New Artist award that night, performed their collaborative song ‘Youth’ with twelve students of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student choir to honor the victims of Friday’s school shooting in Santa Fe, Texas. Khalid sported a “Protect Our Children” shirt, nodding towards the March For Our Lives movement.
A number of debut performances were featured at the awards show, including ‘Fall in Line’ by Demi Lovato and Christina Aguilera, a powerful anthem from Xtina’s new album Liberation that salutes the #MeToo movement.
BTS had fans screaming along to their single ‘Fake Love,’ and became the first Korean act to perform at the Billboard Awards. They later won the award for Top Social Artist for the second year in a row, thanks to their committed fan base.
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