The 2020 Billboard Music Awards were hosted by Kelly Clarkson Wednesday night, live from the Dolby Theater in L.A., and aired on NBC. Because this is 2020 and we’re in the midst of a rampaging pandemic, the festivities were a little different this year, with no red carpet or audience.
This marked Clarkson’s third go-round as host, and she got the party started with Pentatonix and Sheila E, with the trio taking on a rendition of Whitney Houston‘s “Higher Love.” Houston, who died in 2012, was up for top dance/electronic song for “Higher Love,” a platinum-selling collab with Kygo.
Going in, Post Malone had a whopping 16 nominations, including top artist, top male artist, top rap artist and top streaming songs artist. His 2019 album Hollywood’s Bleeding was up for top Billboard 200 album. On his heels is Kanye West, who was up for nine prizes, including top gospel artist and top Christian artist.
Ultimately, Post Malone was triumphant, nabbing Top Artist and Top Male Artist, plus seven others, for a total haul of nine. Billie Eilish also won big, snagging Top Female Artist and Top Billboard 200 Album.
Some nominations felt dated because the show was supposed to go live in April, but was bumped due to the pandemic.
HIGHLIGHTS & PERFORMANCES
Clarkson kept the energy up, dubbing herself her own “hype crew” sans audience or pretty much anyone except essential crew and the performers who were actually on-hand.
Sia performed “Courage to Change” in a flowing pink ensemble, curly pink hair obscuring her face and a monster orange bow.
Alicia Keys delivered “Love Looks Better” onstage in gorgeous sequin catsuit.
Kane Brown, Swae Lee and Khalid cranked out “Be Like That.”=
Luke Combs crooned “Better Together” onstage.
Post Malone beamed in with “Circles.”
Lizzo, while accepting Top Song Sales Artist, urged fans to “refuse to be suppressed” and vote.
Brandy and Ty Dollar $ign performed a medley, including “Borderline” and “Almost Doesn’t Count,” onstage.
John Legend performed a memorable and heart-wrenching “Never Break” from Bigger Love, dedicating it to his wife Chrissy Teigen. The pair lost their third pregnancy recently, and shared their heartbreak on social media.
Keisha Lance Bottoms, the mayor of Atlanta, presented rapper and social activist Killer Mike with the inaugural Billboard Change Maker Award, and called for courage and change in the face of systemic racism.
Bad Bunny roller-skated around the stage to “Yo Perreo Sola.”
Doja Cat oozed “Juicy.”
Noted icon Cher presented this year’s Icon Award to Garth Brooks.
Brooks delivered a medley of hits spanning his 30+ years career.
SAINt JHN delivered “Roses.”
Clarkson held a somber in memoriam, toasting Little Richard, Eddie Van Halen and so many others.
Demi Lovato performed the world premiere of “Commander in Chief,” which she released Tuesday.
BTS brought down the virtual house with performance of “Dynamite” from South Korea.
En Vogue closed the show out with a throwback, “Free Your Mind.”
Winners Announced in the Broadcast:
Top Billboard 200 Album: When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?, Billie Eilish
Top Hot 100 Song: “Old Town Road,” Lil Nas X Featuring Billy Ray Cyrus
Top Female Artist: Billie Eilish
Top Country Artist: Luke Combs
Top Song Sales Artist: Lizzo
Top Latin Artist: Oasis, J Balvin & Bad Bunny
Top Male Artist: Post Malone
Top R&B Artist: Khalid
Chart Achievement Award: Harry Styles
Top Social Artist: BTS
Top Christian Artist: Lauren Daigle
Top Artist: Post Malone
AUDIO: BILLBOARD MUSIC AWARDS 2020 POST MALONE ACCEPTS THE AWARD FOR TOP ARTIST
AUDIO: BILLBOARD MUSIC AWARDS 2020 POST MALONE ACCEPTING AWARD FOR TOP MALE ARTIST
AUDIO: BILLBOARD MUSIC AWARDS 2020 MAYOR KEISHA LANCE BOTTOMS PRESENTING RAPPER AND SOCIAL ACTIVIST KILLER MIKE WITH THE INAUGURAL BILLBOARD CHANGE MAKER AWARD
AUDIO: BILLBOARD MUSIC AWARDS 2020 LUKE COMBS ACCEPTING THE AWARD FOR TOP COUNTRY ARTIST
AUDIO: BILLBOARD MUSIC AWARDS 2020 LIZZO ACCEPTING THE AWARD FOR TOP SONG SALES ARTIST
AUDIO: BILLBOARD MUSIC AWARDS 2020 LIL NAS ACCEPTING THE AWARD FOR TOP HOT 100 SONG
AUDIO: BILLBOARD MUSIC AWARDS 2020 LAUREN DAIGLE ACCEPTS THE AWARD FOR TOP CHRISTIAN ARTIST
AUDIO: BILLBOARD MUSIC AWARDS 2020 KHALID ACCEPTS THE AWARD FOR TOP R AND B ARTIST
AUDIO: BILLBOARD MUSIC AWARDS 2020 KELLY CLARKSON KICKED THINGS OFF
AUDIO: BILLBOARD MUSIC AWARDS 2020 CHER PRESENTS GARTH BROOKS WITH THIS YEARS ICON AWARD
AUDIO: BILLBOARD MUSIC AWARDS 2020 BILLIE EILISH ACCEPTING THE AWARD FOR TOP FEMALE ARTIST
AUDIO: BILLBOARD MUSIC AWARDS 2020 BILLIE EILISH ACCEPTING THE AWARD FOR TOP BILLBOARD 200 ALBUM