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
In clip one, Billie Eilish accepting the award for Top Billboard 200 Album.
["Thank you, Nicole. Thank you guys so much, this is amazing. I wanted to say, thank you to the fans, thank you for believing in me and caring about me still, I don't know why you do. I also want to say that I never, ever take these for granted. It is always a shock when I win anything at all. So thank you, Billboard. Thank you, guys. I love you. Thank you, thank you, thank you."] SOUNDCUE (:24 OC: . . .thank you, thank you.)
In clip two, Billie Eilish accepting the award for Top Female Artist.
["I'm back people. Oh my God. This is so nuts. Thank you so much, Billboard. Thank you to all the women that have come before me and paved my way. I love you. Please vote. Please wear a mask. Please wash your hands, be safe. Take care. Thank you, Billboard."] SOUNDCUE (:18 OC: . . .care. Thank you, Billboard.)
In clip three, Cher presents Garth Brooks with this years Icon Award.
["Garth Brooks has had at least one top ten hit single on a Billboard chart in five straight decades. Knowing Garth, he's set his sights on a sixth and knowing Trish, she's gently, lovingly pushing him to his seventh. When I received my award in 2017, it was one of the greatest honors of my life and a memory I'll never forget. To know that I was receiving the same honor as Prince and Stevie Wonder just added to the thrill of it all. And I know Garth feels the same way."] SOUNDCUE (:34 OC: . . .feels the same way.)
In clip four, Kelly Clarkson kicked things off.
["Welcome to the 2020 Billboard Music Awards, y'all. Thank you so much to Pentatonix and all the other musicians and vocalists that just joined Sheila E and me, that was crazy fun. There are so many talented people here tonight, y'all, and we are celebrating the power of music, all music. From pop to country to hip-hop to R&B and Latin and everything in between. Tonight is about the way music touches us all, because music connects with us in so many ways, don't matter who you are."] SOUNDCUE (:32 OC: . . .matter who you are.)
In clip five, Khalid accepts the award for Top R and B Artist.
["First off, thank you, Jay. Man, this is amazing. Also, y'all, I want to thank Billboard so much for honoring me with this award. This means the most to me, this means a lot to me. I really want to give it out to my family, especially my mom, for all the support she's given me, from a child to now. I love you so much. I want to really give a big shout out to my fans. Thank you, guys, so much for rocking with me. I love you guys so much and I miss you. I want to thank my team. I want to thank, yeah, once again, I want to thank Billboard so much for this and before I go, I want to let you guys know that your voice matters. Please use your voice. Your voice matters now more than ever. Take care of yourselves. Be safe. Love you guys, and peace out."] SOUNDCUE (:45 OC: . . .and peace out.)
In clip six, Lauren Daigle accepts the award for Top Christian Artist.
["Thank you so much for this incredible honor. Thank you to Billboard. Thank you to everybody who is a part of this. It was kind of crazy, last night I was sitting with my manager. And she said, Lauren, guess what tomorrow marks? And I said, what? She said, five years ago to the day, you wrote the song You say along with two others and I thought, wow, that's kind of crazy, the timing of everything and what that means and what that signifies is just that there is amazing hope found in God. And he has an incredible way to take one story and turn it completely different. I was just a girl from Louisiana, and now I'm standing here in Los Angeles. And for all those watching that need hope tonight, he has it. He has the hope. Especially for times like these."] SOUNDCUE (:52 OC: . . .times like these.)
In clip seven, Lil Nas accepting the award for Top Hot 100 Song.
["Thank you to everybody. Thank you to Billy Ray Cyrus. I want everybody to look out next month for Nas-vember. It's going to go crazy, 2021. I'm dropping the best album of all time. I love you, good night."] SOUNDCUE (:17 OC: . . .love you, good night.)
In clip eight, Lizzo accepting the award for Top Song Sales Artist.
["Hi. I just want to say, thank you to Billboard, thank you to Atlantic, thank you to team Lizzo, thank you to everyone who listens to my music and supported me. I just want to say, I've been thinking a lot about suppression and the voices that refuse to be suppressed and I wonder, would I be standing here right now if it weren't for the big black women who refused to have their voices be suppressed. I just want to say right now, if you're at home watching this, and you are thinking about changing yourself to feel worthy, this is your sign to remain true to who you are. Let me tell you all something. When people try to suppress something, it's normally because that thing holds power. They're afraid of your power. There's power in who you are. There's power in your voice. So whether it's through music, protests, or your right to vote, use your power, use your voice and refuse to be suppressed. Thank you so much to Billboard. I love you all. God bless you all."] SOUNDCUE (1:04 OC: . . .God bless you all.)
In clip nine, Luke Combs accepting the award for Top Country Artist.
["I know everybody out there has been through so much this year, I want to thank the crew that is working on this show tonight, because they have gone through some insane stuff to make this happen for you guys. I hope everybody's staying safe at home. Thank you so much for loving what I do. It never falls on deaf ears, the love that you guys give me. I'm very grateful for it and so is my team. Thank you guys so much."] SOUNDCUE (:24 OC: . . .you guys so much.)
In clip ten, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms presenting rapper and social activist Killer Mike with the inaugural Billboard Change Maker Award.
["Now we are all aware that these are hard times. Across the country, Americans are living with the impact of Covid-19, economic hardship, and the crushing pain of systemic racism. It is in these moments that we look for leaders who will not just talk the talk, but walk the walk, who will answer the call, who will rise up and fight for the change we need and it is in light of this especially challenging year that, for the first time, we are honoring just such an individual. One who will forever be known as the inaugural Billboard Change Maker. It is the first in what will be an annual tribute in this show, where we shine the spotlight on a person of courage, a change maker who not only is a force in the music industry, but who has shifted the culture beyond the stage. Our inaugural recipient is a hip-hop icon, an entrepreneur, and activist who is a powerful voice for social justice. Let's take a look at how Killer Mike's dedication and advocacy in his art have created meaningful change."] SOUNDCUE (1:18 OC: . . .created meaningful change.)
In clip eleven, Post Malone accepting award for Top Male Artist.
["Greetings. This is very strange here. Thank you, Lilly, for presenting me, you're so sweet. You know, it's a weird time for everybody. And I just focus, I want to focus on spreading love and just doing everybody's best because I know it's weird, and it's so bizarre to see nobody in the audience here. But you know, I want to thank everybody at home. I want to thank all my fans. I want to thank my beautiful mother. I want to thank my very handsome father. I want to thank my very beautiful stepmom, Jodi. I want to thank my whole family and everybody. I'm not a man of many words, as you know, last time, I think, I accepted an award, I said I love grapes and I would like to just accentuate that statement. Because I still do, and I very much do. Thank you very much, ladies and gentlemen. Stay strong, and just spread love everywhere you go. Thank you very much."] SOUNDCUE (1:11 OC: . . .Thank you very much.)
In clip twelve, Post Malone accepts the award for Top Artist.
["Greetings, all. I'm honestly blown away, just by the love that everybody's shown to me, and honestly, I appreciate it more than I could ever express and it's kind of a big deal for me, you know, and everybody involved because we work our… off, and we just try our best every day and honestly, to be able to reach out to people who might, you know, not have anybody to turn to and just be able to reach out and show everybody that they're not alone, and music can bring everybody together, it's absolutely incredible and I just want to say, thank you so very much, ladies and gentlemen. I'm blown away. I'm floored. So thank you very, very, very, very much, yes."] SOUNDCUE (:57 OC: . . .very, very, very much, yes.)
BILLBOARD MUSIC AWARDS 2020 Billie Eilish accepting the award for Top Billboard 200 Album :
BILLBOARD MUSIC AWARDS 2020 Billie Eilish accepting the award for Top Female Artist :
BILLBOARD MUSIC AWARDS 2020 Cher presents Garth Brooks with this years Icon Award :
BILLBOARD MUSIC AWARDS 2020 Kelly Clarkson kicked things off :
BILLBOARD MUSIC AWARDS 2020 Khalid accepts the award for Top R and B Artist :
BILLBOARD MUSIC AWARDS 2020 Lauren Daigle accepts the award for Top Christian Artist :
BILLBOARD MUSIC AWARDS 2020 Lil Nas accepting the award for Top Hot 100 Song :
BILLBOARD MUSIC AWARDS 2020 Lizzo accepting the award for Top Song Sales Artist :
BILLBOARD MUSIC AWARDS 2020 Luke Combs accepting the award for Top Country Artist :
BILLBOARD MUSIC AWARDS 2020 Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms presenting rapper and social activist Killer Mike with the inaugural Billboard Change Maker Award :
BILLBOARD MUSIC AWARDS 2020 Post Malone accepting award for Top Male Artist :
BILLBOARD MUSIC AWARDS 2020 Post Malone accepts the award for Top Artist :