Musicians are less worried than movie stars about looking glamorous on red carpets. They want to look boss rather than beautiful. Edgy. Memorable. Which is why the Billboard Music Awards gift the style world so much every year.
Did 2019’s edition – held at the Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on May 1 (US time) – live up to their promise?
Yes. For every reasonably classy designer gown there was popping cleavage, leotards as outer wear and men in bulletproof vest-inspired fashion. The winner was … us.
Let’s kick off with the almost perfect. Taylor Swift’s lilac Raisa Vanessa dress paid unlikely homage to Tonya Harding, Britney Spears and Queen Mary, and worked brilliantly.
In bedazzled Moschino, Cardi B looked like the entertainment at a Turkish restaurant on Saturday night. Or the bad sister on I Dream of Jeannie.
Halsey was boudoir rock chick in a corset PVC dress with lace inserts and matching zombie lipstick with wrongtown lady shoes.
Sophie Turner’s space-age Louis Vuitton jumpsuit was genius, from the print to the mid-calf length and futuristic shoulders.
Jennifer Hudson’s inexplicable mud-brown pantsuit with silver dangly bits was like a misjudged craft project.
Has Eva Longoria broken up with Victoria Beckham? She abandoned restraint for a tiny structured mini that screamed, “I’m fun and flirty, why are you wearing me with boring peeptoe shoes?”
Kelly Clarkson. No. The hair extensions, metallic sequinned dress with skivvy neck … you’re better than this. (But the rainbow sandals are super, give them to Eva Longoria right now.)
Priyanka Chopra was sophisticated in a shimmering Zuhair Murad wrap dress (they’re having a moment.) Husband Nick Jonas looked like he’d been kicked off the golf course for wearing The Bachelor-inspired suede loafers and no socks.
Olivia Wilde’s longline metallic Ralph Lauren shirt dress was sexy, grown-up and playful all at the same time. Tick.
Julianne Hough was hilarious in bra and booty shorts and pig trotter pumps, a look that fell firmly into the ‘expensive cheap’ category.
Sofia Carson got knocked on the head by a falling coconut and thought she was up for best actress at the Oscars. Style is about being appropriate for the occasion. This is fabulous but wrong.
Diplo, with that zany confidence you can strum your banjo at my corral anytime. I hope this is really how you were feeling and that you didn’t just lose a bet.
Southside wore a lab coat and the night’s most extraordinary bling in a quality field. Yung Miami would have been thrilled to run into duelling tier twin Sofia Carson: tulle at ten paces.
Paula Abdul went down the old tuxedo jacket, no pant route, made more jazzy with some fringing and hoop earrings I left under a bed in 1987. Done, done and done.
World, think what you like, Tori Kelly looked delighted with her surprising Fanta pantsuit and green accessories.
Chantel Jeffries was Kardashian Lite in a mesh catsuit my mother would call ‘a bit hoochie mama’ (except for the sensible underpant.) Bet she was first onto the podium on the dance floor at the after party.
Terry Crews (with wife Rebecca King-Crews) was ready for anything from yeti hunting to ringmaster duties to joining a Village People tribute band. Sometimes sheer audacity carries you through.
Heads up Poppy, Game of Thrones has finished filming.
Madonna’s latest collaborator Maluma looked like an oil slick or bouncer with aspirations to grow up and be Steven Seagal.
Ciara (in dramatic Stephane Rolland) and son Future (rocking it in Versace, at age four) were hands-down the night’s best duo.
But they got stiff competition from Ella Mai and Mustard. Well, Mustard anyway. Her utilitarian suburban nightclub look was the perfect foil for his pink getup, which included faux bulletproof vest with flap pockets and an evening cargo pant.
Cindy Kimberly: anyone need a magician’s assistant?