They might have been performing to an empty room, but this year’s Billboard Music Awards stars still had a lot to say – with their songs, their speeches and their outfits.
Held in Los Angeles on Thursday (Wednesday US time), the winners of the awards were almost second to the political statements made on stage.
Demi Lovato performed live Commander in Chief, a song she wrote about US President Donald Trump. The lyrics were leaked a couple of days ago, but this was the first time we’ve heard Lovato sing it:
Commander in Chief, honestly, if I did the things you do, I couldn’t sleep.
Seriously, do you even know the truth?
We’re in a state of crisis, people are dying, while you line your pockets deep, Commander in Chief.
How does it feel to still be able to breathe?
On a different note, John Legend moved the world to tears as he dedicated his performance to wife Chrissy Teigen. The couple just days ago went through a harrowing pregnancy loss, which they shared with the world.
“This is for Chrissy,” Legend said as he started Never Break. His tribute hung in the air – empty audience or not.
Awards host Kelly Clarkson called Legend one of her “favourite people on this planet” who “inspires me on the daily”.
“I want to take a moment to talk about a friend who inspires me on the daily,” Clarkson, 38, said.
— a stan (@istandrama) October 15, 2020
“It’s easy for us all to feel that way about them because he and Chrissy just have this warm way of inviting us into their world – the highs and the lows,” Clarkson said.
John legend is so strong. He just lost his baby and now he’s preforming this vulnerable song for the whole world. So much love and respect for him
— tal³ is dating clara ! 👻 (@TPWKDIAMANDIS) October 15, 2020
“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 favourite of the night.”
You want more shivers down your spine?
Lizzo gave a seriously passionate speech, in accepting the Top Song Sales Artist. Dressed in a dress emblazoned with the word VOTE, she said:
“Lemme tell y‘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, protest, or your right to vote, use your power, use your voice, and refuse to be suppressed. Thank you so much to Billboard. I love y’all. God bless, y’all.”
We also saw some serious music royalty grace the stage – starting with our host Clarkson, who gave us a rendition of Higher Love and more sequinned outfits than you can count on one hand.
In terms of people actually winning awards, wunderkind Post Malone and Billie Eilish were the flavour of the eve.
Post Malone picked up a stunning nine awards (out of 16 noms) including the Top Artist Award.
Eighteen-year-old Eilish gave us a full look, in matching olive green suit, bucket hat and mask, proving the only people who have anything to be ashamed of are those hiding behind cameras.
Cher appeared to present the icon award to US country singer Garth Brooks. (Garth and Cher still look the same as you remember, but Cher is definitely bringing the style, so we get a pic of her – sorry Garth.)
And then Brandy performed – the first time she’s been at the awards since 2012 – giving a taste of her new single No Tomorrow, with Ty Dolla $ign.
As if that wasn’t enough ’90s throwback, we also heard from Alicia Keys, performing Love Looks Better in a crystal-coasted jumpsuit that will have fans around the world reaching for their hot glue guns and craft boxes.
Sort-of-Australian songstress Sia made an appearance in her trademark face-covering outfit, which managed to confuse the internet, who mistook it for a Masked Singer performance.
The US can’t go to Broadway right now, so Doja Cat brought Broadway to Los Angeles, knocking out Juicy in a Chicago-style performance.
The only artist who had a hope of catching Post Malone in the awards stakes was Lil Nas X, who had himself 16 nominations, winning three of them. But he arguably won a fourth in outfit of the night, with his nod to Prince.
Saint Jhn’s performance of Roses pretty well sealed another season of overalls and boiler suits being in fashion.
Finally, Puerto Rican Bad Bunny, who performed with Ivy Queen and Nesi, gave us just another sign the 1990s are back in a big way, with his hair ‘do a nod to the *NSYNC and Backstreet Boys of the wonder years.