Now that we’re officially out of Hollywood awards season, did you forget about the Billboard Music Awards on Sunday night? Here’s everything you need to know:
1) The Sante Fe tributes.
At the top of the show, BBMAs host Kelly Clarkson was in tears as she talked about the shooting at Santa Fe High School in Texas on Friday, where eight students and two teachers were killed. Clarkson said the producers of the show wanted her to start with a moment of silence, but she decided to speak up instead: “Why don’t we not do a moment of silence? Why don’t we do a moment of action? Why don’t we do a moment of change?” Clarkson said. “Why don’t we change what’s happening? Because it’s horrible.”
Later, Shawn Mendes and Khalid performed their song “Youth” alongside the show choir from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., where 17 people were shot and killed in February. Khalid, 20, wore a T-shirt that read, “Protect Our
2) Janet Jackson’s emotional speech.
Jackson was in attendance to receive the Icon Award, and she’s the first black woman to receive the prize from the BBMAs. After presenter Bruno Mars ticked off a long list of her musical accomplishments (she’s the first woman in history to have five consecutive No. 1 albums; she had the biggest-selling debut tour in history, etc.), Jackson performed an electric medley of “Nasty,” “If” and “Throb” with a crew of backup dancers.
Afterward, Jackson accepted her award and got emotional as the audience yelled: “Ja-net! Ja-net! Ja-net!”
“I’m deeply humbled and grateful for this award. I believe that for all the challenges, for all our challenges, we live at a glorious moment in history,” Jackson said. “It’s a moment when at long last women have made it clear that we will no longer be controlled, manipulated or abused. I stand with those women and with those men equally outraged by discrimination who support us in heart and mind.”
She continued as the crowd cheered: “This is also a moment when our public discourse is loud and harsh. My prayer is that, weary of such noise, we turn back to the source of all calmness. That source — that source is God. Everything we lack, God has in abundance, compassion, sensitivity, patience and a boundless love. So again, I want to thank all of you for this honor, and I thank God for giving me the precious energy that lets me live my life as an artist who every single day seeks to expand my capacity to love.”
3) The Avicii tribute.
Swedish DJ and superstar producer Avicii died at age 28 last month; in a letter, his family said he “could not go on any longer.” On Sunday, the Chainsmokers and Halsey paid tribute to the late artist.
“His passing was a great loss for the music world and for us. He was an artist who inspired so many in so many ways, and simply put, he meant so much to us and everyone in the EDM community,” said Drew Taggart of the Chainsmokers.
“Everyone who worked with him would agree he was such a joy, and it makes this tragedy all the more painful,” Halsey said. “And it’s a reminder to all of us to be there and support and love all of our friends and family members who may be struggling with mental health issues.”
4) The return of Taylor Swift.
It has been a few years since Taylor Swift appeared at an awards show, but she made her grand return at the BBMAs as she picked up the trophy for top female artist and top artist. In her first acceptance speech, she noted that she has an all-women lineup on her current stadium tour and thanked female artists who “paved the way for us to get to do what we do the way we get to do it.”
In her second trip to the stage for top-selling album for “Reputation,” Swift said that while making the record, she felt really “misunderstood by a lot of people.” (See: The Kanye incident.)
“So I just want to say to the fans: Thank you for continuing to show up,” she said. “Thank you for making me feel understood again.”
5) That BTS performance and Salt-N-Pepa’s medley.
It’s hard to explain just how loud the audience was screaming when K-pop sensations BTS took the stage.
And it’s similarly difficult to describe the energy as the ’90s hip-hop group Salt-N-Pepa performed hits from “Shoop” to “Whatta Man” to “Let’s Talk About Sex” to “Push It.” But both performances were extremely fun to watch.