Last night’s Billboard Music Awards celebrated some of the most chart-topping musical acts over the past year. Ariana Grande, Dua Lipa, Khalid and Normani were some of the many artists who performed their latest hits. The ceremony did admittedly hit some serious moments, in lieu of the latest Texas shooting, which marked the 22nd US school shooting in 2018. Performers and award-winners were quick to send out messages of hope, be it in their moving speeches or evocative songs. Here were some of our favourite moments from the show:
Kelly Clarkson Hosted
Before the show began, host Kelly Clarkson, whose home-state was attacked again on Friday, pleaded with viewers, “Why don’t we not do a moment of silence — why don’t we do a moment of action?” in frustration of the vicious cycle of prevalent gun violence in America.
However, in true Kelly Clarkson fashion, the singer then wowed the crowd with an original medley of recent hits, which included everything from Taylor Swift‘s “Look What You Made Me Do,” Bruno Mars‘ “24K Magic,” and even Kendrick Lamar‘s “HUMBLE.”
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BTS Performed “Fake Love”
BTS has just solidified themselves as the most popular K-pop group in the world. Their newest single, “Fake Love,” off their upcoming album “Love Yourself: Tear,” which they performed, has also become the third most viewed music video in 24 hours of all time, narrowly outnumbered by Taylor Swift’s “Look What You Made Me Do” and Psy‘s “Gangnam Style.”
The Korean boyband certainly left more than just an impression on the American audience during their performance. Cutaway shots revealed fans wide-eyed, excitedly dancing along, and chanting “Fake Love” in sync with the song’s lyrics.
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Janet Jackson’s Acceptance Speech
As recipient of the Billboard Icon Award 2018, Janet Jackson performed “Nasty,” “If” and “Throb,” a strong reminder of her undoubtable talent after last appearing onstage nearly a decade ago. After which in her speech, she alluded to the climate of #TimesUp and #MeToo. As a woman whose career was placed on hold because she bore the brunt of the backlash of an unfortunate decision, her words were truly meaningful. She said, “Women have made it clear that we will no longer be controlled, manipulated or abused.”
Shawn Mendes and Khalid Sang “Youth”
Some pop songs resonate on a deeper level while keeping us entertained with killer hooks. Logic‘s “1-800-273-8255” and Lady Gaga‘s “Til It Happens To You” have been great examples of that. During Shawn Mendes and Khalid‘s performance of their latest single, a choir of teenagers in “Youth” hoodies accompanied the duo in an anthem song including the lyrics perhaps encapsulating all of youth-empowerment: “As long as I wake up today, you can’t take my youth away.” Hear the full song:
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Camila Cabello and Normani Kordei Reunited In A Photo
Who doesn’t have a soft spot for music groups who split up? Even though Fifth Harmony have split up for a few years, it still seems awkward putting Camila Cabello and the rest of the girls in the same room, much less ask them to take a photo together.
— camila (@CamilaMyIdol) May 21, 2018
Camila and Normani Kordei were photographed together on the red carpet and seemed to get along rather sisterly. On the surface, it seems like their closeness might mean that Fifth Harmony and Camila are finally putting bad blood behind them for friendship. With rumours of Normani being the next member to leave the group, however, this photo-op might not have been a group decision after all.
Salt-N-Pepa Performed “Whatta Man”
The throwback feels were real this BBMAs and it was all thanks to Salt ‘N’ Pepa’s flashy, funky and triumphantly female stage. The audience was treated to a fun rendition of 1993 hit ‘Whatta Man’, where the PVC-clad power group also had on singer-trio En Vogue and Kelly Clarkson. The medley of the former, ‘Shoop’, ‘Push It’, and ‘Let’s Talk About Sex’ celebrates 30 years since Salt ‘N’ Pepa have become the first female rap artists to make it to the Billboard Top 40.
Christina Auguilera and Demi Lovato Belted Out “Fall In Line”
Speaking of power and women, Christina Aguilera and Demi Lovato’s ‘Fall In Line’ was a soulful vocal performance that touched heavily on this issue. The duo’s noir militaristic ensemble on stage further hiked up the intensity of emotional tension as they empowered all the girls out there to find strength from within. Needless to say, this cross-generational Disney Channel pairing was truly the match-made-in-heaven we’ve all been waiting for.