Drake triumphs at 2017 Billboard Music Awards with 13 awards
On May 27, the music world came together for the 2017 Billboard Music Awards at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. Singer and actress Vanessa Hudgens hosted the event, along with hip-hop artist Ludacris.
The Billboard Music Awards is different from other awards because of its result process. Other awards are voted on either by professionals, like the Grammys Awards, or by fans, like the American Music Awards. The Billboard Music Awards, however, are based solely on chart performance, which makes these awards much more objective.
This year, the absolute triumphant was artist Drake. The Canadian rapper collected the most awards of the night, winning 13 out of 22 nominations. He set a record for most victories in one night. Besides collecting most of the R&B and Rap awards, Drake took home the night’s most prestigious honors: Top Artist, Top Billboard 200 Artist, Top Hot 100 Artist Top Male Artist, Top Streaming Artist. The rapper later performed “Gyalchester” from his latest album More Life.
Beyonce took home the award for Best Female Artist, Top Touring Artist and Top R&B Artist. Justin Timberlake received Top Selling Song and Top Radio Song with “Can’t Stop the Feeling” from Trolls, which was Timberlake’s only release of the year. Former One Direction member Zayn Malik was crowned Best New Artist. Blake Shelton was honored with Top Country Artist, the band Twenty One Pilots received Top Duo/Group and Top Rock Artists and the late icon Juan Gabriel posthumously received Top Latin Artist and Top Latin Album. The cast of the Broadway musical Hamilton added another award to its impressive collection and set the record for becoming the first stage musical to win Top Soundtrack/Cast Album.
The electronic duo The Chainsmokers, who also had 22 nominations, went home with the awards for Top Billboard 100 Song and Top Collaboration with Halsey. The group performed their single “Young,” receiving welcoming reactions from the audience.
The show was full of interesting performances. The ceremony opened with Nicki Minaj and a fiery medley of her recent releases. She sang “No Frauds” and then joined David Guetta for “Light My Body Up,” followed by Jason Derulo for their new summer hit “Swalla.” She ended her performance with “Regret in Your Tears” with her fellow Young Money rapper Lil Wayne. Following Nicki Minaj was former Fifth Harmony-singer Camilla Cabello, who got on stage to perform her new singles “I Have Questions” and “Crying in the Club.” Many were skeptical whether Cabello has enough stage presence for a successful solo, but her dynamic performance with beautiful vocals proved that she could handle it on her own.
Most performers of the night, including Cabello, were very young. Newcomer Halsey sang her new song “Now or Never.” Miley Cyrus performed her new single “Malibu.” Her live version of the song was more infused with guitar melodies and country vocals than the recording, which added a nostalgic feel to the entire performance. Australian prodigy Lorde sang her new hit single “Green Light,” proving once again what an authentic and unique artist she is.
Rock band Imagine Dragons burned down the stage with their hit single “Believer.” Imagine Dragons is known for their masterful live performances that are often full of energy and drive, and this performance did not disappoint.
However, the highlights of the night did not belong to the young artists. Canadian diva Celine Dion returned to the Billboards stage after winning the Icon Award last year. This year, she performed her signature song “My Heart Will Go On” from the movie Titanic in honor of the song’s 20th anniversary. Wearing a stunning long dress with large puffed up shoulders and a long v-cut in the front, Dion performed on stage surrounded by long strings of pearls, reminiscent of the rain. While belting out one of the most iconic songs ever written, Dion once again showed the world that she is a one-of-a-kind talent who does not have a match.
The person who truly stole the show, however, was the recipient of a long overdue Icon Award: Cher. The Emmy-, Grammy- and Oscar-winning diva performed on an award show for the first time in more than 15 years, and her return was long anticipated. Cher took the stage to sing her 1999 best-selling single “Believe.” After that, she went for a quick change and came back to sing “If I Could Turn Back Time,” wearing her iconic outfit and a large curly wig from the music video, proving that turning back time is what she does best. The award was presented by Gwen Stefani.
In her speech, Cher thanked the industry, for which she has been working for more than 50 years, and proudly stated that at the age of 71, she could still do a five-minute plank. She received the longest standing ovation of the night, as the camera showed the audience the faces of Cher’s son, Chez Bono, and all of the female singers who were inspired by a woman who changed the world of music.