The 2019 Billboard Music Awards were handed out at the MGM Garden Arena in Las Vegas last night.
With Kelly Clarkson hosting and Cardi B leading the nominees with 21 noms in 18 categories, it was Drake who was history-making: He became the most-awarded artist in BBMAs history, nabbing 12 awards to bring his all-time total up to 27. Highlights included:
Taylor Swift opened the show with a hyper-colorful performance of her new single “ME!” She was joined on stage by duet partner Brendon Urie for a high-energy performance of the hit.
Immediately after Taylor’s performance, host Kelly Clarkson kicked things off with a rapid-fire, note-perfect medley of hits by some of the night’s performers.
Mariah Carey was honored with the prestigious Icon Award. She took the stage to perform a medley of hits – including “A No No,” “Always Be My Baby,” “Emotions,” “We Belong Together” and “Hero” – before Jennifer Hudson presented her with her award. In her emotional acceptance speech, Carey thanked her fans, as well as her kids, 8-year-old twins Moroccon and Monroe, wishing them a happy birthday. Carey is only the eighth artist to ever receive the icon award at the Billboard Music Awards, following: Neil Diamond (2011), Stevie Wonder (2012), Prince (2013), Jennifer Lopez (2014), Céline Dion (2016), Cher (2017) and Janet Jackson (2018). “Icon? I really don’t think of myself that way. I started making music out of a necessity to survive,” she said in her speech. “I still feel like that lost interracial child who felt lost,” she continued.
Drake dropped a surprise Game of Thrones shout-out into one of his speeches. Taking the stage to accept the Billboard Top 200 Album award, Drake thanked family, friends and those who helped work on his album Scorpion – then proved he’s a big GoT fan by saying: “And shout-out to Ayra Stark for putting in that work last week.”
Madonna performed a high-tech performance wards that’s rumored to have cost her $5 million. The singer, 60, performed her new single “Medellin” with Colombian singer Maluma, 25 – and a quartet of hologram Madonnas, each representing a different character she inhabits on her upcoming concept album, Madame X.
The newly-reunited Jonas Brothers gave fans a taste of solo hits “Jealous” and “Cake By The Ocean” before performing their No. 1 comeback smash “Sucker.”
Paula Abdul closed the show with a medley of her late ‘80s / early ‘90s hits that came complete with one eyebrow-raising moment. Dancing through the crowd, Paula flung off her hat in one smooth Michael Jackson-esque move – and whipped it straight into Julianne Hough’s throat: