Travis Scott and Morgan Wallen caused controversy with their performances at Sunday’s Billboard Music Awards, while Mary J Blige was recognized for her musical excellence.
Allen appeared on his first major awards show after being caught on camera using a racial slur.
After receiving no verbal introduction, the country music star sat next to his four-piece band and played Don’t Think Jesus and then his chart-topping Wasted On You, a single from his popular project Dangerous: The Double Album.
Shortly after his performance, rapper Pusha T presented Wallen with the Top Country Artist Award.
Travis Scott plays Mafia at the Billboard Music Awards (Image: Chris Pizzello/AP)
Wallen accepted his award and thanked his mother for accompanying him to the event and Billboard for inviting him, but did not acknowledge last year’s incident in which he had been rebuked by the music industry.
The country singer said: “I want to say ‘thank god.’ And thank you my fans. I have the best damn fans.
“Thanks to my little boy,” he added. “You inspire me every day.”
Shortly after Wallen’s set, Scott made his first television appearance since a massive crowd killed ten and injured thousands at his Astroworld festival in Houston last November. The rapper performed his single Mafia in a chilling, polar-themed pre-recorded set that was heavily censored.
Brit Ed Sheeran delivered a remote performance of 2Step from Northern Ireland where he is currently touring.
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Morgan Wallen performs at the Billboard Music Awards (Image: Chris Pizzello/AP)
Becky G, who released the album Esquemas on Friday, performed her hit “MAMIII,” which topped Billboard’s Hot Latin Songs chart.
Other acts who took to the stage included Miranda Lambert, Meghan Thee Stallion and Grammy Awards favorites Silk Sonic.
Blige received the Icon Award for Influential Music Maker. Known as the queen of hip-hop soul, the singer was presented with the award by Janet Jackson and joined on stage by Sean “Diddy” Combs, who hosted the show, which was broadcast live from Las Vegas’ MGM Grand Arena.
Blige said she’s “in a dream right now” after receiving the honor, while also reflecting on the difficulty of becoming an icon.
“I’ve been on this journey for a long time, which hasn’t always looked like what you see me now,” she said.
Janet Jackson introduces the Icon Award at the Billboard Music Awards (Chris Pizzello/AP)
“One filled with a lot of heartache and pain, but God helped me channel those experiences and emotions into my music from where I started music.”
Previously, Drake was named Top Artist, Male Artist, Rap Artist, Male Rap Artist, and Rap Album for Certified Lover Boy. With 34 wins, the rapper extended his record as the most decorated winner in the history of the awards.
Olivia Rodrigo and Kanye West, the latter known as Ye, took home the most awards with six during a non-televised ceremony. Rodrigo was awarded Best New Artist.
Ye made a name for himself in the belief-based categories—again. The rapper was named Best Christian Artist for the first time, but he claimed Best Gospel Artist and Gospel Song for the third year in a row. He also received a top gospel album for the second time.
Ed Sheeran delivered a remote performance at Sunday’s Billboard Music Awards (Image: Joel C. Ryan/Invision/AP)
The Kid LAROI became a first-time winner, taking home five wins for his song “Stay with Justin Bieber” – which rose to 26 at the Billboard Music Awards.
Doja Cat has won four awards. She was named Best R&B Artist and R&B Artist for the second year in a row, along with Best R&B Album and Best Female Artist.
Taylor Swift – who has the second highest award show earnings of all time at 29 – has won four awards. Bad Bunny earned two wins, while R&B duo Silk Sonic, consisting of Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak, scooped their first-ever Best R&B Song award with “Leave The Door Open.”
Nominees are determined by Billboard chart rankings, and winners are selected based on a variety of criteria, including album and digital song sales, airplay and streaming success, and touring.