Billboard Music Awards: All the gossip so far and everything else you need to know

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 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

In three days it’s the Billboard Music Awards – the next biggest US music award gig after the Grammys – and this year looks to be a big one with Sean Diddy Combs hosting.

There are always major fashion moments (think Britney Spears’ orange ensemble and feathered hat in 2000 and Céline Dion’s 2017 mega-sleeved white dress), legendary performances (Remember Rihanna and Britney’s 2011 S&M show?) and a mountain of music and celebrity gossip – before, during and after. (Diddy has already declared that he is going to be one of the most controversial hosts in music history).

Here’s our quick roundup bringing you up to speed with everything you need to know about the upcoming MGM Grand Garden Arena show.

When is the Billboard Music Awards show?

It’s being broadcast live on May 15 on NBC at 8 pm ET/ 5 pm PT. For us, that’s May 16 at 1 am UK time so it’s likely you’ll be catching all the news in the morning.

Who has been nominated?

The Weeknd – who won a massive 10 trophies last year – leads the pack again in 202 with 17 nominations. Following closely behind is Doja Cat with 14 nods, and Justin Bieber, Kanye West and Olivia Rodrigo all have 13 nominations.

Dua Lipa, The Kid LAROI, Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran, BTS and other mega-acts also have nominations.

Doja Cat is in the running for 14 Billboard wins (AFP via Getty Images)
Doja Cat is in the running for 14 Billboard wins (AFP via Getty Images)

Any honourable mentions?

Yes. This year Mary J Blige will receive the Icon Award for her decades-long contribution to music. The Bronx-born singer, who has won nine Grammys and 10 Billboard Music Awards, broke onto the scene in 1992 with her debut album What’s the 411?

“Counting down to the BBMAs! So honoured to be receiving the Icon Award” said Blige on her Instagram account.

In a statement, Blige said: "To be recognized in this way at this moment, with the Icon Award at the Billboard Music Awards, is an incredible honour and one that I am truly humbled by."

Who is hosting the Billboard Music Awards?

This year producer and rapper Sean Combs (P Diddy) is hosting the award show. He hosted the 2005 MTV Awards, but despite a long history with the BBMAs – which includes several performances going back to 1997, plus presenting a posthumous award to The Notorious B.I.G.’s mother – he hasn’t hosted the show.

Since the April 22 announcement of his new role, the rapper has been drumming up excitement across social media.

“I’m the host with the most, I’m the executive producer that calls all the shots. That means I’m the ringmaster,” the singer said on Instagram.

“Ain’t no party like a Diddy party, okay? We gonna come through with one of the most disruptive lineups in music history with one of the most controversial hosts in music history – me!”

He added: “Everybody get ready to meet me at the 2022 Billboard Awards because we gonna act bad!... Vegas gonna be lit! Everybody gonna get they hotel suites, get there early, put on your best and get ready to do what we do!”

Previous hosts include Kelly Clarkson, Nick Jonas, Ludacris and Ciara.

Who is performing at the Billboard Music Awards?

The awards, which usually last around three hours, have an absolutely packed roster of performances so buckle your seatbelts: fans can look forward to seeing Travis Scott, Megan Thee Stallion, Ed Sheeran, Burna Boy, Machine Gun Kelly, Mary J. Blige and Florence + The Machine on stage.

Plus, there will be performances from Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak’s band Silk Sonic, American singer Miranda Lambert, rapper Latto, country music singer Morgan Wallen, Puerto Rican singer and rapper Rauw Alejandro.

Travis Scott has only performed publicly once since the 2021 Astroworld tragedy (Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty)
Travis Scott has only performed publicly once since the 2021 Astroworld tragedy (Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty)

What’s the goss so far?

After the announcement that Diddy would be hosting the show, the rapper then made waves by pushing for Travis Scott to perform. In early May Scott performed a set during the Miami Grand Prix – his first public performance since 10 people died at his Houston concert in November.

“I made a request. I made a demand. I said my brother Travis Scott has to perform. Diddy’s hosting the show. He has to perform. And NBC said yes. So it’s going down,” Diddy said in an Instagram post.

“I’m uncancelling the cancelled,” he also said in an interview REVOLT Black news. “There will be no cancelling on my watch. Love is about forgiveness.”

Then, some fans were disappointed on Wednesday when a statement from Billboard announced that the Red Hot Chilli Peppers had dropped out of the awards show due to “unforeseen circumstances”.

The show quickly filled the gap with Machine Gun Kelly and pop duo Dan + Shay. Machine Gun Kelly is in the running for top rock artist, while Dan + Shay is a finalist for the top country duo/group category.

How are the winners chosen?

According to Billboard, winners are based on “key fan interactions with music, including album and digital song sales, streaming, radio airplay and touring”. So what does this actually mean?

Well, unlike other award shows, there’s no voting system. Instead, it’s all about song sales, radio airplay, streaming, touring and even social engagement. Fans do get to have a say at who they think the winners should be – but indirectly, and over time. The stats are added up by Billboard over a 12-month period.

Drake is Billboard’s biggest winner raking in 29 wins (PYMCA/Universal Images Group via)
Drake is Billboard’s biggest winner raking in 29 wins (PYMCA/Universal Images Group via)

Historically, who have been the big winners?

Drake has the most BBMA wins of all time, raking in 29 trophies – in 2019 alone he won 12 awards.

Then Taylor Swift – who has seven nominations this year – follows closely behind with 25 wins, while Justin Bieber has 2021.

What have been the biggest moments in the past?

Luckily, there has never been too much drama at the Billboards. Instead, it’s all about incredible performances and massive stars joining each other on stage – think Halsey and BTS performing together in 2019 and Panic! at the Disco’s Brendon Urie and Taylor Swift performing together the same year. At last year’s performance, seasoned BBMA performer Pink even took to the stage with her daughter Willow and the duo performed an ariel act.

Stand out concerts include *NSync performing in 2000 wearing absolutely incredible coats and matching hats, and Beyoncé in 2003 when she was joined on stage with over a dozen twins to sing Me, Myself and I. They all wore the same outfit and hairstyle – valley of the uncanny territory. If that wasn’t weird enough, in 2014 the late Michael Jackson also performed Slave to the Rhythm – via a hologram.

Then, of course, we all remember Justin Bieber getting booed at the 2013 awards show. And Britney and Rihanna’s 2011 S&M performance went down in history, for its pole-dancing, chained hands and pillow fight. The two stars even had a little peck – though ABC didn’t air the moment.

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