Record breakers, history makers shine at 2020 Billboards

Kayla Wolf, Staff Writer

The 2020 Billboard Music Awards kicked off the fall music awards season on Oct. 14. Pop singer and returning host Kelly Clarkson was live from the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles, while winners and performers also attended in-person with social distancing and mask-wearing protocols. Despite these modifications to the show, viewers quickly sensed the same high-level energy and enthusiasm, even without an audience.

Clarkson began the show with an upbeat performance of the late Whitney Houston’s “Higher Love,” featuring the legendary percussionist Sheila E. and a cappella group Pentatonix. Clarkson then made a short opening speech emphasizing the power music has to bring people together. 

Korean group BTS delivers a memorable performance of their latest hit, “Dynamite”, at the Billboard Awards live from South Korea. They were nominated for and won Most Social Artist for the fourth year in a row. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

“From virtual living room dance parties to neighborhood balcony concerts, music unites us,” she said.

Usually, fans have some idea of who will take home certain categories, but this year’s categories were filled with so many talented people it was hard to predict the outcomes. The biggest and broadest category, Top Artist, included many A-listers such as Taylor Swift, the Jonas Brothers, Post Malone and Billie Eilish. Unsurprisingly, Malone took home the award after making the Billboard charts for 18 weeks this past year. His latest hit, Hollywood’s Bleeding, was released in 2019. The second major award was Top New Artist; Eilish snagged this category after staying on the charts for 111 weeks. Her most recent album, When We Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?, has broken countless records on the charts this year. In one of the many fan-voted categories, Most Social Artist, Korean pop group BTS took home the award for the fourth consecutive year after a successful year on the charts with their first number one hit “Dynamite.”

The biggest events of the night were the star-studded performances. This year’s lineup included some new sounds from Post Malone, Alicia Keys and Doja Cat, but appearances by classics such as Stevie Wonder, Celine Dion, Janet Jackson and Garth Brooks were enough to make any fan nostalgic. Demi Lovato delivered a notably powerful performance when she premiered her newest single, “Commander in Chief.” Her striking lyrics with seamless vocals blended nicely to illustrate the state of crisis during this time.

Even though this year’s awards show was anything but normal, the message behind the night remained the same: to recognize and celebrate the artists who truly have left a mark on the music industry and fans alike.