2020 Billboard Music Awards: Biggest Performances and Most Memorable Moments
By Zach Seemayer
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The 2020 Billboard Music Awards finally aired on Wednesday -- after being delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic -- and the wait was worth it. Some of the biggest names in music turned up for a ceremony that was packed with impressive performances.
Kelly Clarkson returned to host once again, and charismatically led a fun show filled with impressive musical numbers, stirring acceptance speeches and some truly unexpected surprises.
From Clarkson's powerful cover of Whitney Houston's "Higher Love" to Demi Lovato's call to action with the debut TV performance of her politically charged new single, Wednesday night saw some truly wild and wonderful moments unfold on stage.
Here's a look at some of the highlights you'll be talking about tomorrow from this year's Billboard Music Awards.
Kelly Clarkson Kicks Things Off With a 'Higher Love'
The singer and returning host wowed viewers at home and set the tone for the night with a loving cover of Whitney Houston’s “Higher Love." Clarkson was joined by two-time BBMA nominees Pentatonix and renowned drummer and Prince's protege, Sheila E, and the performers rocked the stage inside the empty theater.
The celebrated songstress looked like an incredible Christmas present come to life during her performance of "Courage to Change." Sia rocked an enormous golden bow in her pink wig, and a fuchsia cloak gown that also sported a massive bow design as she owned the spotlight.
Keys stepped out onto stage wearing a full glittering white bodysuit -- which stood out in stark, dazzling contrast to the vibrant red backdrop -- to perform "Love Looks Better," accompanied by a couple of dancers and a band. During the middle of her performance, she sat at a gorgeous grand piano and played the keys before continuing her empowering set. Her appearance also marked her first return to the Billboard Music Awards stage since her 2012 duet with Stevie Wonder.
Just weeks after Chrissy Teigen announced that she and Legend had lost their third child, the 41-year-old singer delivered a powerful performance of "Never Break," and it was easily the most emotional performance of the night. Legend dedicated the performance to his love before belting out the powerful, deeply touching tune that felt particularly timely considering the tragedy in their own lives.
Brandy gave her first-ever performance at the Billboard Music Awards on Wednesday, and delighted fans with a mix of her classic hits and new tunes. Brandy stepped out onto the Xfinity stage wearing a white top with long jacket and black pants. Her braided hair was in various top knots as she began her medley with her new song, "Borderline," before Ty Dolla $ign joined her for “No Tomorrow." The pair sang to each other while maintaining their distance on stage, before Brandy ended the performance as a solo act. The singer flawlessly transitioned into "Almost Doesn't Count."
Lizzo Makes a Statement With Her Acceptance Speech
After winning the Top Song Sales Artist award on Wednesday night, the "Truth Hurts" singer shared a message for others watching who have felt like their voices and their identities have been suppressed.
"I've been thinking a lot about suppression and the voices that refused be suppressed. I wonder, would I be standing here right now if it weren't for the big Black women who refused to have their voices be suppressed. I just want to say right now, if you're at home watching this and you are thinking about changing yourself to feel worthy, this is your sign to remain true to who you are," ," the 32-year-old artist said after thanking her team and fans.
"Let me tell you all something. When people try to suppress something, it's normally because that thing holds power," she continued. "They're afraid of your power there's power in who you are there's power in your voice. So whether it's through music, protests, or your right to vote, use your power, use your voice and refuse to be suppressed."
Doja Cat Goes Chicago
Pulling out all the stylish stops, Doja Cat hit the stage in a shimmering, fringe-covered body-hugging ensemble that gave serious Roxie Hart vibes for her performance of "Juicy." The number brought all the burlesque sexiness of Chicago and blended it with her own unique personality and sensibility to give viewers one of the most impressive, iconic experiences of the evening.
Killer Mike was honored with the first-ever Billboard Change Maker award, and he accepted the trophy while standing next to his wife, Shana Render, whom he thanked for her love and support before sharing a powerful message for those watching at home.
"Kids out there that sing and dance, what you do is worthy. You are artists, and your goal should be to express the very reality around you in the very most beautiful or ugliest of ways that you see fit.... you matter more than you know," Mike shared. "The kids plotting, planning, strategizing, on the ground mobilizing, you are needed more than ever. I'm a culmination of all these things."
Garth Brooks Is a Real Icon
Blame it all on his roots... 🏡 He showed up in boots... 🤠
The country music legend was honored with the Icon Award -- which was presented by none other than Cher -- and he celebrated the occasion with a medley of some of his most beloved hits. Brooks kicked off his epic medley performance with "The Thunder Rolls," before transitioning into "Callin' Baton Rouge," "The River," "Standing Outside the Fire," "Dive Bar," "Friends in Low Places" and "The Dance."
"If I had to thank one person, one entity, it would be God Almighty, for through Him all things are possible," Brooks shared after his performance, before also giving a shout out to "the love of my life," Trisha Yearwood, as well as his three daughters, adding, "I will love you for all my time on this planet."
Demi Lovato Gets Political With the Debut of Her New Tune
Post Malone took home the big award of the night, Top Artist, and after delivering a heartfelt and touching acceptance speech, he was in for a big surprise. With his award for Top Artist, Malone won a total of nine trophies, and Clarkson wheeled them out on a cart so she could present them to him while staying socially distanced. Malone was floored by the sheer number of trophies and it was a genuinely sweet moment to help end the ceremony.