Tonight’s 2022 Billboard Music Awards promise a diverse range of performances, from soulful comeback Silk Sonic to Latin pop star Becky G to former country outcast Morgan Wallen.
This year’s edition of the show, hosted by Sean “Diddy” Combs and broadcast from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, will bring stage tours from Florence + The Machine, Latto, Megan Thee Stallion, Ed Sheeran (joining de his gig in Belfast, Northern Ireland) and, making his first appearance at an awards show since the Astroworld tragedy last fall, Travis Scott.
Unlike its celebratory peers, the Billboard Music Awards are not based on subjective voting by music industry insiders or even fans, but are based on hard numbers – specifically, Billboard chart performances. , including digital album and song sales, streaming and radio airplay. .
Now, about those performances:
Morgan Wallen, ‘Don’t Think Jesus’ and ‘Wasted on You’
Set on a square stage in the middle of the arena, Wallen – seemingly forgiven for being caught uttering a racial slur on video in 2021 – opted for a stripped-down approach and a lyrically sharp opening song. Surrounded by his four-piece band, Wallen strummed an acoustic guitar and upped the twang as he sang the chorus of “Don’t Think Jesus,” which includes the lyrics, “World likes to back back and throw a few stones / So boy wants to throw his own rocks / But God knows I’m not perfect Wallen leaned into the gritty qualities of his voice for his second offering, “Wasted on You,” a double-platinum hit from his “Dangerous: The Double Album,” which topped Billboard’s Top Country Albums chart for 55 weeks.
Latto, ‘Great Energy’
A standout export from the hip-hop mecca of Atlanta, Latto, joined by a sextet of dancers, sang his No. 1 club-sampling R&B-hip-hop hit Tom Tom with a snappy attitude. But there was no denying how much fun Latto was having as she twerked and twisted, banging her wavy mane in time with the pyro erupting behind her. For those unfamiliar with born upstart Alyssa Stephens, it was a star performance.
Miranda Lambert and Elle King, “Drunk (and I don’t want to go home)”
The primal drumbeat that fuels this scorcher of two-vocal power set the tone, and Lambert and King turned up his strumming force. Their performance survived a wobbly opening verse, but by the chorus, the two women – coordinated in black pants decorated with blue fringe, flames and stars – fell into the spirit of the song, singing along to full throttle like it’s 2am in a grimy pool hall. .
Florence + The Machine, ‘My Love’
The ever-enigmatic Florence Welch took the stage swathed in dry ice, her waist-length auburn hair and flowing cream-colored dress as captivating as her dramatic unveiling of “My Love.” Swirling across a stage strewn with scraps of paper that looked like letters (love notes, perhaps?), Welch was a startling sight under a halo of red lighting as she performed a slightly more rooty version of the disco-influenced song from the new album “Dance Fièvre.”
Rauw Alejandro, ‘Cúrame’ / ‘Museo’ / ‘Todo De Ti’
The Puerto Rican hitmaker known as the “king of modern reggaeton” launched into his trio of songs, sitting pensively during the ballad “Cúrame” in front of a lit tree trunk. But in a few moments, a phalanx of dancers joined him to navigate with agility “Museo” and “Todo De Ti” around a jungle of steel cubes. Alejandro, who performed for the first time on the BBMAs, is not only a fluid singer, but also an impressively flexible dancer.
Silk Sonic, “The Love Train”
In their now-iconic wide-lapel rust-colored suits, Bruno Mars, Anderson .Paak and the rest of Silk Sonic made their BBMA debuts with pelvic thrusts and Temptations-style dancing with their backup vocalists. “Love’s Train” is another cozy submission from their comeback project, filled with finger snaps, soft grooves and enough space for Mars to engage in skyward punches – and its glorious high notes. .
Diddy with Bryson Tiller and Jack Harlow, ‘She Don’t Want It’ / ‘First Class’ / ‘Mo Money, Mo Problems’
The opening segment featured host Diddy dancing on the main stage before opening the way for Bryson Tiller gliding through “She Don’t Want It”. The R&B star shared some verses and handed over the stage to Jack Harlow, who took over the spotlight with “First Class,” his latest single from new album “Come Home the Kids Miss You.” But Diddy isn’t one to sit on the sidelines and quickly reappeared in the middle of the MGM Grand Garden Arena to break a few lines from “Mo Money, Mo Problems”, the 1997 smash popularized by the late Notorious BIG, who would have turned 50 on May 21.