Who left it all on the stage during this year’s Billboard Music Awards? We ranked all 18 performances from the explosive show, and you don’t want to miss our list!
Last night (May 22) the Billboard Music Awards took place at the T-Mobile arena in Las Vegas. Hosted by Ludacris and Ciara, the show honored some of the most commendable releases of the last year of music. The Weeknd and Adele emerged as the most awarded hitmakers of the evening, while the iconic Britney Spears and Celine Dion took home the top awards in honor of their respective contributions to the musical scene.
The competition for a trophy was fierce, but it was the stage performances that made the Billboard Music Awards one of the best awards shows in recent memory…
This year’s lineup of performers pulled out all of the stops to breathe life into their releases. Celebrated talents included Madonna, Gwen Stefani, and Rihanna strutted their stuff alongside rising talents such as Troye Sivan and Shawn Mendes. Explosives were lit off, magic occurred, and Pink (unsurprisingly) swung from the ceiling (literally). Last night’s show was truly one for the books, and it was all down to the fantastic showmanship displayed onstage! Seriously, why can’t they all be this flawless?
For your viewing pleasure, we have ranked all 18 performances from this year’s Billboard Music Awards! Check out where your favs fell on our list below!
18. Gwen Stefani and Blake Shelton: “Go Ahead and Break My Heart”
Music’s latest “hot” couple Gwen Stefani and Blake Shelton came together onstage to perform their romantic duet “Go Ahead and Break My Heart.” The resulting performance was lush with cute and flirty glances, and Stefani was without a doubt stunning in her bedazzled gown; however, her distinctive voice struggled to meld with Shelton’s twang on the chorus. It was a cute public showing of their romance, but we’re not quite sold on the single just yet…
17. Lukas Graham: “7 Years”
This year’s Billboard Music Awards served as a learning experience as well as an expose on the hottest music of the last year. During the show Danish newcomers Lukas Graham took the stage to perform their wildly successful “7 Years,” and it was at that moment that I realized that Lukas Graham was a group and not just a solo act. You learn something new every day! Beyond the shocking revelation, the group’s performance was striking with it’s stripped back nature but failed to bring anything really new to the game. We’ll stick to singing along on the radio, if that’s alright with you!
16. The Go-Go’s: “We’ve Got The Beat”
The most successful all female rock group of all time took the stage at the BBMAs ahead of their impending farewell tour to perform one of their first chart-toppers on an awards stage one last time. The five some rocked their way through “We’ve Got The Beat” with the energy and finesse that they are renowned for, and it was refreshing to hear the iconic song performed live one more time!
15. Pink: “Just Like Fire”
Music’s most athletic performer Pink used her stage time during the Billboard Music Awards to showcase yet another acrobatic performance. Performing her Through The Looking Glass single “Just Like Fire,” the songstress flew across the stage while dressed in the entire “goth” section from Forever 21. The performance was visually impressive… the first six times we saw it. By now, while Pink’s gymnastic abilities are stunning, they’re also a little been there, done that. Love the pink hair though!
14. Demi Lovato: “Cool for the Summer”
Demi Lovato rocked out to her tried and tested “Cool for the Summer” immediately after her bestie and summer tour mate Nick Jonas finished up a slinky set with Tove Lo. The pop rocker performed in front of a bedazzled stage piece complete with sparklers that erupted from the top. We’re always down for a taste of the cherry, but Demi’s vocal gymnastics seemed just the slightest bit strained this time around. Props for your socially conscious shirt though, Dem!
13. Madonna and Stevie Wonder: “Nothing Compares 2 U” and “Purple Rain”
Madonna closed out this year’s Billboard Music Awards with a heartfelt but controversial tribute to the late Prince. Opening with a recorded introduction, Madonna emerged on the stage in a luxurious purple chair before performing an emotional rendition of Prince’s “Nothing Compares 2 U.” You can feel the pain in her voice, as Madge mourned for her lost friend. Things took a turn for the uplifting as the pop queen was joined by Stevie Wonder, and the audience joined in for a rousing performance of “Purple Rain.” Overall it was a truly moving tribute to the late icon, and we appreciate Madonna’s effort (even if BET was less than impressed).
12. Justin Bieber: “Company” and “Sorry”
He may hate awards shows, but it looks like Justin Bieber still knows how to put on a show. Bieber hopped onstage to perform a medley of his latest single “Company” and fan favorite “Sorry,” serving some (and we do mean some) live vocals and fierce choreography for his frantic fans in the audience. Our biggest complaint is that the “What Do U Mean” crooner was totally lost in the production during the first section of his set. The light show was impressive but totally overwhelming. That being said, we’ll keep you company anytime Biebs! We don’t even need to take a photo after meeting…
11. Meghan Trainor: “No”
Following the release of Thank You earlier this month, Meghan Trainor served something fierce during her performance of “No” on the Billboard Music Awards stage. The “All About That Bass” siren gave us her best pop princess routine, as she danced along with a hoard of backup dancers. Bedecked in a glittering gown M-Train delivered a solid performance and left us more than impressed by her pop game!
10. DNCE: “Cake by the Ocean”
Joe Jonas and his fellow bandmates of DNCE pulled out all the stops for the last huge televised performance of breakout single “Cake by the Ocean.” The quartet stormed the stage amidst a sea of vibrant red balls that rained down on the audience. Cutest moments of the performance has to go to the brotherly antics between Nick and Joe, as Nick sang along and joyfully recorded his bro in the audience. Brotherly love like that warms the heart!
9. Troye Sivan: “Youth”
Troye Sivan took the stage after being recognized as Kia’s “One to Watch” to grace the Billboard Music Awards with current single “Youth.” The newcomer showcased live vocals and the most adorable dance moves you’ve ever seen over the synth-heavy production. “Let’s go Billboard” Sivan shouted before an extended and euphoric instrumental break set the scene for a grand finale! For his first major awards show performance Sivan more than delivered on energy, and we’re looking forward to many more years of performances from the hitmaker.
8. Nick Jonas and Tove Lo: “Close”
After stealing our hearts on the pink carpet (I need that damn jacket), the ever-fashionable Nick Jonas delivered a seductive live showing of current single “Close” alongside Tove Lo. The steel drum production on the moody stood out amongst the other performances, and Nick and Tove served some sultry looks and onstage magic. Performing in front of a large mirror, Nick’s reflection was joined by the Swedish powerhouse, before she appeared from behind the mirror. Vocals were on point, and the chemistry was palpable between the adorable and talented twosome. The twosome ended their set with a steamy kiss that is bound to leave people talking, and their performance was followed by an epic transition into Demi Lovato’s performance. Sorry Gwen and Blake, but these guys may be our new favorite musical couple…
7. Shawn Mendes: “Stitches”
Displaying the wide ranges of his musicality, Shawn Mendes delivered impeccable vocals as well as a piano and guitar performance during his set at the Billboard Music Awards. Performing the hugely successful earworm that is “Stitches,” Mendes was the epitome of adorable young superstar. Performing in a bedroom set with rain falling outside the windows, the atmosphere was cozy and intimate for the heart wrenching performance.
6. Ariana Grande: “Dangerous Woman” and “Into You”
Flying high of this weekend’s release of Dangerous Woman, Ariana Grande made a bid for the mantle of pop’s budding princess during her set at the Billboard Music Awards. Kicking things off with a (very) strange and vocoderized version of the album’s title track, Grande didn’t hit her stride until breaking into second single “Into You.” The summery anthem was performed with a crew of dancers and showcased a more sumptuous side of the performer’s onstage skills. Delivering a commendable vocal performance and making an attempt at some choreography, Grande has officially entered the ring and this dangerous woman ain’t settling for second best…
5. Rihanna: “Love On The Brain”
Eschewing the opportunity to promote either of her current singles “Kiss It Better” or “Needed Me,” Rihanna used her screen time during the Billboard Music Awards to pay tribute to ANTi album track “Love on the Brain.” Keeping things simple, Rihanna dressed herself in a stole made out of Sully from Monsters Inc. (savage) and served some of the most impressive vocals of the evening in front of a burnt out stage set. The performance is easily one of her most vocally stunning to date, and the “Diamonds” stunner continues to switch up her game all while remaining the baddest bitch in the industry. Well played Ri Ri!
4. Fifth Harmony
The ladies of Fifth Harmony brought their A-Game when they hit the Billboard Music Awards alongside Ty Dolla $ign to perform Top 5 single “Work From Home,” and the ladies delivered in spades. Serving choreography in front of a jungle-inspired set the gorgeous ladies cemented their status as the preeminent girl group on the scene. Ty Dolla $ign’s presence during the performance is just as questionable and as unnecessary as it is on the track, but Camila effectively saw him off the stage with some already iconic air-humping. As the ladies proceed further into their career, their natural energy on stage becomes all the more evident and fresh!
3. Celine Dion: “The Show Must Go On”
Following a heartfelt introduction from Seal, Celine Dion took the stage for a jaw-dropping performance of Queen’s “The Show Must Go On.” Accompanied by a full orchestra and the acclaimed violinist Lindsey Stirling, Dion rocked the audience and more than proved herself worth of the Icon Award she received moments after her performance. Celine remains one of the most incredibly talented vocalists in the game, and her performance last night only added to her legacy. It also left the masses in tears, as she dedicated the stunning moment to her late husband before tearfully accepting her award from her son. A true icon through and through, we were left offering Dion a standing ovation!
2. Kesha: “It Ain’t Me, Babe”
The performance that almost did not take place became one of the most jaw-dropping moments of this year’s Billboard Music Awards. After almost being stopped from performing due to contention from Dr. Luke, Kesha was able to take the stage to perform a stunning tribute to her musical icon Bob Dylan. Accompanied by violin and piano, Kesha’s voice rose triumphantly over the 1964 hit “It Ain’t Me, Babe” with an air of true triumph. The restrained performance became all the more powerful, as the “Die Young” songstress took a teary breath before hitting her peak in the final moments. Her stunning vocals were met with a standing ovation that could not have been more well-deserved. The performance proves that Kesha possesses one of the most massively underrated voices in the industry, and that her star continues to burn brightly despite all of the horrors that she has faced in recent years. We hope that we would be able to rise to situations with as much class and strength as she has shown. Let’s all be #KeshaStrong.
1.Britney Spears: Medley
As the third ever recipient of the Billboard Music Awards’ coveted Millennium Award and the show’s opener, pop goddess Britney Spears had much to live up to when she took the stage to perform a medley of hits from her massive discography. Borrowing some stage pieces from her Britney: Piece of Me Vegas showcase, and flaunting her ridiculously toned body (note to self:time to start taking yoga more seriously) in a bejeweled costume, Spears vibrated with life as she worked her way through the nearly eight minute performance. Kicking things off with a rousing (but slightly stiff) rendition of “Work Bitch,” B-Girl proceeded to get to work.
Finding her stride during a dance break after her 2008 chart-topper “Womanizer,” Britney lost herself in the music and reminded the audience exactly why her career has persisted for more than 15 years. Brit straddled a larger-than-life guitar while performing a cover of “I Love Rock & Roll” (odd, but HAWT) and served some sultry moves with her dances on In The Zone cut “Breathe On Me.” She took a turn on the stripper pole and electrified the breakdown to “Slave 4 U” before becoming one of the first artists to perform an ode to masturbatory acts with “Breathe On Me’s” equally sexy counterpart “Touch of My Hand.” After pulling out an assisted backflip, Brit donned a feathered boa and brought the performance to a close with fan-favorite “Toxic.” A brilliant smile lit her face during the final moments, and her passion for the game was massively evident. All these year’s later, and Britney Spears is still serving her signature spark.
Being her first solo televised performance in nearly a decade, the moment was particularly triumphant for Spears and her fans. She rose from the ashes of her difficult past and her evident nerves to reclaim her spot in the spotlight. Game, set, match…
What were your favorite performances from this year’s Billboard Music Awards? Weigh in below or on our Facebook or Twitter!