“A little fresh, a little funky, but kinda fun”: the 2022 Billboard Music Awards

After a three-year hiatus, the Billboard Music Awards are back


Photo courtesy of npr.org

Singer Mary J. Blige was recognized with the Icon Award at the BBMA last month

Antonio Conover, Arts & Culture Writer

After a three year hiatus, the Billboard music awards returned to the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on May 15. This has been the host site for the awards 18 times out of the 33 years it’s been running. 

The opening performance made for an energized night felt by everyone when host and performer, Diddy, announced his “special guest” Jack Harlow for a new rendition of the rapper’s recent hit “First class” which has been on the Billboard Hot 100 list for five weeks. This performance soon turned into a medley featuring various stars such as Bryson Tiller and Teyana Taylor. Diddy rightfully made the claim that he is in fact the “vibe curator.”

Diddy and Teyana Taylor finished their hip-hop masterclass by paying tribute to The Notorious B.I.G. with a spectacular performance of “Mo Money Mo Problems.” Taylor’s six-year-old daughter Junie even joined for the performance, and her split at the end should honestly have its own “best moment” for the evening. 

When it comes to best performances, Machine Gun Kelly rocked the stage with an emotional singing of his hit “Twin Flame” dedicating it to his fiancé Megan Fox and “unborn child.” He mentions at the start of his act, “I wrote this song for my wife.” 

“It was really interesting to see the ‘Emo Girl’ singer actually be emo,” said junior Zach Lawarence of MGK’s performance.  He further explains that his emotion and passion really came through in his voice, which was something he’d “never seen from a tatted rocker.” W

hat was really interesting about MGK’s opening statement is that nothing has officially been said regarding the two lovers’ wedding or any pregnancy. Will we see a younger version of a modeling, acting, hardcore rockstar soon?

As far as the actual awards go, this night was jam packed with nominees and winners of all sorts. Olivia Rodrigo dominated the night with six awards, some of them being in the Best Female Artist category and Radio Song Artist of the year. This 19-year old singer-songwriter has swept every award show she’s been to and continues to do so in magnificent style. 

Another prominent winner of the night is “STAY” by Justin Bieber and The Kid LAROI. Winning three awards in Global hit of the year, Hot 100 song and Best collaboration, this duo walked away decked out with trophies. 

Of course, Mary J. Blige and her Icon Award win marks another breakthrough for Black women in the music industry. Presented by former recipient, Janet Jackson, Blige took command of the arena three separate times while she accepted the award. Blige gives an emotional speech in regards to her identity as an artist and being honest to herself, “The message of my music has always been we are not alone in our struggles…I finally found my real love, and that real love is me.” 

As much as the night brought excitement and joy to many, it also caused some controversies and outrage with viewers. Billboard has been under fire and called out for being “tone deaf” while booking country singer Morgan Wallen to perform right after an anti-racism and social justice message was given. The country star was banned from performing at last year’s BBMA’s along with other award shows after videos surfaced of him saying racial slurs. While he attempted to take accountability, it wasn’t received by the rest of the public. Many took to Twitter with their complaints, saying the awards have no decency for minorities and people of color.

All in all, the 2022 BBMA’s made a great comeback after waiting out a pandemic, civil unrest and new emergence from the music world.

Many found the ceremony to be–in the words of junior Sofia Smith — “A little fresh, a little funky, but kinda fun.”