The Billboard Music Awards descended on Las Vegas Sunday, bringing musical stars from far and wide. K-Pop sensation BTS took the Nevada desert by storm, becoming the first act from the genre to perform in the event’s history. Their fans came out in force as well, filling the theater to the brim with screams and gasps, and Twitter with memes. There was more. With Janet Jackson becoming the first Black woman to ever receive the Icon Award, Khalid’s two sweet performances, the moment between Demi Lovato and Christina Aguilera, and J. Lo’s blistering stage show, it’s clear the show’s producers were hoping to create a memorable night. Whether they succeeded or not is completely up to you, and there’s only one way to judge.
Here are the top 7 moments from the 2018 Billboard Music Awards.
Kelly Clarkson Takes Center Stage
Clarkson’s opener mashed her infectious optimism with some of the most identifiable music of the moment in a medley that set the Billboard Awards off in style. Highlights from her first number included a rendition of Kendrick Lamar’s “Humble”, Imagine Dragon’s “Thunder” (she completely revamped), Cardi B and Bruno Mars “Finesse (remix)” and Taylor Swift’s “Look What You Made Me Do” among others. Kelly definitely reminded America why she was its first idol.
Christina Aguilera and Demi Lovato Share A Moment
Ominous and powerful, Aguilera and Lovato’s performance featured soldier-like figures and intricate choreography while their voices crackled through the Vegas air. They finished facing each other, their foreheads touching in a powerful embrace. “Fall In Line” is feminist, dynamic and sure to be a chart topper.
Khalid And Normani Harmonize
Khalid grabbed the trophy for Top New Artist at the awards, then tore up the stage with 5th Harmony’s own Normani. His sumptuous vocals were soon ratcheted up by her rich voice, creating a tandem that delivered one of the best performances of the night.
Jennifer Lopez and DJ Khaled Perform “Dinero”
Looking like a bag-a-money, J Lo lifted the crowd to its feet with her performance of “Dinero”. The track is making a bid to be the coveted song of the summer, with J. Lo boasting about her earning power and Cardi B (she didn’t attend the awards show) jumping in for the clean up. It’s got everything. And J. Lo killed it on stage.
Janet Jackson Rocks the Icon Award
Jackson was the first Black woman to win Billboard’s “Icon” Award—and she won’t be the last. The singer absolutely destroyed her performances of “Nasty Boy”, “If, and “Throb, stalking the stage with her usual energy, and dousing fans with four decades worth of nostalgia. She used her speech as an opportunity showcase her spiritual side, asking for the collective “us” to turn to God in these strange and turbulent times.
Salt-n-Pepa and En Vogue Light Up The Stage
It’s been 30 years since “Push It” made the Hip-Hop stars the first women rap artists in the top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100. Now, they find themselves tearing up the stage in a massive finale performance that brought back the thrill of the 90s. The gig wasn’t happenstance. The duo recently secured a Las Vegas residency—the first Hip-Hop act to ever do so.
BTS Gives The Performance of a Lifetime
The Bangtan Boys already have Korea in their back pocket and now they’re ready to take on the world. Their Billboard Awards performance was electrifying and illuminating, giving homage to the superbly choreographed boy bands of the Backstreet Boys era while adding their own style in the form of Hip-Hop melodies and rhyme schemes. These guys are here to stay.