The Weeknd collected 10 awards on Sunday at the Billboard Music Awards in Los Angeles, including top artist, while fellow Canadian Drake was awarded artist of the decade on Sunday.
“I wanna take this opportunity to thank you, my parents,” said The Weeknd, who entered the show with 16 nominations. The pop star also won top male artist, top Hot 100 song for Blinding Lights and top R&B album for After Hours.
“I am the man I am today because of you. And thank you to my fans, of course. I do not take this for granted.”
It was a family affair at the award show at the Microsoft Theater, as Pink twirled in the air in a powerful performance with her daughter, while Drake accepted the artist of the decade award alongside his three-year-old son.
Drake, who extended his record as the most decorated winner in the history of the awards show to 29 wins, was surrounded by family and friends who presented him with the award. He walked onstage with his son Adonis holding his hand.
“I wanna dedicate this award to my friends, to my longtime collaborators … to my beautiful family, and to you,” he said, looking to Adonis and picking him up to kiss him.
Drake placed his first song on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 2009, and since has logged the most songs ever on the chart, with 232 entrees. He’s also logged a record 45 Top 10 hits on the Hot 100 and a record 22 No. 1s on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop songs chart.
He was also named top streaming songs artist Sunday.
‘Willow, you nailed it’
Pink received the icon award and was joined onstage by her nine-year-old daughter — showing off their powerful gymnastic skills as they spun in the air in a jaw-dropping performance. Known for her signature aerial and acrobatic moves, Pink was matched by daughter Willow Sage Hart as Cover Me In Sunshine played in the background, Pink’s song featuring vocals from her daughter.
“Willow, you nailed it,” Pink said after the performance. “I love what I do and I love the people that I get to do it with, and we’re pretty good at what we do, but it wouldn’t matter if no one came to see us and play with us. So all you guys out there … thank you for coming out!”
Pink’s performance was one of several pre-taped moments at the awards show, which aired on NBC and was hosted by Nick Jonas. Live performances were held outdoors, in front of feverish audience members wearing masks.
The late rapper Pop Smoke was also a big winner: He posthumously earned five honours, including top new artist and top rap artist, while his debut — Shoot for the Stars, Aim for the Moon — won top rap album and top Billboard 200 album, which his mother accepted onstage.
“Thank you to the fans for honouring the life and spirit of my son, so much that he continues to manifest as if he was still here in flesh,” Audrey Jackson said.
Another late rapper was also honoured during the show. Before presenting top rap song to DaBaby, Swizz Beatz dedicated a moment to those who have recently died in hip hop, including his close friend and collaborator DMX. And Houston rapper and activist Trae Tha Truth, who earned the Change Maker Award, ended his speech with a powerful sentence: “We still gon’ need justice for Breonna Taylor.”
Morgan Wallen wins 3 awards, but banned from participating
Other winners Sunday included Bad Bunny and BTS, who both won four awards and also performed. Breakthrough country singer Gabby Barrett won three awards, including top female country artist and top country song for the hit I Hope. The song’s remix featuring Charlie Puth won top collaboration.
“Oh my gosh. Thank y’all so much. This means so much to me,” Barrett said as she broke into tears. “I’ve been performing for 10 years really hard. We’ve worked so hard to get here.”
Another country star also won big Sunday, although he wasn’t allowed to participate in the show.
Morgan Wallen, who was caught on camera using a racial slur earlier this year, won three honours, including top country artist and top country album for Dangerous: The Double Album, which has had major success on the pop and country music charts despite the controversy.
Wallen was nominated for six awards, and Billboard Awards producer dick clark productions said it couldn’t prevent Wallen from earning nominations, or winning, because finalists are based on album and digital sales, streaming, radio airplay and social engagement. The producers did ban Wallen from performing or attending the show.