Credit: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Whatever happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, with the exception of the 2018 Billboard Music Awards, that is. Last night, some of music’s biggest stars gathered at the MGM Grand Arena in anticipation of a night full of performances and awards.

Kelly Clarkson solely replaced Ludacris after his four year reign as host of the award show. After an opening performance by Ariana Grande, she refuted the typical moment of silence for the recent Santa Fe tragedy, instead challenging people to take a moment of action and change.

Despite saying she’d keep her hosting gig “simple,” Clarkson later tapped into her singing ability to perform a medley of songs including Marren Morris’s “My Church,” Kendrick Lamar’s “Humble,” Khalid’s “Young, Dumb and Broke,” Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You,” Shawn Mendes’ “There’s Nothing Holding Me Back,” and Taylor Swift’s “Look What You Made Me Do.”

Ed Sheeran took home the award for Top Artist. Khalid beat out fellow nominees Kodak Black, Cardi B and 21 Savage for Top New Artist, and after a two year hiatus from award shows, Taylor Swift accepted the awards for Top Female Artist and Top Selling Album for her work on Reputation. Other winners of the night included Kendrick Lamar, Post Malone, and Cardi B.

History was made as Janet Jackson became the first black woman to receive the Billboard Icon Award. Following an introduction from Bruno Mars, who himself received a standing ovation from his peers, Janet, donning a gold sweater dress with matching thigh high sneakers, hit the stage for her first TV performance in 9 years.

In her acceptance ce speech, she expressed her gratitude for the award and her God given talent and stood with those women speaking out against discrimination. Most importantly, she reminded everyone of God’s importance during the chaotic times in our lives.

This is also a moment where our public discourse is loud and harsh,” she began. “My prayer is that weary of such noise, we turn back to the source of all calmness. That source, that source is God. Everything we lack, God has in abundance: compassion, sensitivity, patience and a boundless love.”

Throughout the night, artists took the stage to perform their Billboard charting hits. Camila Cabello collaborated with Pharrell for their track “Sangria Wine” before ending with the popular single “Havana.” Powerhouses Christina Aguilera and Demi Lovato belted out their song “Fall in Line” as they wore their shiny black trench coats, and J. Lo gave the world a live visual of “Dinero,” the song featuring DJ Khaled and fellow Bronx native Cardi B that was just released on Thursday.

The hostess Kelly Clarkson lit the stage up, this time with her own music, and award winner Khalid hit the stage twice: once for “Love Lies” with Normani and the second with Shawn Mendes and a Florida high school choir for a tribute to the Santa Fe shooting.

Perhaps the highlight and throwback of the night was the epic performance from rap duo Salt-N-Pepa and Spinderella. After thirty years of making Billboard History as the first female rap act to hit the Billboard Hot 100 Top 40, they brought the house down with a mashup of their hits “Shoop,” “Let’s Talk About Sex,” and “Push It,” and closed the show, reuniting with R&B group En Vogue for “Whatta Man.”

A complete list of the night’s winners can be found here.

Until next year…

Written By: Sweenie Nicole (IG: sweenie.nicole)


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