This was definitely The Weeknd’s year in music. His ode to lost love, Blinding Lights, did wonders for his career as he won 10 of the 16 categories he was nominated in at the 2021 Billboard Music Awards. The BBMAs also saw Korean pop sensation BTS winning all four categories they were nominated in and going down in history.
Defeating fellow nominees Drake, Juice WRLD, Pop Smoke, and Taylor Swift, The Weeknd took home the night’s biggest award, Top Artist. He also won the awards for top male artist, top hot 100 artists, top radio songs artist, top R&B artist, top R&B male artist, top R&B male artist, top R&B album for his album After Hours, top hot 100 song, top radio song, and top R&B song.
In his winning speech, The Weeknd thanked his parents and fans. However, he promised fans that he did not take success for granted. The late rapper Pop Smoke followed the Weeknd with five trophies, and BTS and Bad Bunny were tied at the third spot with four awards each.
Pop Smoke’s mother, Audrey Jackson, was present to receive his awards on his behalf. His posthumous awards were top Billboard 200 album, top new artist, top rap artist, top rap male artist, and top rap album. Up-and-coming rapper Pop Smoke, whose real name was Bashar Barakah Jackson, was only 20 years old when he was shot in February 2020.
Audrey remembered her son in a moving speech: “Thanks to all the fans for respecting his life and the spirit of my son. He created music for children who have to sleep four in the room, children who need to understand how to graduate and go to school every day to be proud of their mother. He did this, so the 14-year-old didn’t have to kill to prove who they were,” The 14-year-old referred to the unidentified teen who was charged with her son’s shooting.
In the plaza outside Los Angeles’s Microsoft Theatre, the ceremony took place in front of a fully vaccinated and masked live audience. All winners entered the stage via an enclosed backstage area to accept their awards.
Korean pop sensation BTS joined the ceremony virtually from Seoul, South Korea, much to the delight of ARMY worldwide. The group comprises leader RM and V, Jin, Suga, J-Hope, Jimin, and Jungkook, who bagged the award for top-selling song for their first-ever English single Dynamite and put the 2021 BBMAs stage on fire with their debut performance on Butter, which is their second English single. The hit septet also took home wins for the top duo/group, top song sales artist, and the fan-voted top social artist.
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