The Weeknd, Doja Cat and Olivia Rodrigo top Billboard Music Award nominations
After booking Morgan Wallen, the Billboard Music Awards have added another controversial artist to their 2022 show: Travis Scott, who will give his first televised performance since a wave of crowds at Astroworld injured hundreds and killed 10 people. .
A press release did not specify what Scott plans to do during his performance. He’s also up for a Billboard Music Award this year, with the HVME remix of his track “Goosebumps” nominated for Top Dance/Electronic Song.
Along with Scott, the BBMAs have added Ed Sheeran, Becky G, Elle King and Miranda Lambert to the 2022 lineup. They all join Wallen, Silk Sonic, Florence and the Machine, Maxwell, Megan Thee Stallion, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Burna Boy
The announcement of Scott’s BBMA booking came after he delivered his first public performance since Astroworld, a 45-minute set at Miami nightclub E11even. Scott was also recently announced as the headliner for the upcoming Primavera Sound festival in Brazil, where he will perform on November 6, exactly one day after the first anniversary of the Astroworld tragedy. Scott is also expected to be added to other festivals this summer.
But even as he returns to the public eye, Scott remains at the center of a series of disputes over Astroworld, where 10 people died and hundreds were injured in a crowd during his filming. The rapper is one of the main defendants in more than 380 lawsuits filed by victims and participants, all of which have been combined into one main case. The lawsuit alleges that Astrowrold was negligently planned and staged, and that the influx of crowds was avoidable. Scott and the other defendants have denied the allegations against them.
As for Wallen, his The BBMA slot will arrive just months after the country music industry welcomed it with open arms to the Academy of Country Music Awards in March. Wallen – who won album of the year for Dangerous: the double album — had been kicked out of last year’s show, one of many industry-wide repercussions he faced after he was caught on video casually using the n-word. Despite the controversy, Wallen’s music remained a wild successand after spending much of 2021 on a apology visithe kept stepping into the limelight with new music and a massive arena tour.
MRC Live and Alternative, which produces the BBMAs, explained the decision to book Wallen in an internal memo shared via Billboard. According to the memo, the decision came after internal discussions, as well as discussions between MRC and Wallen’s team; MRC staff members were reportedly convinced that Wallen was committed to improving and learning more, and that the 2021 incident was not part of frequent behavior. (Billboard and rolling stone are both owned by the same company, PMRC, which came into being in 2020 after a merger between MRC and Penske Media Corporation.)
“We oppose discrimination, harassment or racism of any kind,” the MRC said. “We believe in treating everyone with dignity and respect. After extensive review and extensive discussions internally and with the artist team, in which we found a demonstrated and ongoing commitment to meaningful work and outreach, we have issued an invitation to participate in this year’s show .
Meg and Burna Boy will both perform at the BBMAs for the first time this year, while the Red Hot Chili Peppers will return to the show for the first time in 23 years. The initial lineup for this year’s show also includes Rauw Alejandro and Latto, while other artists will be announced in the coming weeks.
The Weeknd earned the most nominations (17) for this year’s Billboard Music Awards, while Doja Cat and Olivia Rodrigo followed closely with 14 and 13 nominations, respectively.
The Weeknd, Doja and Rodrigo were all nominated for Best Artist, alongside Drake and Taylor Swift. Doja Cat and Rodrigo will also compete for Best Female Artist against Adele, Dua Lipa and Swift, while the Weeknd will compete for Best Male Artist against Drake, Ed Sheeran, Justin Bieber and Lil Nas X.
In the Top New Artist category, Rodrigo – who just won Best New Artist at the Grammys – will take on Giveon, Masked Wolf, Pooh Shiesty and the Kid Laroi. Meanwhile, the Top Duo/Group category will include BTS, Glass Animals, Imagine Dragons, Migos, and Silk Sonic. (A full list of nominees is available here.)
Billboard Music Awards nominees and winners are based on various factors such as digital album and song sales, streaming numbers, radio airplay, and social engagement. The qualifying period for this year’s show is from April 10, 2021 to March 26, 2022, and the aforementioned measures are tracked by Billboard and its various data partners. (Billboard and rolling stone share the same parent company, PMRC.)
Other BBMA nominees this year include Drake, who is up for 11 categories and is already the most decorated performer in the show’s history with 29 wins. Swift, however, has 25 wins, which means she could surpass Drake if she wins enough of her seven awards (she’s even been nominated twice in the Top Country Album category for “Taylor’s Versions” of Red and Without fear). Bieber also has a chance to add to his 21 BBMA wins thanks to his 13 nominations this year.
The 2022 BBMAs will feature five new categories, four of which are based on Billboardand the one that measures viral songs: Top Billboard Global 200 Artist, Top Billboard Global Excl. American Artist, Top Billboard Global 200 Song and Top Billboard Global Excl US Song.
The BBMAs air live May 15 at 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT on NBC (they will also air live on Peacock). The show, which is open to the public, will take place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas; Tickets are on sale now.
This story was updated 4/19/22 at 10:51 a.m. ET with artists for the 2022 Billboard Music Awards. This story was updated 4/29/22 2:00 PM ET with new artists and information on the decision to book Morgan Wallen. This story was updated on 05/09/22 3:00 PM ET with new artists and information about Travis Scott and the Astroworld tragedy.