By Abby Hassler
The 2017 Billboard Music Awards aired at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas May 21 with hosts Ludacris and Vanessa Hudgens. The night offered several surprising and incredible moments from beginning to end.
From Drake’s stunned face watching Vanessa Hudgens awkwardly rap a Nicki Minaj track to the internet exploding with support for the K-Pop sensation BTS, the night was truly one to remember.
All-star performances from hit stars, such as Drake, Halsey, The Chainsmokers, Imagine Dragons, Bruno Mars and the legendary Cher, unfolded throughout the night for an eager crowd. In case you missed out, here are few of the biggest moments from this year’s BBMAs.
Nicki Minaj’s 9-Minute Opening Performance
The “No Frauds” rapper knows how to stun a crowd and get fans up on their feet. In her nine-minute opening performance, she performed a range of hits with special appearances from Jason Derulo, David Guetta and Lil Wayne.
Drawing Catwoman comparisons with her leather, studded outfits, she kicked off the award show in style. E! News reveals Minaj made history this past March when she beat out Aretha Franklin’s previous record for the number of Billboard Hot 100 hits from a woman. The rapper earned 76 hits compared to the Queen of Soul’s 73 chart-toppers.
Nicki Minaj News (@NickiData) May 22, 2017
Miley Cyrus showed her softer side with low-key “Malibu” debut performance
After years of music awards featuring stuffed animals and donning scantily clad outfits, Cyrus showed off her softer, more mature side with the debut performance of her latest single.
The 24-year-old was introduced by her father Billy Ray Cyrus and sister Noah Cyrus, the latter of which joked that it was Miley’s “first time [appearing] in years with pants on.”
The singer teared up afterward and thanked her fans. Cyrus previously dedicated this new song to her fiancé Liam Hemsworth, according to a recent interview with Billboard.
Miley Ray Cyrus (@MileyCyrus) May 22, 2017
Celine Dion performed “My Heart Will Go On” for Titanic 20th anniversary
Grab your tissues for this jaw-dropping performance. Dion truly knows how to tug at her audience’s heartstrings with her powerful voice and presence. The singer performed the powerful ballad while images from the movie played in the background.
Her appearance was particularly poignant, as Dion lost her husband, René Angélil, to a long battle with throat cancer early last year. It is no wonder the songstress left the entire crowd – including host Hudgens – with tears in their eyes.
Drake performed “Gyalchester” inside the Bellagio fountain
If you thought you loved Drake before – watch him perform his hit “Gyalchester” inside the Bellagio fountain with flames shooting up around him. The More Life rapper was dressed in all white and ran through his track with ease while fireworks and more exploded around him.
Cher proves she’s still got it with “Believe” and “If I Could Turn Back Time” performances
Though she turned 71 yesterday (May 20), Cher showed the world she has still it through her powerful performances of two of her hit singles. Donning her iconic black curly wig for one number and a revealing shiny outfit for another, she left the crowd with a performance to remember.
The legendary artist won the Billboard Icon Music Award and was honored with a tribute video for her lifetime achievement in the field. This was her first award show performance in 15 years.
Hollywood Reporter (@THR) May 22, 2017
Nicki Minaj’s face when Drake won Top 200 Billboard Album
During one of his many acceptance speeches, Drake complimented host Hudgens, saying she looked “incredible.” While sweet, the camera was aimed perfectly at Minaj who mouthed, “Excuse me? What about me?”
Inspiring memes to come, this moment was truly one of the unexpected highlights of the night. Thankfully, Drake went on to call out his admiration for Lil Wayne and others, including Minaj, saying, “I want to say, Nicki Minaj, I’m so glad we found our way back because I love you and I could never, ever see it any other way.”
Renato Mazariegos (@RPMSports18) May 22, 2017
Drake: "To Nicki Minaj, I'm so glad we found our way back, and I love you, and I couldn't see it any other way." ❤️ #BBMAs—
Nicki Minaj News (@NickiDaily) May 22, 2017
BTS becomes first K-Pop band to ever be nominated and win a Billboard Music Award.
The seven-member South Korean boy band BTS, also known as the Bangtan Boys, made Billboard history by being the first K-Pop group to be nominated – and win – an award.
Facing tough odds against the likes of Justin Bieber, the band won the award for Top Social Media Artist. This doesn’t come as a surprise with the internet exploding before, during and after the show with shots of the band and messages of encouragement from fans.
Top Social Artist 2011- Justin Bieber 2012- Justin 2013- Justin 2014- Justin 2015- Justin 2016- Justin 2017- B… twitter.com/i/web/status/8…—
소프 (@bangtaened) May 22, 2017
Drake won the night – and made Billboard history
By winning Billboard’s coveted Top Artist award this year, Drake broke Adele’s previous record for most Billboard award wins in a single year. The rapper took home 13 of the 22 awards he was nominated for this year.
Going up on stage, Drake brought his entire “family” with him, including his own father who donned a shiny purple suit. Lil Wayne, who was sporting a hoodie with Minaj’s image on it, bowed down to Drake as he won the award, following him onstage.
While happy about his win, Drake was a gracious winner, telling Adele that she would beat him out again once she released her next record.
Karen Civil (@KarenCivil) May 22, 2017
BillboardMusicAwards (@BBMAs) May 22, 2017