(LOS ANGELES) — The 2020 Billboard Music Awards aired on Wednesday night and it was nothing short of a star-studded, performance-packed celebration of music.

For the third consecutive Kelly Clarkson-hosted the awards ceremony, however, this year she didn’t have the pleasure of being in front of a live audience. Nonetheless, with the help of Pentatonix and percussionist Sheila E., she kicked off the show with a powerhouse performance of Whitney Houston’s “Higher Love.”

Others to take the stage included Sia, Kane Brown, Swae Lee, Khalid, Luke Combs, Bad Bunny, Dojo Cat, Alicia Keys, Post Malone and Brandy. 

John Legend performed his ballad “Never Break” and dedicated it to his wife, Chrissy Teigen, who recently suffered a pregnancy loss. “This is for Chrissy,” he said softly before belting out the emotional lyrics. 

Garth Brooks also took the stage after he was presented with this year’s ICON Award by Cher, an icon in her own right and former recipient of the award. The country legend performed a medley of his hits, which included “Friends In Low Places,” “The Thunder Rolls,” and “The River.”

In between the plentiful performances, Post Malone accepted two awards — including Top Artist — but, in total, went home with nine out of the 16 that he was nominated.

Similarly, Billie Eilish accepted two awards, Top Billboard 200 Artist and Top Female Artist.  Both times she delivered short and simple thank you speeches that reminded viewers to wear a mask, wash their hands and stay safe. 

Lizzo also delivered a message to viewers after she snagged the award for Top Song Sales Artist. Not only did she rock a dress with the word “VOTE” written all over it, she shared a powerful and inspirational message urging fans to stay true to who they are and “refuse to be suppressed.”

Demi Lovato also roused voters by delivering the debut performance of her new single “Commander In Chief,” a record which criticizes President Donald Trump.

Aside from the coronavirus-induced changes, the 2020 BBMA’s introduced two new awards at this year’s ceremony — the Billboard Change Maker Award, which was awarded to rapper and activist Killer Mike, and the Chart Achievement Award, which Harry Styles won. 

Closing out the show was En Vogue with their 1992 hit “Free Your Mind”, a song with lyrics that boasts a message of anti-prejudice.

By Danielle Long
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