Billboard Music Awards, Music News, News

2021 Billboard Music Awards Preview: What to Expect

The 2021 Billboard Music Awards will broadcast live from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles on Sunday, May 23, 2021. Viewers can watch on NBC or through Peacock, YouTube TV, or Hulu Live TV at 8pm ET/5pm PT.

Host & Presenters:

Nick Jonas will be hosting the show this year, taking the role from Kelly Clarkson - who hosted the BBMAs for three years in a row. Presenters include Cynthia Erivo, Chelsea Handler, Dixie D'Amelio, Gabrielle Union, Henry Golding, Kathryn Hahn, Kelsea Ballerini, Lena Waithe, Leslie Odom Jr., Lil Rel Howery, Padma Lakshi, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Renee Elise Goldsberry, Swizz Beatz, Tina Knowles-Lawson, Jon Bon Jovi, and Michelle Obama.


P!nk, who is receiving the Icon Award, will give a performance during the ceremony. So will Alicia Keys, who will be singing a medley of tunes from Songs in A Minor in celebration of her debut album's 20th anniversary. Additionally, Korean pop group BTS will be debuting their new single "Butter" in a special performance.

The lineup of the night also includes performances from The Weeknd, Doja Cat and SZA, AJR, Bad Bunny, Karol G, DJ Khaled featuring H.E.R. and Migos, Duran Duran, Glass Animals, Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis with Sounds Of Blackness featuring Ann Nesby, Twenty One Pilots, and Jonas Brothers and Marshmello.


Although snubbed by the Grammys, The Weeknd leads the pack with 16 BBMA nominations. DaBaby is the second most-nominated artist of the night, with 11 nods. The late Pop Smoke has 10, and Gabby Barrett - the most nominated female artist of the night - has 9. Drake, who holds the record for most career wins at the BBMAs, has 7 bids.

Other artists with multiple nominations include Megan Thee Stallion, Morgan Wallen, Taylor Swift, Dua Lipa, AC/DC, and late rapper Juice WRLD, who, along with Pop Smoke, has a nod in the Top Artist category.

The Billboard Music Awards are based on the chart period of March 21, 2020, through April 3, 2021. Two of the 51 categories are fan-voted: Top Collaboration and Social Artist. If you're wondering why the awards ceremony is happening so soon this year, it's because last year's BBMAs were postponed to October due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

You can find the full list of nominees here. Find the nominees for the "big four" categories below.

Top Artist
Juice WRLD
Pop Smoke
Taylor Swift
The Weeknd

Top New Artist
Gabby Barrett
Doja Cat
Jack Harlow
Pop Smoke
Rod Wave

Top Billboard 200 Album
Juice WRLD, Legends Never Die
Lil Baby, My Turn
Pop Smoke, Shoot for the Stars, Aim for the Moon
Taylor Swift, folklore
The Weeknd, After Hours

Top Hot 100 Song
24kGoldn ft. iann dior, “Mood”
Gabby Barrett ft. Charlie Puth, “I Hope”
Chris Brown & Young Thug, “Go Crazy”
DaBaby ft. Roddy Ricch, “ROCKSTAR”
The Weeknd, “Blinding Lights”

Special Awards:

As mentioned, P!nk will receive the Icon Award. She is the 10th artist granted the award and the youngest to receive it. Drake will be honored as the Artist of the Decade. Besides his 27 BBMA wins, he's earned a number of accolades including nine #1 albums on the Billboard 200 chart (the most for any artist of the decade), and 45 Top 10 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 (again: the most for any artist of the decade).

Additionally, rapper Trae Tha Truth will be the recipient of the Change Maker award. The award honors artists who have excelled in social justice. Trae Tha Truth is being honored for starting his nonprofit organization Angel By Nature, which supplies the Houston community with various relief efforts.

Pre-Show Information:

Live From E!: Billboard Music Awards will begin at 6:30pm ET/3:30pm PT on E! Tanya Rad will be hosting backstage interviews with winners and nominees, while E! News' Daily Pop co-host Justin Sylvester and Rocsi Diaz will be live onsite with pop culture expert Naz Perez.

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Article Image: The Billboard Music Awards logo. (Billboard [Available through Public Domain] via Wikimedia Commons.)

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About Kathryn Milewski

  • New Jersey