Who won at the 2018 Billboard Music Awards? Who (if anyone) pulled off the biggest upsets? And who made history? The awards were presented on May 20 during a live telecast on NBC hosted by Billboard Award winner Kelly Clarkson. Check out the full list of winners here, find out how to stream the awards here, and scroll down for our live blog of all the winners as they’re announced.
The Billboard Awards recognize achievements in 57 categories covering record sales, radio airplay, streaming performance, touring and social engagement. But most of the winners were actually announced earlier in the day on May 20. Kendrick Lamar was the biggest winner from those 45 pre-telecast categories. The acclaimed rap artist received six prizes including Top Billboard 200 Album (“Damn”) and Top Rap Artist. Bruno Mars won five times including Top R&B Artist and Top R&B Album (“24K Magic”). And Ed Sheeran and Imagine Dragons were next with four victories apiece.
Lamar, Mars and Sheeran came into these awards with 15 nominations apiece, including Top Artist of the Year where they faced the defending champ Drake and two-time previous winner Taylor Swift. Drake picked up one award before the telecast (Top Billboard 200 Artist) while Swift has won no awards thus far.
In addition to Top Artist, there were 11 other categories decided during the live BBMAs telecast: Top New Artist, Top Male Artist, Top Female Artist, the Billboard Chart Achievement Award, Top Social Artist, Top Dance/Electronic Artist, Top Selling Album, Top Hot 100 Song, Top Collaboration, Top Rap Song and Top Country Song.
So who won the rest of these kudos? Find out below. All times listed are Eastern.
8:00pm — With only 12 awards left to give out, does Kendrick Lamar’s leading number of pre-telecast awards mean he’s the man to beat for Top Artist where he faces Ed Sheeran and Bruno Mars? Mars was the front-runner according to our racetrack odds.
8:16pm — “This is for the youth. This is for the young believers,” says Khalid upon accepting the award for Top New Artist, the first prize of the night. We had been predicting that this award would go to Cardi B with Camila Cabello best positioned to upset, so this outcome came as a surprise to our users. Khalid had five total nominations at the BBMAs, and this is his only win.
8:30pm — The second award of the night goes to Luis Fonsi, Daddy Yankee and Justin Bieber for “Despacito,” which spent a record-tying 16 weeks at number-one on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart. Tonight “Despacito” was also awarded Top Selling Song, Top Latin Song and Top Streaming Song (Video). Fonsi accepted the award by saying, “This one goes out to all my Latino brothers, immigrants, dreams … Puerto Rico, this goes out to you.”
8:41pm — “Shout out to the future female artists who just picked up a guitar,” said Taylor Swift upon claiming Top Female Artist for the third time, a new record for that category. She also shouted out the female artists she’s currently touring with, including her rival for this award Camila Cabello. Swift is also up for Top Artist of the Year, which she has also won twice before. Another win for her there would set a new record as well.
9:02pm — “I want to dedicate this award to Avicii … He inspired all of us, influenced our music,” said Andrew Taggart, one half of the EDM duo The Chainsmokers, who won Top Dance/Electronic Artist. They dedicated the award to fellow EDM star Avicii, who died by suicide in April at just 28-years-old.
9:13pm — The popular K-pop band BTS wins the award for Top Social Artist for the second year in a row, much to the unmistakable delight of the audience at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Before these two consecutive wins by BTS this award had been won by Justin Bieber every single year from 2011-2016.
9:33pm — “I just want to say thank you to everyone for supporting me, to my fans,” said Post Malone upon winning Top Rap Song with 21 Savage for “Rockstar,” which spent eight week at number-one on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart at the end of 2017. This is his first Billboard Award, and perhaps a surprise considering he was up against BBMAs juggernaut Kendrick Lamar for “Humble.”
9:45pm — Taylor Swift wins again! Her “Reputation” wins Top Selling Album. “Thank you for continuing to show up,” she said to her fans. She thanks them for their continued support even through a period when she felt “misunderstood.” “Reputation” sold more than 1.2 million albums in its first week, which made it the best selling album of 2017 and the best selling single week for an album since 2015. Swift is also the only artist to have achieved four million-selling weeks in their career.
10:05pm — Janet Jackson accepts the ICON Award for her substantial career achievements. She’s the first black woman ever to receive the honor, and she gets a standing ovation after her performance “I’m deeply humbled and grateful for this award. For all our challenges, we live at a glorious moment in history … Women have made it clear that we will no longer be controlled, manipulated or abused. I stand with those women and those men equally outraged,” says Jackson upon accepting the award from presenter Bruno Mars.
10:14pm — Sam Hunt wins Top Country Song for “Body Like a Back Road.” The crossover hit reached the top-10 on the Hot 100 singles chart and it was the longest-running number-one hit in the history of the Hot Country Songs chart with a whopping 34 weeks on top. He accepted the award saying, “To everyone in this room, you all are shaping the culture in this country.”
10:41pm — Fans voted for Camila Cabello to win the Billboard Chart Achievement Award. During her acceptance speech she reminisced about performing at the Billboard Music Awards in 2017: “I was a nervous wreck,” she said about her first performance at the event as a solo artist. “It’s been a year now of me embarking on this journey,” so she thanked her fans for making it happen.
10:53pm — Ed Sheeran wins Top Artist of the Year! It’s his first victory in the top category, and it’s a slight upset as our racetrack odds favored Bruno Mars to take the prize. Unfortunately, Sheeran is on tour so he couldn’t accept the award in person, but he accepted it from Dublin. To celebrate he said, “I’ll have a Guinness!”
11:27pm — Though they weren’t presented live on the air, the Billboard Music Awards also announced on Twitter the winners for Best Collaboration (“Despacito” by Fonsi, Yankee and Bieber) and Top Male Artist (Ed Sheeran). Those victories are no surprise given that both won other top awards tonight.