As the Billboard Music Awards draw near (they’re this Sunday night, May 15), it’s time to discuss which artists will be taking home the biggest categories of the night: Top Male Artist, Top Female Artist, Top Duo/Group, and the all-inclusive Top Artist.
Top Male Artist
This category will be a face-off between Drake and The Weeknd. The former topped the Billboard year-end Top Male Artists chart, which gives him an obvious advantage. However, the Billboard Music Awards deadline was in March, a few months after the year-end charts, which could make the difference. The Weeknd has not only had more longevity than Drake, he also dropped a whole new album in 2022. With all of that, don’t count out a Weeknd upset here, especially considering he leads nominations this year and has two big albums still in rotation (plus a greatest hits collection, “The Highlights,” that has regularly been in the top 10). Neither of these artists are strangers to this award, with Drake winning in 2017 and 2019, while The Weeknd claimed the win here last year.
Top Female Artist
You can count on Olivia Rodrigo taking this one home. The superstar had a banner year in 2021 with the success of her number-one album “Sour” and hit singles like “Good 4 U,” “Deja Vu,” “Drivers License,” and “Traitor.” “Sour” has remained a consistent seller and is still in the top 10 of the Billboard 200 after a year of release. Rodrigo could face some competition from Taylor Swift, who has had a very successful past couple of months with the release of “Red (Taylor’s Version).” But while “Red” was big, “Sour” is ahead of it in the charts and has been for a while, so Rodrigo might have this one safely in the bag.
This one is another category where the difference between the year-end cutoff and the BBMAs cutoff could impact the winner. BTS topped the year-end chart for Top Duo/Group, probably due to the success of their number-one hit “Butter” as well as the continued success of their album, “BE.” However, Glass Animals were second on that list, and have since experienced even more success with “Heat Waves,” which topped the charts earlier this year and is still in the top five as of this writing. So, the question would be if the resurgence of “Heat Waves” might have given the group enough chart points to overtake BTS. I’ll cautiously predict an upset here and bet on Glass Animals for the win. BTS will be fine if they lose this award anyways; they won it in 2019 and 2021 already.
While this is really anyone’s game, it’s probably going to come down to Drake vs. Olivia Rodrigo vs. The Weeknd. Whoever wins Top Male Artist will have to face off against Rodrigo here, and all three artists make a good case for themselves. Drake’s success with “Certified Lover Boy” was huge (its opening week charted nine songs in the top 10), but The Weeknd and Rodrigo seem to have stayed in the public consciousness longer with their records. On the year-end chart, Drake was first while Rodrigo and Weeknd were second and third, respectively. For the sake of shaking things up, I’ll go ahead and predict a Rodrigo win here; the first few months of the year could have really helped her leap over Drake. And, after all, when you think of 2021, you think of Olivia Rodrigo.
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