The Billboard Music Awards will be airing on May 1st, hosted by Kelly Clarkson, and the nominees were announced yesterday. You probably don’t care about the Billboard Music Awards and understandably so – except for two fan voted categories, the winners and nominees are based on sales, streaming, and a few other metrics that Billboard tracks every year starting in March. Where’s the drama!? Where’s the campaigning? Where’s the intrigue!? To put this in perspective, the Grammys get over two and half times more viewers than the Billboard Music Awards. Plus, what the f-ck is this video? Who decided vaporwave was back in?
This year is interesting because Cardi B received 21 nominations, just shy of the highest number of nominations in a year (22, by both Drake and The Chainsmokers (ugh) in 2017). Cardi’s even competing against herself in several of the categories. Of course, these nominations come at a time when Cardi is embroiled in controversy for an old video that surfaced where she admits to drugging and then robbing men back when she was a stripper. Duana and Lainey dive deep into the complexities of this story, her explanation, and people’s reactions to it in the latest episode of Show Your Work, but whether you’re cancelling her or not, her nominations demonstrate how dominant she is in the industry right now.
Since nominees are not voted in, Billboard can’t just pull Cardi B from the nominations like GLAAD did with Bohemian Rhapsody. So what’s the fallout from the controversy? Will Cardi have this much of a presence at next year’s BBMAs? And if not, will this be the cause? Cardi will probably sweep these awards. She is represented in so many categories, people are still listening to Cardi, and they’re listening to her a lot. Rap is also prominently represented. Out of the five nominees for Top Artist (the Billboard Equivalent of Oscar’s Best Picture) four are rappers. And in rap categories, Cardi seems to have the edge.
At the Grammys, Cardi was nominated 5 times and won the award for best rap album for Invasion of Privacy. Compare that to Childish Gambino, also nominated 5 times but won 4. The Grammys and the BBMAs are like comparing apples and oranges, but it is interesting to see what is considered critically acclaimed, and what people actually listen to and stream. The BBMAs can give us some insight about the pulse of the music industry.
BTS, the first K-pop group to be nominated and win in 2017 for the fan voted Top Social Artist (knocking Justin Bieber off a six-year reign), were nominated in Top Duo/Group as well as Top Social Artist. The BTS ARMY is powerful, which is why they’ve won Top Social two years in a row and why they’ll probably snag it again. But this year, BTS isn’t the only K-pop group nominated this year. BTS, EXO, and GOT7 are nominated along with Louis Tomlinson and Ariana Grande for Top Social. It’s a big year for K-pop, especially as BTS paves the way for the genre to grow in the North American market. The way things seem to be going, and a new album dropping on April 12 (Map of the World: Persona) maybe this time next year BTS will dominate the BBMAs the way Cardi is this year.