Industry Weekly

[I Was There]

The Billboard Music Awards dazzle at T-Mobile Arena

K-pop sensation BTS won the Billboard Top Social Artist award.
Photo: Chris Pizzello / AP Photo

Nicki Minaj lit up the stage and even brought out Lil Wayne. Vanessa Hudgens rhymed (on a Minaj song) and sang (on Cher) and was amazing at both. The Chainsmokers’ Andrew Taggart played acoustic guitar. Drake won everything and performed “Gyalchester” while floating in front of the Bellagio’s fountains. And Diddy dropped the trailer for his new tour documentary Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop.

Those were just a few of the captivating moments from the 2017 Billboard Music Awards at T-Mobile Arena on the Las Vegas Strip Sunday night, broadcast live on ABC. Industry Weekly was there, ridiculously close to the circular stage on the floor where Celine Dion wowed the audience (and millions on TV) with a powerful performance of “My Heart Will Go On,” in honor of the 20th anniversary of the release of Titanic. Of course, the Vegas audience was not surprised, as we know Celine remains a peerless performer. That didn’t stop anyone from singing along, or zooming their camera phones to get the perfect shot of her glamorous white dress.

That live performance was the consensus favorite, but the loudest live reaction inside T-Mobile came at a different moment—not for Drake, Minaj, Miley Cyrus debuting a new song or Camila Cabello debuting herself. It was for K-pop sensation BTS, the seven-member South Korean boy band that beat Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez and Ariana Grande to win the Top Social Artist award. Surprises like that can be rare at awards shows, but they’re welcome any time in Las Vegas.

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Brock is an award-winning writer who has been documenting life in Las Vegas for 20 years. He currently leads entertainment ...

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