Post Malone won nine honours at the 2020 Billboard Music Awards, where John Legend gave a heartfelt performance that was dedicated to his wife Chrissy Teigen.
With his voice aching as he sang passionately from the piano, Legend told viewers "this is for Chrissy" before singing Never Break, which includes the lyrics "we will never break". The performance comes two weeks after Teigen announced she had a miscarriage, explaining in a heart-wrenching social media post that she and Legend drove "home from the hospital with no baby".
“John, that was so beautiful,” host Kelly Clarkson said following Legend’s performance. “All my love to you and Chrissy.”
It was one of several performances that were pre-taped for the Wednesday, October 14 show. Other musicians attended and performed at the empty Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles during the three-hour show, which aired on NBC.
After announcing that Malone, who had 16 nominations on the night, won the show's biggest honour of Top Artist, Clarkson wheeled out eight more trophies for the hitmaker.
“I’m honestly blown away by the love everyone’s shown to me," Malone said onstage.
He beat out Billie Eilish for the top prize, but she was still a winner, taking home the Top Billboard 200 Album and Top Female Artist.
The 18-year-old, wearing a face mask, told viewers to “please vote, please wear a mask, please wash your hands".
Others had similar messages. Khalid, named Top R&B Artist, told fans: “Your voice matters now more than ever." And Lizzo wore a black dress with “vote” printed across it.
She also gave an encouraging speech, telling viewers to find their voices and not to change to meet society standards.
“I just want to say I’ve been thinking a lot about suppression and the voices that refused to be suppressed. And I wonder, ‘Would I be standing here right now if it weren’t for the big black women who refused to have their voices be suppressed?’ And I just want to say right now, if you’re at home watching this and you were thinking about changing yourself to feel worthy, this is your sign to remain true to who you are,” Lizzo said onstage after winning Top Songs Sales Artist.
“Let me tell you all something – when people try to suppress something, it’s normally because that thing holds power. They’re afraid of your power. There’s power in who you are. There’s power in your voice. So whether it’s through music, protest or your right to vote, use your power, use your voice and refuse to be suppressed.”
Who else won on the night?
Other winners included Lil Nas X, who was also on hand to accept top Hot 100 song for Old Town Road, which set the record for most weeks at number one.
Garth Brooks accepted the Icon Award from Cher, who called the country star “a true music legend and my friend". Brooks, who is the only artist to have nine of his albums sell more than 10 million units each and reach diamond status, performed a medley of his hits.
Other performers included BTS, Alicia Keys, Kane Brown, Khalid, Swae Lee, Sia, Brandy, Bad Bunny, Doja Cat, SAINt JHN, En Vogue and Demi Lovato, who sang her new song aimed at President Donald Trump, called Commander in Chief.
Guitar rock legend Eddie Van Halen, who died last week, was honoured as the show aired a clip of his Billboard Awards performance from 2015. And rapper-activist Killer Mike received the Change Maker Award.
This year’s Billboard Awards were originally supposed to take place in April but were postponed because of the pandemic.