The 2019 Billboard Music Awards may be over, but all the performances are still making me wish I was there in person. From medleys and double performances to throwback bops, the 2019 BBMAs were a show to remember. Here are all the 2019 BBMA performances ranked.
- “Me” by Taylor Swift and Brendon Urie
I’m not going to lie—I was a bit nervous for Swift’s live performance debut of her new song “Me!” with Brendon Urie. However, her energetic act was the ideal way to start an awards show, bringing energy and good vibes with her upbeat, self-loving lyrics. I was pleasantly surprised to see Urie float in on an umbrella like he does in the song’s music video, and it was fun to watch the beaming singers play off of one another. From the waterfalls of confetti and sparks to the pair exiting the stage together via another umbrella, the performance was top notch.
- Medley by the Jonas Brothers
The recently reunited JBros kicked off their performance with Nick singing a piece of his solo song “Jealous” followed by Joe singing his band, DNCE’s, “Cake by the Ocean.” This was such a sweet way to pay tribute to their solo careers before coming together to slay a performance of their hit “Sucker.”
- “Speechless” by Dan + Shay and Tori Kelly
Dan + Shay’s career took a wild turn when they released their crowd-pleasing song “Tequila” in 2018, and they have steadily been heard on pop and country radio since. They decided to woo the crowd with their earlier song “Speechless,” which was accompanied by Tori Kelly’s strong, yet sweet voice. I have been saying this for years: Tori Kelly (who won Top Gospel Album) is underrated and her voice deserves to be recognized. The three delivered a simple, pitch-perfect performance.
- Medley and “Broken and Beautiful” by Kelly Clarkson
Not only did she do a fantastic job of keeping the audience engaged and the show going smoothly, Clarkson leant her voice for an opening medley of songs that included hits from Maroon 5, Zedd, Cardi B, Madonna, Calvin Harris and more. Then, we got to hear more of her strong vocals with an uplifting performance of “Broken and Beautiful.” A host that can both entertain the audience and flawlessly perform? I’ll keep Kelly Clarkson.
- “Hey Look Ma, I Made It” by Panic! at the Disco
This was a big night for Brendon Urie. Not only did he get to debut the live performance of “Me!” with Taylor Swift, Panic! at the Disco won Top Rock Song with “High Hopes” and Top Rock Album with “Pray for the Wicked.” The rock band gave a spirited performance to prove their deserved success. They made it!
- “Medellin” by Madonna and Maluma
The veteran pop star slayed the stage with Latin artist Maluma as they danced with Madonna holograms among them. The two recreated scenes from the single’s music video as audiences watched the chemistry on stage ignite. Let’s not forget Madonna is 60 years young, and has her fourteenth album on the way! The Spanish and English performance, mixed with the holograms and CGI effects, gave a fresh feel that was easy to adore.
- “Without Me” by Halsey
Halsey and her bare feet absolutely owned the stage with her stripped down and intimate performance of “Without Me,” which she interpretively danced to with another dancer. I loved this performance so much because it was raw, emotional and all about her incredible voice.
- “Boy with Luv” by BTS and Halsey
This was also a big night for Halsey, as she performed two times—the second being the live debut of her collaboration with the K-pop group that seems to be taking over the music world, BTS. I have not gotten into K-pop yet, but the fun performance of “Boy with Luv” put on by Halsey and the boys has me interested. The spectacle, which include a spinning stage and an outfit change by Halsey, received one of the loudest ovations of the night.
- “Talk” and “Better” by Khalid
Few things are “Better” than Khalid’s sultry voice and a microphone. The R&B star bopped to his music as he gave a calm performance of “Talk” followed by “Better.” While this was one of the more serene performances of the night, the stage was energized by his clear enjoyment of being on stage and back-up dancers.
- “7 Rings” by Ariana Grande
It breaks my heart to put the “thank u, next” singer so low on this list. While she looked like a pop princess in her pre-recorded performance that showed off her bold vocals, there didn’t seem to be enough of them. Grande wanted to include her fans in her performance, often holding her microphone to the crowd to sing for her, but it made the performance seem a bit lacking. Of course, when she did sing, she reminded everyone while she is on top.
- Medley by Mariah Carey
As one who sees Mariah Carey as a diva who thinks she can do no wrong, I was impressed when she showed her vulnerable side during her acceptance speech for the Icon Award for her unprecedented career success. Eloquently delivering a heartfelt speech, she thanked her fans for being with her through her highs and lows. “We all make mistakes,” she said. She also explained that she started making music as a “necessity to survive,” and I admire her for her honesty.
Her performance, too, was beautifully executed without any unexplained sound malfunctions or word forgetting. Truthfully, it made me appreciate her a lot more as an artist. Hearing parts of her hits, from 1993’s “Hero” to 2018’s “A No No,” really puts into perspective how much impact she has had on the industry as a singer, songwriter and producer.
- “You Say” by Lauren Daigle
I honestly feel like I don’t know enough about the Contemporary Christian singer to rank her performance. She gave a mellow and intimate performance of her hit “You Say” with vocals that reminded me a bit of Adele. Plus, her hippie-like style gave off a proud and relatable vibe.
- Medley by Paula Abdul
I was super excited to see Abdul perform her impressive catalogue of songs, but that excitement dwindled as her performance seemed very calculated and unfortunately not live. I know she is not the only singer to ever lip sync on an award show, but I suppose I was looking forward to something a bit more authentic.