10 Things to Look Forward to at This Year's Billboard Music Awards
After months of anticipation, the Billboard Music Awards are finally just a few days away. The awards will air this Sunday (May 22) at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on ABC and will feature all of the biggest names from all genres both performing and competing in one of the biggest annual nights for pop music.
If you're looking for specific reasons to get excited for the the show, here are 10 of the biggest: Solo stars making debut performances, pop legends reviving their old classics, multi-nominees going for BBMAs history, and so much more. Check 'em out below, and be sure to tune in early on Sunday night for the official 2017 Billboard Music Awards red carpet pre-show, streaming exclusively on Twitter on Sunday, May 21, starting at 6 p.m. ET/3 p.m. PT.
1. Miley Cyrus performing "Malibu." Since making her big return to music's forefront with her Billboard cover story earlier this May, Miley Cyrus has proven with her lovely comeback single "Malibu" that she's still a pop force to be reckoned with. The constantly self-reinventing star will make her return to the BBMAs stage on Sunday, to give "Malibu" its live national TV debut, in what's sure to be one of the most buzzed-about performances of the night.
2. The Chainsmokers and Drake vying for the biggest year in BBMAs history. Both the EDM duo and the hip-hop megastar scored 22 nominations at this year's Billboard Music Awards, tying the all-time record for an artist in a single year. If either artist walks away with more than a dozen awards at Sunday's ceremonies, they could pass current record-holder Adele for the most wins ever at a single BBMAs. Twenty One Pilots (with 17 nominations) and Rihanna (14) could also set a new benchmark.
3. Vanessa Hudgens joining Ludacris as co-host. The rapper born Christopher Bridges will be taking center stage at the BBMAs for the first time this year, but this time he won't be doing it alone -- Ludacris will be joined by movie and TV star Vanessa Hudgens. "I think I might give him a little more energy than what he’s used to, but we’ll just have to wait and see, Hudgens predicted. "I think it’s going to be a lot of fun."
4. Nicki Minaj opening the awards. The BBMAs will kick off with a performance from one of pop and hip-hop's biggest stars, as Nicki Minaj -- fresh off the release of her new Katy Perry collaboration "Swish Swish" -- will open the show. On Thursday, Minaj confirmed on Twitter that she'll be bringing some guests along with her, too: Jason Derulo (whose current "Swalla" hit she's featured on), and Lil Wayne and David Guetta, who she collaborated with for the recent "Light My Body Up."
5. Hamilton vs. Purple Rain. One of the more compelling (if less likely) showdowns of the evening will come in the Top Soundtrack/Cast Album, between the best-selling Hamilton soundtrack and Prince's classic Purple Rain -- a 1984 release which already won the American Music Award for Top Soundtrack last year, given its strong sales after the Purple One's tragic 2016 death. Neither set is a shoo-in, though -- they'll also receive strong competition in the category from the blockbuster soundtracks to Moana, Suicide Squad and Trolls.
6. Camila Cabello's first totally solo TV performance. Camila Cabello has taken plenty of national stages as a member of Fifth Harmony, and earlier this May, graced the MTV Movie and TV Awards along with Pitbull and J Balvin to perform their Fate of the Furious soundtrack single "Hey Ma." But this Sunday, days after releasing her new "Crying in the Club" single, Camila steps out on her own for the first time on an awards show -- a performance guaranteed to go down in Harmonizer lore for all time.
7. Rihanna and Justin Bieber going for the most total wins in BBMAs history. Taylor Swift sits as the current pace-setter for all-time Billboard Music Awards victories, with 21 total wins. But Swift's record could be in jeopardy on Sunday night, as Rihanna -- already a 12-time winner -- could pass her if she takes home 10 or more of the 14 BBMAs she's nominated for. And while he can't pass her this year, Justin Bieber (15 wins) could match Taylor's 21, if he goes a perfect 6-for-6 with his half-dozen nominations.
8. Twenty One Pilots vs. The Chainsmokers. Maybe 2016's two biggest breakout acts -- certainly among genre-blurring crossover duos -- will find themselves squaring off against one another at the BBMAs in a staggering 10 separate categories, including Top Artist, Top Duo/Group, Top Hot 100 Artist, and the fan-voted Billboard Chart Achievement. Which duo will carry the night? It might be a photo finish between them.
9. Celine Dion and Cher bringing back the late '90s. Two official Billboard Music Awards Icons -- last year's recipient Celine Dion, and this year's winner Cher -- will flash back a couple decades on Sunday night, with performances of two Hot 100-topping classics: "My Heart Will Go On" (celebrating its 20th anniversary this year) and "Believe," respectively. In her recent Billboard cover story, Cher revealed that despite the song's ultimate success, recording "Believe" was a "nightmare," and its trademark Auto-Tune vocal effects came as a result of her storming out of the studio early.
10. The Beyonce vs. Adele rematch. For pop fans who loved the drama of watching the two titans squaring off for top honors at the 2017 Grammys, they'll get a chance to see the pair go at it again at the BBMAs, where Adele and Beyonce will square off in two categories -- including Top Artist. Will Adele make it two for two? Will Beyonce turn the tables on her? Or will any of the other eight nominees -- such as Drake, Justin Bieber or The Chainsmokers -- have their say instead? Only one time and place to find out.