Just 16 months after Olivia Rodrigo shot to stardom with the smash single “drivers license,” the teen phenom was the top winner at the 2022 Billboard Music Awards, which were held Sunday (May 15) at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
Rodrigo won seven awards, one of the strongest showings by a new artist in BBMA history. The R&B group Next won eight awards in 1998, as did R&B star Ashanti in 2002. Rodrigo’s haul included top Billboard 200 album for her debut, Sour. This marks the third consecutive year that a debut album has received this top award. Billie Eilish’s When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? won two years ago. Pop Smoke’s Shoot for the Stars, Aim for the Moon won last year.
Ye (formerly Kanye West) won six awards, more than any other male artist this year. He swept the gospel and Christian categories, taking top artist, top album and top song in both genres. This brings Ye’s career BBMA total to 17, which puts him in a tie with Eminem for seventh place on the all-time BBMA leaderboard. Ye won top gospel artist for a record third year. He also took top gospel song for a record third time and top gospel album for a record second time. (The gospel awards originated in 2016.)
The three artists with the most career BBMA honors each won multiple awards on the night, which allows them to retain their win, place and show rankings. Drake won five awards, upping his total to 34. Taylor Swift won four, advancing her total to 29. Justin Bieber won five, hiking his total to 26.
Drake won top artist for a record third time. He also won top male artist for a record third time; top rap artist for a record fourth time; and top rap album for a record third time (for Certified Lover Boy).
Swift won top Billboard 200 artist for a record-extending fifth time. She also won that award last year. This marks the first time she has won in this important category two years running. Swift also won top country artist, an award she previously won in 2011 and 2013. This enables her to tie Garth Brooks as the only three-time winners in the category’s history. Red (Taylor’s Version) won top country album, an award the original Red won in 2013. Swift is a four-time winner in that category, again equaling Brooks’ record. The biggest surprise: Swift won top country female artist for the first time. The surprise? That this longtime awards magnet can still be winning anything for the first time at this stage of her career.
Bieber became the first artist in BBMA history to win top Hot 100 song more than once. He won this year for “Stay,” his chart-busting collab with The Kid LAROI. He won four years ago for Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee’s genre-blending “Despacito,” on which he was featured.
BTS won three awards, more than any other group or duo this year. The K-pop septet won top duo/group for the third time, putting them in a tie with another youthquake-starting band, One Direction, for most wins in the category.
Lady Gaga won top dance/electronic artist for the third consecutive year, which is remarkable because she also found time in this period to star in a buzzy film, House of Gucci, and record a Grammy-winning traditional pop album with Tony Bennett. Gaga also won in this category in 2011-12, giving her five wins, and allowing her to pull ahead of The Chainsmokers as the top winners in the category’s history.
Bad Bunny won top Latin artist for a record third time, but female artists scored in the other two Latin categories. Karol G’s KGO516 won top Latin album, making it the first winner by a female artist since Jenni Rivera’s La Misma Gran Señora in 2013. Kali Uchis’ “telepatía” won top Latin song, making it the first winner by a female artist since Shakira won for a collab with Freshlyground in 2011.
Dan + Shay won top country duo/group for the third time. This allows them to pull ahead of Florida Georgia Line as the top winners in the history of the category, which originated in 2018.
Lil Nas X and Jack Harlow took top rap song for “Industry Baby,” two years after Lil Nas X won in the category for “Old Town Road (Remix),” featuring Billy Ray Cyrus. LNX is just the second two-time winner in the category. The first was Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, who won back-to-back awards in 2013-14 with “Thrift Shop” (featuring Wanz) and “Can’t Hold Us” (featuring Ray Dalton).
Silk Sonic’s “Leave the Door Open,” the Grammy-winning valentine to old-school R&B, won top R&B song. Bruno Mars, who partners with Anderson .Paak in Silk Sonic, won in this category four years ago with “That’s What I Like.” Mars is the third artist to win twice in this category, following Pharrell Williams and The Weeknd.
Twenty one pilots won top rock album for Scaled and Icy, six years after winning in the category for Blurryface. The duo is the fourth act to win twice in the category, following Coldplay, Imagine Dragons and Mumford & Sons.
Doja Cat won four awards, including top R&B artist. She’s the fourth female artist to win in this category in the past decade, following Rihanna, Beyoncé and Ella Mai.
The Weeknd won one award, which ups his total to 20 awards. This gives him sole ownership of fourth place on the all-time winners list. He had been tied for that slot with Brooks, who has won 19 awards. (Adele and Usher are tied for sixth place with 18 awards each, though neither added to their totals this year. Adele has a very good chance of adding to her tally next year.)
Two rock titans whose careers date back more than a half-century won 2022 BBMAs. Elton John won top dance/electronic song for his hit collab with Dua Lipa, “Cold Heart (PNAU Remix).” The Rolling Stones took top tour and top rock tour for their No Filter Tour. They are the first act that dates back to the 1960s to win top tour. U2, which has won three times in this category, are comparative newbies. The band formed in Dublin in 1976, 14 years after The Stones came together in London.
The Billboard Music Awards are produced by MRC Live & Alternative, a division of MRC. MRC and Penske Media are co-parent companies of Billboard.