Dua Lipa’s “Levitating” won song of the year at the 2022 iHeartRadioMusic Awards, which were presented on Tuesday (March 22) at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. LL Cool J hosted the fast-paced, two-hour show, which aired live on Fox.
Lipa wasn’t present, so the biggest category wasn’t presented on-air. But three of the other top winners were present to accept — Olivia Rodrigo for female artist of the year, Lil Nas X for male artist of the year and Silk Sonic for best duo/group of the year. It was the first win in those categories for all three artists.
In accepting his award, Lil Nas X pointed out that he was “delusional” to think he could drop out of school and make it big, come out of the closet at the peak of his career, and record a song about gay lust (“Montero (Call Me By Your Name)”) and have it become a smash hit. “It’s OK to be delusional when you’re chasing your dreams,” he concluded.
Avril Lavigne, who landed her first hit on the Billboard Hot 100, “Complicated,” when she was just 17, presented Rodrigo’s award. Rodrigo was likewise 17 when she scored her breakthrough smash, “driver’s license.” Rodrigo also won the award for new pop artist. And Rodrigo’s pop-punk smash “good 4 u,” which shows the influence of such Lavigne hits as “Sk8er Boi,” resulted in two awards. The song brought Rodrigo the award for TikTok bop of the year, while Camila Cabello won best cover song for her cover version of the smash.
“Stay” by The Kid LAROI and Justin Bieber won best collaboration. It beat, among others, a second Bieber collab, “Peaches,” which featured Daniel Caesar and Giveon.
Luke Combs won country artist of the year for the fourth consecutive year. Drake won hip-hop artist of the year for the fourth time, and Calibre 50 won Regional Mexican artist of the year for the fourth time, though their runs haven’t been consecutive.
Foo Fighters took rock artist of the year for the second time. Bad Bunny likewise took Latin pop/reggaeton artist of the year for the second time.
Jazmine Sullivan won R&B artist of the year. It’s the fourth year in a row that a female artist has taken that award. H.E.R. won the last two years. Ella Mai won in 2019.
Machine Gun Kelly won alternative rock artist of the year, also for the first time. David Guetta won dance artist of the year, also for the first time.
The show presented new artist awards in seven genres – Rodrigo (pop), Måneskin (alternative), Mammoth WVH (rock), Lainey Wilson (country), Yung Bleu (hip-hop), Giveon (R&B), and Grupo Firme (Latin).
BTS won two socially-voted awards – best fan army for the fifth consecutive year and best music video for “Butter.”
Harry Styles won tour of the year, an award that wasn’t presented last year because of the pandemic. The award has gone in previous years to such road warriors as Taylor Swift (twice), Coldplay, U2 and Elton John.
Jennifer Lopez became the third recipient of the ICON award, following Bon Jovi (2018) and Elton John (2021). In her acceptance speech, she suggested that “ICON,” in her case, was an acronym for “I can overcome negativity – every single moment, and so can you.”
Lopez also performed on the show, as did L.L. Megan Thee Stallion, Jason Aldean, Måneskin and the very effective teaming of John Legend & Charlie Puth. Those two stars, sitting at facing pianos, sang several of each other’s biggest hits. That’s a familiar gimmick, but it felt genuine and organic here.
Tom Poleman, president and chief programming officer for iHeartMedia, and John Sykes, president of entertainment enterprises for iHeartMedia, served as executive producers of the show, along with Joel Gallen, for Tenth Planet; and Bart Peters, for iHeartMedia.
Here’s a complete list of winners:
Song of the year: “Levitating” – Dua Lipa
Female artist of the year: Olivia Rodrigo
Male artist of the year: Lil Nas X
Best duo/group of the year: Silk Sonic
Best collaboration: “Stay” – The Kid LAROI & Justin Bieber
Best new pop artist: Olivia Rodrigo
Alternative artist of the year: Machine Gun Kelly
Best new alternative artist: Måneskin
Alternative song of the year: “Monsters” – All Time Low featuring blackbear
Alternative Album of the Year: Happier Than Ever – Billie Eilish
Rock artist of the year: Foo Fighters
Best new rock artist: Mammoth WVH
Rock Song of the Year: “Waiting on a War” – Foo Fighters
Rock Album of the Year: Medicine at Midnight – Foo Fighters
Country artist of the year: Luke Combs
Best new country artist: Lainey Wilson
Country song of the year: “If I Didn’t Love You” – Jason Aldean & Carrie Underwood
Dance artist of the year: David Guetta
Dance Song of the Year: “Do It To It” – ACRAZE featuring Cherish
Hip-Hop artist of the year: Drake
Best new hip-hop artist: Yung Bleu
Hip-Hop Song of the Year: “What You Know Bout Love” – Pop Smoke
Hip-Hop Album of the Year: The Off-Season – J. Cole
R&B Artist of the Year: Jazmine Sullivan
Best new R&B artist: Giveon
R&B Song of the Year: “Leave The Door Open” – Silk Sonic
R&B Album of the Year: An Evening With Silk Sonic, Silk Sonic
Latin Pop/Reggaeton Artist of the Year: Bad Bunny
Best new Latin artist: Grupo Firme
Latin Pop/Reggaeton Song of the Year: “Pepas” – Farruko
Latin Pop/Reggaeton Album of the Year: Karol G
Regional Mexican Artist of the Year: Calibre 50
Regional Mexican Song of the Year: “La Casita” – Banda Sinaloense MS De Sergio Lizárraga
Regional Mexican Album of the Year: Eslabón Armado
Producer of the Year: Finneas
Songwriter of the Year: Omer Fedi
iHeartRadio Trailblazer Award: Megan Thee Stallion
iHeartRadio Chart Ruler Award: “Stay” – The Kid LAROI and Justin Bieber
Best cover song (socially voted category): “good 4 u” (Olivia Rodrigo) – Camila Cabello
Best fan army (socially voted category): #BTSARMY – BTS
Best music video (socially voted category): “Butter” – BTS
TikTok songwriter of the year (socially voted category): Jax
Social Star Award (socially voted category): Bella Poarch
Best Lyrics (socially voted category): “All Too Well (10 Minute Version) (Taylor’s Version) (From The Vault)” – Taylor Swift
Favorite Tour Photographer (socially voted category): Love On Tour (Harry Styles) – Anthony PHAM
TikTok Bop of the Year (socially voted category): “good 4 u” – Olivia Rodrigo
Best Comeback Album (socially voted category: 30 – Adele