A Look Back On the Biggest Billboard Music Awards Moments In Recent History

In honor of this year’s BBMAs, we are rounding up some top highlights from past award shows!

On May 20, the 2018 Billboard Music Awards are all going down on NBC. With stars like Ed Sheeran, Justin BieberKendrick LamarCardi BCamila Cabello, and more nominated plus live performances by Christina Aguilera, Demi LovatoJennifer LopezJohn LegendKelly ClarksonBTSAriana Grande, all happening throughout the evening, you just know there are bound to be some truly unforgettable moments at this year’s show.

Over the years, there have been so many standout celebrity speeches, showcases, and more. To celebrate this year’s BBMAs, we’re rounding up some of our favorite (and otherwise memorable!) moments from the several years.


2011 — Britney Spears and Rihanna Team Up

Where else but the Billboard Music Awards could Britney Spears and Rihanna team up for a steamy remixed performance of “S&M” featuring some light pole dancing and heavy grinding? Literally nowhere. Two legends, one unforgettable performance. My 2018 self is still shook.

2012 — Justin Bieber Performs “Boyfriend”

Literally everyone and their mother has an opinion about Justin Bieber‘s song “Boyfriend.” They just do: ask around! His 2012 BBMA performance is likely one of the reasons why, because it showcased this track. You either watch this performance and gush over the smooth dance moves and infectious lyrics, or you kind of cringe at the transitional stage he was having between cute kid songs and his current, more mature work. At the time, this performance just made me want to catch his live tour. And then I did.

2013 — Selena Gomez Performs “Come & Get It”

Selena Gomez‘s premiere performance of her mega-hit “Come & Get It” all went down at the 2013 Billboard Music Awards. In 2018, this stage style would likely be hit with a ton of cultural appropriation claims across social media. At the time though, it was mostly celebrated as her “golden goddess” look, and she made a lasting impression.

2014 — Michael Jackson’s Hologram

Five years after the passing of Michael Jackson, his hologram self returned to the BBMA stage. While some fans may have enjoyed it, this “appearance” was heavily controversial and even highly contested. Either way, it’s one of the most memorable Billboard moments in years. It’s up to you to decide if it’s for the right or wrong reasons.

2015 — “See You Again” Performance

Was there a dry eye in the room when Wiz Khalifa, Charlie Puth and Lindsey Stirling hit the stage together to perform Fast and Furious 7‘s “See You Again” in tribute to the late Paul Walker? Doubt it.

2016 — P!NK “Just Like Fire” Performance

Not only is P!NK a powerhouse vocalist, but she’s a true performer in every sense of the word. When the star turned the BBMAs stage into an acrobatic gymnasium, complete with rings of fire and aerial stunts, for her (LIVE!!!) “Just Like Fire” performance, fans around the world were blown away.

2017 — BTS Wins Top Social Artist

Last year, the Billboard Music Awards were such a MILESTONE moment for BTS: the band became the first KPop group to win a BBMA. Plus, the guys took home the well-deserved prize in an extra competitive category which featured other greats, like Justin Bieber and Shawn Mendes.

We can’t wait to see the guys take the stage once more and make history once more by actually performing at this year’s ceremony! And hopefully walk away with another trophy.

Written by Kristine Hope Kowalski

Kristine is a writer and celebrity entertainment news journalist with a specific obsession with Nickelodeon + Disney Channel shows, boy bands, K-Pop, Broadway, and international series dramas. If she's not writing or tucked away in a good book, she is most likely traveling the world and spamming her friends' Instagram feeds with photos from her adventures. Kristine has a BA in Comparative Literature from Rutgers University (2011), and an MA in Interdisciplinary Humanities and Social Thought from NYU (2013). She is currently pursuing her second Master's in Journalism at Harvard.