Drake was the big winner at the Billboard Music Awards ceremony on Wednesday night, picking up three honors during the three-hour show.
The rap star saluted his mum as he collected the Top Artist prize, thanking her for driving him through his life.
“I wanna thank my mom for all the times you drove me to piano (classes), when I didn’t wanna take piano, all the times you drove me to basketball and hockey – that clearly didn’t work out.
“No matter how long it took me to figure out what I wanted to do, you were always there to give me a ride.”
Earlier on in the ceremony, as he picked up Top Male Artist, the rapper urged his peers to pat each other on the back more, adding, “We’ve obviously had an unfortunate series of losses within our business and I just wanna encourage everybody to let other artists know how you feel about them; let them know that you love them, respect them, while we’re all still here.”
His message set a trend for the evening – when Cardi B stepped up minutes later to collect the Top Rap Song prize for I Like It, she urged fans to show their favourite artists some love.
“If you got a favorite artist, support them, stream their music, listen to their music, tell a friend about their music to get them on the chart,” she said.
And Florida Georgia Line’s Tyler Hubbard kept the message going as he collected the Top Country Song honor for Meant To Be, urging his fellow artists to use their platforms for good.
“As artists, we all get to experience so many incredible things, but in our opinion, at the end of the day, it’s all for nothing if you’re not using your platform for better, if you’re not using your platform to spread love, to help those in need, to be a light to your community…
“We just wanna encourage you guys, let’s create a light that’s bigger than ourselves.”
Drake also claimed the Top Billboard 200 Album honor for Scorpion and offered up a shout out to Maisie Williams’ Game of Thrones character Arya Stark “for putting in that work last week” during his acceptance speech, while Cardi B also scored the Top Hot 100 Song for her Maroon 5 collaboration Girls Like You.
Elsewhere, K-pop boy band BTS were also double winners, landing the Top Social Artist for the third successive year and Top Duo/Group, prompting band member RM to assure screaming fans that all the adulation and accolades haven’t changed him or his bandmates.
“We’re still the same boys from six years ago,” he said. “We still have the same dreams… we still have the same thoughts.”
BTS were also among the night’s performance highlights, alongside Icon Award winner Mariah Carey, Ciara, Taylor Swift and Brendon Urie, who opened the show with the live debut of their new hit ME!, Madonna and Maluma, who also debuted Medellin – featuring the Material Girl’s own holograms, and the return of the Jonas Brothers, who made their first awards show performance since officially reuniting earlier this year.
Kelly Clarkson hosted the show for a second year, from the MGM Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
The list of winners during the ceremony is:
Top New Artist:
Billboard Chart Achievement Award:
Top Male Artist:
Top Female Artist:
Top Social Artist:
Top R&B Artist:
Top Country Duo/Group:
Dan + Shay
Top Rock Artist:
Top Christian Artist:
Top Billboard 200 Album:
Drake – Scorpion
Top Hot 100 Song:
Maroon 5 ft. Cardi B – Girls Like You
Top Rap Song:
Cardi B, Bad Bunny & J Balvin – I Like It
Top Country Song:
Bebe Rexha & Florida Georgia Line – Meant to Be
Top Rock Song:
Panic! At The Disco – High Hopes