Post Malone was the big winner at the 2020 Billboard Music Awards on Wednesday, taking home nine prizes including top artist and rap album.
The awards show had been postponed from its original date and venue (Las Vegas in May) due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as Variety reported. In a night that mostly celebrated last year’s hits, the three-hour ceremony took place in the Dolby Theatre instead and was hosted by Kelly Clarkson.
While many artists performed in person, some of them introducing new tracks, there was no live audience, according to the BBC.
Malone performed his hit single “Circles” from an elaborate set and was joined by rapper Tyla Yaweh for his second song, “Tommy Lee.”
Eight of Malone’s trophies were delivered in a cart by Clarkson, who pushed them toward him “Covid-style.”
“I can’t touch you, so I had to wheel it out,” the singer joked.
Other televised acceptances included Luke Combs, Lil Nas X, and Lizzo, who delivered a powerful speech about the power of using your voice (while wearing a dress covered with the word “Vote”). Billie Eilish picked up three awards, including top female artist, and similarly urged the nation to “please vote, please wear a mask, please wash your hands and be safe.”
However, broadcaster NBC censored Demi Lovato’s debut performance of “Commander in Chief,” a new political anthem that takes aim at President Trump. Although she was allowed to play the entire song, a video screen displaying the message “Vote” was edited out of the TV show.
According to TMZ, the network felt the backdrop would be interpreted as an attack against the president specifically, rather than a neutral call to action.
Malone’s success in the award categories came after a year in which his third album, Hollywood’s Bleeding, sold 3 million copies. Two of his singles, “Circles” and “Sunflower” (a collaboration with Swae Lee for the Into the Spiderverse soundtrack), went multi-platinum on the U.S. charts as well.
The singer-songwriter and rapper, 25, said in his acceptance speech that he was “blown away, just by the love that everybody’s shown to me.”
“We just try our best every day… to reach out to people who might not have anybody to turn to and show everybody that they’re not alone, and music can bring everybody together,” he added, holding a red solo cup.
“It’s absolutely incredible and I just want to say, thank you so very much, ladies and gentlemen. I’m blown away. I’m floored. Thank you very, very, very much.”