The Weeknd Wins Big at Billboard Music Awards

 LOS ANGELES (CNS) - It was a big day for The Weeknd, who was named top artist tonight at the Billboard Music Awards.

  The Weeknd had carried a leading 16 nominations into the show and had already won seven awards by the time the off-air winners were announced Sunday morning. The Weeknd won top male artist, top radio songs artist, top R&B artist, top R&B male artist, top R&B album, top radio song and top R&B song.

  The Weeknd made headlines earlier this year when -- despite being considered a heavy favorite -- he was completely ignored by the Recording Academy and received no Grammy nominations. But he's exacting some revenge with the Billboard Music Awards, which will be presented at the Microsoft Theater in downtown Los Angeles in a ceremony hosted by Nick Jonas.

  The Weeknd's 16 nominations easily led all artists, with DaBaby a distant second with 11 nods, Pop Smoke with 10 and Gabby Barrett with nine.

  Pop Smoke, who was fatally shot at age 20 in the Hollywood Hills in February 2020, was named top new artist, top rap artist and top male rap artist at today's Billboard Music Awards, while his ``Shoot for the Stars, Aim for the Moon'' won top rap album.

  The Weeknd and Pop Smoke were both nominated for top artist, along with Drake, Juice WRLD and Taylor Swift. The nomination for Juice WRLD is also posthumous. He died from a drug-related seizure at age 21 in December 2019.

  The Weeknd, Pop Smoke, Juice WRLD, Drake and Lil Baby were all nominated for top male artist. Swift won for top female artist, beating out Billie Eilish, Ariana Grande, Dua Lipa and Megan Thee Stallion.

  The awards are based on the chart period of March 21, 2020, through April 3, 2021. Nominees and winners are chosen ``based on key fan interactions with music, including album and digital song sales, streaming, radio airplay and social engagement.''

  Country singer Morgan Wallen, who has been under fire and largely shunned by the music industry after being caught on camera using racial epithets, had multiple nominations in country categories and won for top country album, top country artist, top country male artist. The nominations prompted Dick Clark Productions, which sponsors the awards, to issue a statement noting the nominations were based on ``charting.''

  ``As his recent conduct does not align with our core values, we will not be including him on the show in any capacity -- performing, presenting, accepting,'' according to the company. ``It is heartening and encouraging to hear that Morgan is taking steps in his anti-racist journey and starting to do some meaningful work. We plan to evaluate his progress and will consider his participation in future shows.''

  The Weeknd will be among those performing at the event, along with Pink, Alicia Keys, Bad Bunny, BTS, AJR, DJ Khaled with H.E.R. and Migos, Duran Duran, twenty one pilots, Glass Animals, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis with Sounds of Blackness and Ann Nesby, Karol G, Doja Kat and SZA.

  Pink will also receive the ``Icon Award,'' which honors artists ``who have achieved excellence on the Billboard charts and have made an indelible mark on music itself.'' Drake will receive the ``Artist of the Decade'' award, which is based on ``activity on the Billboard Hot 100 songs chart and the Billboard 200 albums tally, as well as social media data and touring revenue from Billboard Boxscore'' over the past decade. Rapper/activist Trae Tha Truth will receive the Billboard ``Change Maker Award,'' which ``honors the artist or group that speaks truth to power through their music, celebrity and community.''


 Copyright 2021, City News Service, Inc.

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