Highlights of the 2020 Billboard Music Awards

Several artists incorporated the politics of the upcoming election or the current coronavirus crisis when up on the stage.  


Photo provided by Billboard

Artist Demi Lovato at the 2020 Billboard Music Awards.

Last Wednesday, Oct. 14, the 2020 Billboard music awards were held at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, California.  The annual event looked slightly different this year as the participants had to take extra precautions due to the Coronavirus pandemic.  Several artists incorporated the politics of the upcoming election or the current coronavirus crisis when up on the stage.  

Billie Eilish took home three of the biggest awards, Best New Artist, Top Female Artist, and Top Billboard 200 Album. While she was accepting one of her awards, she touched upon the global pandemic and urged viewers to vote.  


“Please vote, please wear a mask, please wash your hands. Be safe” said the artist when concluding her speech.  

“I think that little part at the end where she mentioned voting at the end was something that was popular throughout the entire show. This was the first award show I’ve ever seen where there was such a strong political presence and a motivation to advocate for change in politics” said Michael Blackford when asked about the show.  

Artist Demi Lovato performed her song “Commander in Chief” live from the awards show. The song negatively alluded to the current Covid-19 crisis in America and President Donald Trump’s handling of it. 

“We’re in a state of crisis, people are dying while you line your pockets deep commander in chief, how does it feel to still be able to breathe?” was included in the chorus of Lovato’s song.  

“I really liked her performance.  I think it was a controversial topic, but she advocated well for the people who are suffering through this global crisis, and personally, I think it was something that needed to be said” mentioned Kailani Perez after viewing the performance.  

Rapper Killer Mike accepted Billboard’s first Billboard change maker award for his advocacy for social justice. Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms presented the award in a “Biden-Harris 2020” shirt, adding more of a political presence to the show.  

“I think it was a subtle detail but still there for a reason.  When thinking about it, a music show is a great place to advocate because young people in their 20s are eligible to vote and are the main people who watch the show.  So, advocating for a political cause at an event such as that one is a great idea” said Blackford.  

Lizzo took home the award for top song sales artist and used her acceptance speech as an opportunity to empower viewers to vote in the upcoming presidential election.  The artist encouraged viewers to remain true to their identity and beliefs and then further encouraged all viewers to use the power they have, making for one of the most remembered speeches of the night.  

“There’s power in your voice. So whether it’s through music, protests, or your right to vote, use your power, use your voice, and refuse to be suppressed” explained the singer during her award acceptance speech.  

“In the minute she spent on stage, I think she inspired the audience so much.  She Advocated for so much including body positivity, confidence, and using your power for good.  She used her speech about having confidence and using the power you have to encourage people to vote.  I think it was one of the best speeches of the night”  mentioned junior Dream Maywether.  

The global pandemic is responsible for taking the in-person audience away from the award show, but artists still made sure that even though their audience was virtual this year, they would be sure to speak to viewers about current event issues in this country.  With the election approaching quickly in the upcoming weeks, advocacy for the election and commentary on politics was present in the show more than several previous award shows.