Morgan Wallen amassed 11 Billboard Music Awards wins on Sunday (Nov. 19), which represented the greatest one-year tally by any artist since Drake received 12 awards in 2019. Taylor Swift won 10 BBMAs this year, bringing her career total to date to 39 – which puts her in a tie with Drake for the most of all time. (Drake won five awards this year to advance to that same total.)
Wallen won awards for both top Billboard 200 album (One Thing at a Time) and top Hot 100 song (“Last Night”). It’s the first time one artist has swept both of those key awards in the same year since Usher scored in 2004 with Confessions and his megahit “Yeah!” (featuring Lil Jon & Ludacris). (Note: The BBMAs were on hiatus from 2007-10.)
Wallen had previously won four BBMAs. His new career total of 15 awards puts him second only to Garth Brooks among country artists. Brooks has won 20 BBMAs.
Swift won top artist for the third time, which puts her in a tie with Drake for the most wins in that category. Swift also won top Billboard 200 artist for a record-extending sixth time, and top female artist for a record-extending fifth time.
Wallen thoroughly dominated the country categories, winning top country artist, top country album, top country song and top country tour.
Drake was equally dominant in the rap field, winning top rap artist for a record-extending fifth time, top rap tour for the second time, and top rap album (Her Loss) and top rap song (“Rich Flex”) for his successful collaboration with 21 Savage.
SZA and Zach Bryan were nearly as dominant in R&B and rock, respectively. SZA won top R&B female artist, top R&B album (SOS) and top R&B song (“Kill Bill”). But the award for top R&B touring artist went to Beyoncé.
Bryan won top rock artist, top rock album (American Heartbreak) and top rock song (“Something in the Orange”). But the award for top rock touring artist went to Coldplay.
Bryan and SZA each won four BBMAs this year. Bryan’s wins include the key category of top new artist. He was a first-time BBMAs winner. SZA had won two BBMAs previously.
21 Savage, Bad Bunny, Beyoncé and Miley Cyrus each won three awards. This brings Beyoncé’s total to 16, which puts her in a tie with Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey for the most BBMAs by a woman of color. Carey won a special Chart Achievement Award this year for the historic success of her single “All I Want for Christmas Is You,” which topped the Billboard Hot 100 every year from 2019 through 2022, and may return to the top spot this year as well.
Beyoncé and Bad Bunny nearly swept the top awards in their fields. Beyoncé won top dance/electronic artist and album (Renaissance), but the award for top dance/electronic song went to David Guetta and Bebe Rexha for “I’m Good (Blue).”
Bunny won top Latin artist for the fourth consecutive year and top Latin album for the third time in four years (Un Verano Sin Ti), but Eslabon Armado x Peso Pluma won top Latin song for “Ella Baila Sola.”
Fuerza Regida, KAROL G and The Weeknd each won two awards. Fuerza Regida won the all-genre top duo/group award over Eslabon Armado, Fifty Fifty, Grupo Frontera and Metallica. Impressively, three of these five groups come from the Latin music world.
The Weeknd’s two awards bring his career total to 22, which puts him in fourth place on the all-time BBMAs leaderboard, behind Drake and Swift with 39 each and Justin Bieber with 26. Garth Brooks is in fifth place all-time, with 20, followed by Adele, Usher and Kanye West, with 18 each.
Ye, as West is now known, won one award this year – top gospel artist. This is his fourth consecutive win in that category, which extends his record as the category leader. Kirk Franklin and Tasha Cobbs Leonard have each won twice in the category.
Lauren Daigle won top Christian artist for a record-extending fourth time.
Luke Combs was a finalist in 10 categories, but didn’t receive any BBMAs. He went up against the unstoppable Wallen in eight of those categories. Ariana Grande was a finalist in five categories and likewise didn’t win any. She lost to the red-hot Cyrus in three of those categories.
Metallica is the only rock group to be a finalist for the overall top duo/group award. So, one might logically expect them to win top rock/duo group. They lost to Arctic Monkeys. How can that be? These two awards measure success on different charts. The overall top duo/group award is based on performance on the Hot 100 and the Billboard 200. The top rock duo/group award is based on performance on Billboard’s Hot Rock Songs and Top Rock Albums charts.
Harry Styles’ “As It Was” was a finalist for top BB global (excl. U.S.) song. The song was released on April 1, 2022, seven months before the beginning of this year’s eligibility tracking period (Nov. 4, 2022 through Oct. 12, 2023). It’s remarkable that the song still had enough firepower to be a finalist when its first seven months of activity weren’t counted. You already knew the song was a monster hit. Here’s more proof.
The 2023 Billboard Music Awards Presented by Marriott Bonvoy took place Sunday night on BBMAs.watch and across BBMA and Billboard social channels.
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