As we count down to the 2021 Billboard Awards, promising a star-studded lineup and can’t-miss performances, let’s get hyped for the event by reliving some of the most epic and iconic performances this award show has delivered for us in the past — let’s jump right into it.
The year was 2011, and Beyoncé had just dropped the ultimate girl power anthem — yes, of course, we’re talking about “Run the World (Girls).” And Queen Bey literally lit up the stage with a giant interactive backdrop that at one point displayed an army of Beyoncé’s syncing to her every dance move.
The eye-popping spectacle also featured countless real-live backup dancers, pyrotechnics pouring from the ceiling, and the most memorable moment of the night: Sorry Matthew Morrison, don’t flinch next time… Make no mistake, this was a Beyoncé concert that just happened to have an award show going on at the same time.
And to top it all off, Bey was presented with the very first Millenium Award ever in BBMAs history, as her fellow Destiny’s Child members, Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams, cheered her on from the audience.
Oh, yeah, we forgot to mention that her jaw-dropping performance was introduced by a video featuring artists, the likes of Stevie Wonder, Bono, Lady Gaga, as well as First Lady Michelle Obama praising Beyoncé for her contribution to the music world. Well, believe it or not, that same night, there was yet another out-of-this-world performance that also had our hearts racing.
In what was definitely a surprise collaboration, Rihanna teamed up with none other than Britney Spears to perform their hit ‘S&M remix.’ Riri was the first of the two music divas to take the stage wearing a bondage-inspired white leotard with bejeweled handcuffs that actually never came off.
A couple of minutes into the song, Britney Spears was lifted onto the stage in the same outfit as Rihanna down to the cuffs but in black leather and accessorized with a rabbit-ears mask. After a racy side-by-side pole dance routine, Rihanna and Britney ended their performance with a pillow fight which left the stars covered in feathers as they smiled and waved at the crowd.
What many Britney and Riri fans don’t know is that the stars actually sealed their performance by locking lips, but the camera conveniently cut away right at that steamy moment.
And in case you didn’t get your fair share of Britney, she later returned to rock the stage one more time with another unexpected collab. This time Britney followed up Nicki Minaj’s extended performance of “Super Bass” with a seamless transition into her hit song “Till the World Ends.”
Though we, unfortunately, didn’t get to hear Nicki sing-along, we at least got to see these two stars share the same stage as they left their mark on music history. And we actually don’t need to go THAT far back in time for other memorable performances.
In 2019 Taylor Swift pulled out all the stops to create a pastel dream world on stage as she sang “M.E.!” in one of the best performances of her career! Her Broadway-worthy music number began with a massive drumline decked out in pink outfits.
Moments later, TayTay joined in on the fun wearing a rainbow dress as she reenacted the suitcase dance from her music video with a group of backup dancers. Brendon Urie later swooped in on a Mary Poppins-style flying umbrella to sing along with Taylor.
Her epic performance ended with airborne umbrella dancers spinning from the roof as both Taylor and Brendon made their way to the stars. I don’t know about you all, but I can’t wait for a future Taylor Swift Vegas show. And finally, though it wasn’t a performance per se, we have to mention One Direction’s appearance at the BBMAs in 2015.
As you might remember, this was actually the band’s very first official public appearance after Zayn Malik had left the band two months prior. 1D went on to win top duo/group but more than the award itself; what got the most attention was their acceptance speech in which they showed they had no bad blood with Zayn.
Take a look: “As Niall’s said this one’s for the fans but there’s one more person to share this with and that’s our brother Zayn. Thank you very much, have a nice evening.” This special moment drew a massive reaction from all Directioners in the crowd as they cheered on Harry, Louis, Niall, and Liam…
So there you have it, we can’t wait to see what kind of surprises and O.M.G. moments this year’s Billboard Awards have in store for us, and you know for sure we’ll be covering all of them for you…
In the meantime, stay here to see how Harry Styles recently shocked his fans while accepting a BRIT award. And also, let us know in the comments what’s your favorite Billboard Music Award performance.