The evening of Sunday May 21 saw a new round of music artists get the nod for this year from America’s most iconic music publication/popularity chart, in the 2017 Billboard Music Awards. In a way, it was a most singular awards ceremony, thanks to several factors plus the fact a record or two was broken in the number of awards won. A number of performers celebrated milestones in either their career or a particular song they popularized. A foreign music genre cemented its presence in the American music scene by an awards win. One late rapper got a spotlight on his legacy.

And a recently deceased pioneer of grunge rock was memorialized in a touching segment.

New awards win record

Rap made a strong showing for itself at the Billboard Music Awards thanks to two events. One was the impressive awards sweep done by Canadian rapper Drake, for winning a total of 13 Billboard awards in multiple categories. Among these were Top Artist, Top Male Artist, and Top Song Sales Artist. He exceeded by one the previous record set by British singer Adele in 2012, where she won 12. The second event was a commemoration of the 45th birth anniversary of influential rapper Christopher “Notorious BIG” Wallace, who died in 1997. As always the commemoration was spearheaded by BIG’s longtime friend P.

Diddy, who described him as a game-changer of the rap scene. Diddy was joined by BIG’s son CJ Wallace, who had followed his father’s footsteps as a rapper.

Another momentous occasion in the BBMA is the win of Korean boy band Bangtan Boys, better known as BTS, in the Top Social Artist category. Having surpassed other nominees as Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez and Ariana Grande, BTS has done the K-Pop community proud with this impressive achievement.

Korean pop looks here to stay.

Milestones and memorials

There were also some milestones touched upon by the Billboard Music Awards. One of the featured performers, Celine Dion, delivered a stirring rendition of her memetic song “My Heart Will Go On” from the soundtrack of the 1997 film “Titanic”. This makes it the song’s 20th anniversary, and it was worthily remembered.

Then there was singer/actress Cher, the Goddess of Pop in her time. Prior to receiving Billboard’s lifetime achievement Icon award, she wowed the audience with a spectacular medley number of her songs “Believe” and “If I Could Turn Back Time”. It was absolutely incredible for being 71 years old, as Cher points out during her acceptance speech.

Finally, the BBMA made sure to give the proper due to the recently departed front-man of grunge band Soundgarden, Chris Cornell, who passed away last week. A moment of silence was observed for the man described by Dan Reynolds of the Imagine Dragons as a “voice of the ages”.