Disgraced country star sweeps billboard awards
The musician won 11 awards
(Web Desk) - Country singer Morgan Wallen was the big winner at Sunday night's Billboard Music Awards, two years after being suspended by his record label for using a racial slur.
The musician won 11 awards, including top male artist and album and single of the year.
In 2021, Wallen was suspended by his record label after being filmed using the N-word following a night out with friends.
The star apologised and, reunited with his record label, topped the US charts for 16 weeks this year with the double album One Thing At A Time.
Despite that success, he was frozen out of the Grammy Award nominations this month, an indication that the wider record industry has not forgiven him.
By contrast, the Billboard Awards are based purely on sales figures, meaning Wallen went into the ceremony with a good chance of dominating the main categories.
His tally of 11 awards also included top country artist, top streaming songs artist and top country touring artist.
“Last awards show I went to we came home empty-handed and this one I don’t have enough hands for them all,” Wallen said.
Taylor Swift was the night's other main winner, picking up 10 prizes, including the coveted trophies for top artist and and top-selling song for the hit single Anti-Hero.
“Well this is unreal,” said the star in a pre-recorded acceptance speech.
“Billboard bases everything off of what you are listening to and what you’re passionate about... I feel like the luckiest girl to have you in my corner and caring about the music I make.”
Swift's victory came after she was forced to postpone a concert in Rio de Janeiro amidst an extreme heatwave that has triggered health alerts across Brazil.
On Friday, one fan died while waiting to watch her show. In a statement on Instagram, the pop star said she her heart was "shattered" by 23-year-old Ana Clara Benevides Machado's death, adding: "She was so incredibly beautiful and far too young."
The Queen of Christmas Mariah Carey won a chart achievement award in recognition of her perennial smash All I Want For Christmas Is You.
She was presented with the trophy by her twin children Monroe and Moroccan.
After joking that she "doesn't acknowledge" the passing of time, Carey added: "When I first sat down to write All I Want For Christmas Is You, I never could have imagined I would have been standing here three months later accepting this special award for it."
She also performed the song at the ceremony, external - arriving on stage aboard a ski lift, while surrounded by dancers on ice skates.
Canadian rapper Drake won five awards including top rap artist and top rap album for Her Loss, a collaboration with 21 Savage.
R&B star SZA collected four prizes for her album SOS, which topped the US charts for 10 weeks and spawned an in-demand arena tour.
And pop titan Beyoncé won three awards, taking home best R&B touring artist, top dance/electronic artist and best dance/electronic album for Renaissance.
Nigeria's Burna Boy won best Afrobeats artist, Karol G scooped best Latin artist, while girl group NewJeans won best K-pop artist, following the breakout success of their 90s throwback singles Super Shy and OMG.
The quintet - Danielle, Haerin, Hyein, Hanni and Minji - performed a medley of the songs during the ceremony, recreating the viral dance moves of their videos in a futuristic, colour-coded set framed by pulsating lights.
Intricate choreography was a theme of the night.
Canadian star Tate McRae gave an aerobic performance of her smash hit Greedy, while Karol G whipped up a tsunami while singing a medley of Qlona, Labios Mordidos and Ojos Ferrari from a giant pool of water.
K-pop boyband Stray Kids arrived in military uniform, performing a punchy and intricate routine to the single S-Class and LALALALA while pyrotechnics exploded around them.
Mexico's Peso Pluma delivered his track Rubicon behind the ropes of a boxing ring, with Mike Tyson acting as his coach.
And David Guetta joined Bebe Rexha for a dramatic, orchestral version of their cheese-laden dance smash I'm Good (Blue).
The track went on to win best dance/electronic song, and Rexha expressed her surprise - saying it had started out as a throwaway attempt to sample Eiffel 65's euro-trance hit I'm Blue.
“We did it in 2017, we didn’t think it would become such a worldwide anthem," she said.
"We wanted to just flip a fun song from back in the day and just make it feel good and we couldn’t believe how far the song has gone, 52 weeks at number one.”