Looking for a night of spectacular performances, unexpected collaborations, buzzworthy pop culture moments? There’s no better way to celebrate the chart-topping hits of the year than with the 2021 Billboard Music Awards.
The 2021 BBMAs will air live on NBC this Sunday from Los Angeles, and this year’s event will feature some record-breaking artists, from The Weeknd (finalist in 16 categories, including Top Artist) to DaBaby (11 categories, including multi-finalist in the Top Streaming Song category for “Rockstar” and “Whats Poppin,”) and Megan Thee Stallion (including Top Female Artist and Top Rap Female Artist). The late Pop Smoke and Juice WRLD are also up for posthumous nods in several categories, along with first-timers like “I Hope” singer Gabby Barrett who became the female artist with the most nods this year.
Hosted by Nick Jonas (who tweeted about his “preemptive ‘Best Host Ever’ award”), the ceremony is gearing up for some potential record-breakers, and first-time winners—DaBaby, Megan Thee Stallion, Lil Baby, and Dua Lipa could potentially secure their first ever Billboard Music Awards this year. BTS could also win their 5th consecutive award in the Top Social Artist category, beating out Justin Bieber’s previous record.
If you’re wondering how the votes are even counted, Billboard Music Awards nominees and winners are based on key fan interactions with music, including album and digital song sales, streaming, radio airplay, touring, and social engagement racked by Billboard and its data partners, including MRC Data. Fan-voted categories, though, include Top Social Artist and Top Collaboration.
Want to watch the BBMAs online? Here’s how to join in on the celebration, whether you’re tuning in from your laptop or TV.
When Are the 2021 BBMAs? Air Date, Channel, Time
The ceremony will air just a little over seven months after the 2020 BBMAs, which were held this past October 14th at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. The 2020 event was originally scheduled for May of last year, but was postponed due to Covid precautions. The 2021 Billboard Music Awards will air Sunday, May 23 at 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT on NBC. The show will go live simultaneously on the East Coast and West Coast, though West Coast viewers can tune into a replay 8 p.m. PST as well.
How to Watch the BBMAs on TV
If you want to watch the BBMAs on TV, you’ll either need a traditional cable package (like these plans from AT&T which you can order now) or you can tune into NBC through a digital antenna if you have one. For everyone else, here’s how to watch or stream the show online.
How to Stream the BBMAs Online Free
If you want to watch the BBMAs online for free, there are a couple ways to live stream the show from home without cable.
1. Stream the BBMAs on Peacock
Since the Billboard Music Awards are airing on NBC, you can stream the event live on Peacock for free through the app, which includes viewing from a laptop, smartphone, or smart TV. With Peacock you’ll also get access to NBC’s other hit shows, such as The Office and Saved by the Bell.
You can get a basic Peacock subscription for free, but you’ll only have access to a segment of the service’s catalogue. Peacock has a 7-day free trial to watch the Billboard Music Awards online, but getting Peacock Premium will let you watch everything on the streamer ad-free.
2. Stream the BBMAs on Hulu + Live TV
You may already be aware of the original series and on-demand programming from Hulu, but the streaming service’s Hulu + Live TV plan will also get you access to NBC (and more than 60 other television channels) so you can watch the BBMAs, live sports and more.
Hulu is currently offering a 7-day free trial so you can watch the Billboard Music Awards. Test it out and get instant access NBC to watch the BBMAs without cable. Hulu lets you watch the show from your TV, tablet, laptop or other connected device. Get more details here.
3. Stream the BBMAs on fuboTV
One of the best streaming services for live TV is fuboTV. A subscription to fubo gets you more than 200 TV channels, including NBC, where you can stream the Billboard Music Awards live. Fubo also gets you access to E! to watch the BBMAs red carpet online, in addition to post-show coverage.
4. Stream the BBMAs on SlingTV
SlingTV lets you customize which channels you want on your plan, you can watch the BBMAs for free on NBC. SlingTV’s app pairs with virtually any device to let you watch the Billboard Music Awards live from your phone, computer, tablet, and more.
In addition to its live TV offerings like the BBMAs, SlingTV offers more than 10,000 hours of video on demand. Want the full slate of channels? SlingTV is currently offering a 7-day free trial. Get more details here.
2021 BBMAs: Host, Nominees, Performances, What to Expect
The 2021 BBMAs will have Nick Jonas hosting from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. Kelly Clarkson is passing the torch to her fellow The Voice co-host after three consecutive years of hosting the event. The red carpet coverage starts at 6:30 p.m. EST / 3:30 p.m. PT on E!, with the award ceremony airing at 8:00 p.m. EST.
The 2021 BBMAs telecast will also have a new location. The MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, which has long been the home of the Billboard Music Awards, will not be a part of the show, as the main location has been moved to the Microsoft Theater, in downtown Los Angeles.
Drake will receive the Artist of the Decade Award at the 2021 Billboard Music Awards, who holds the record for the most Billboard Music Awards with 27, reaching this record after taking home 12 awards in 2019. He’s also broken several Billboard chart records, including having nine Number One albums and 33 top 10 songs on the Hot 100.
Three-time BBMA winner Pink was also previously announced to be taking home the honorary Icon Award for 2021, joining the ranks of Mariah Carey, Stevie Wonder, Janet Jackson, and more. She will take the stage later in the night for a performance at this year’s awards.
This year’s BBMAs will also feature the second annual Change Maker Award, awarded to rapper, philanthropist, and social activist Trae Tha Truth. He had previously led the Houston march for justice on behalf of long-time friend George Floyd, and his nonprofit Angel By Nature has been instrumental in providing $1.5 million of a basic living supplies to families and individuals in need.
Similar to other award show this year, the musical lineup will feature a mix of in-person and remote performances. The Weeknd is scheduled to perform live at the awards show. Duran Duran will make their BBMAs debut with a remote performance in London, joined by the Jonas Brothers who will accompany them stateside. BTS will also deliver the world television debut of their new single, “Butter,” remote from Korea. Other performances of the night will feature Bad Bunny, Karol G, Alicia Keys, DJ Khaled with H.E.R. and Migos, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis with Sounds of Blackness, AJR, Glass Animals and Twenty One Pilots.
The 2021 BBMA presenters are expected to include Lena Waithe, Renée Elise Goldsberry, Leslie Odom Jr., Cynthia Erivo, Henry Golding, Dixie D’Amelio, Lil Rel Howery, Gabrielle Union, Kelsea Ballerini, Chelsea Handler, Kathryn Hahn, Padma Lakshmi, and Swizz Beatz. Beyoncé’s mother, Tina Knowles-Lawson, will also be presenting Trae Tha Truth with the Change Maker Award.