71°F
weather icon Clear

The 5 top storylines at the Billboard Music Awards in Las Vegas

Fifteen years ago, a Blink-182 cover band was born in the wilds of Summerlin.

An exclamation point here, a tweak in musical direction there, and we’d have Panic! at the Disco to glam up the mid-aughts emo boom with theatrical panache and a self-aware swagger, designer threads and knowing smirks in place of their peers’ skinny jeans and watery eyes.

Nowadays, only frontman Brendon Urie remains from Panic’s original lineup, but the Las Vegas native has steered the group to a remarkable career rebirth in recent years by embracing an outsize, arena-pop flamboyance, beginning with 2016’s “Death of a Bachelor,” the group’s first No. 1 record.

On Wednesday, Panic! returns to Las Vegas as one of the performers at the 2019 Billboard Music Awards, where the group is up for top duo/group and top rock artist, competing against fellow Las Vegans Imagine Dragons in both instances.

The local connection is just one of the top five storylines to watch for during this year’s show, which will be broadcast from the MGM Grand Garden at 8 p.m. on NBC.

The queen B receives her court

Think of a speeding car without brakes.

Now, replace that speeding car with a razor-tongued 26-year old rapper with a history of hurling shoes at rivals and eagerly manning the front lines in the battle of the sexes with bayonet-sharp rhymes of feminine comeuppance.

Yeah, there may be only one person who can stop the seemingly unstoppable Cardi B at this year’s Billboard Music Awards.

And that would be Cardi B.

The “Bodak Yellow” rapper/professional meme generator/public footwear tosser will actually be competing against herself in three categories (top-selling song, top collaboration and Hot 100 song).

Those are among her show-leading 21 nominations, one short of the record, shared by Drake and The Chainsmokers (22 apiece in 2017).

It’s been quite a run for Cardi B of late.

In the past 12 months, she became the first female solo artist to win the Grammy for best rap album thanks to her critically lauded, double-platinum debut, “Invasion of Privacy,” with every one of its 13 tracks going gold or platinum, the first time that’s ever happened.

Of course, there was the occasional hiccup here and there, such as her fight with fellow rapper Nicki Minaj at a New York Fashion Week party last September, during which Cardi B whipped a high heel at her foe.

But hey, we can understand why she didn’t throw hands instead: Can’t lug trophies home with broken mitts.

The hip-hop hegemony continues

It was the year hip-hop went full Biff Tannen on various musical McFlys.

Rap’s commercial dominance is hardly a new development, but now it’s sitting on rock ’n’ roll’s chest, slapping it in the face with its own hand. Sure, George Harrison’s guitar may have gently wept, but now it’s crocodile tears for the instrument in question, which has become so rare on the charts, even Bigfoot is questioning its existence.

To wit: Of the Billboard Awards’ top five nominees, all are rappers, with Drake (17), Post Malone (17), Travis Scott (12) and the late XXXtentacion (10) following Cardi B’s lead.

In two of the biggest categories, top Billboard 200 artist and top Hot 100 artist, popster Ariana Grande, who is up for both, is the only nonrapper nominated.

Seriously, rock ’n’ roll, time to make like a tree and … go do some tree stuff.

An icon becomes an Icon

Speaking of dominance, ever been put in a headlock by a 5-foot-9 super-diva with a voice almost as powerful as our command of the English language?

Well, the Billboard charts have.

For a decade.

Some stats, stat: Carey topped the Billboard Hot 100 during every year of the 1990s. She’s the only artist to do so in any decade. She’s notched 18 No. 1 hits and spent 79 total weeks on the chart, the most among any solo act. She’s notched six No. 1 albums and sold more than 200 million records.

Seriously, those numbers are no laughing matter — kind of like one of her ex-husband Nick Cannon’s stand-up routines.

As such, Carey will be a well-deserved recipient of the Icon Award at this year’s show, joining the likes of Stevie Wonder, Prince, Cher and Celine Dion.

She’ll accept the award in person and perform a medley of her many, many hits, which means the broadcast might run long by a leap year or two.

BTS fever comes to Vegas

Kinda doubt anyone ever braved the prospect a surprise cavity search from airport security solely to gain entry into the country that Lance Bass hails from.

The same can’t be said of BTS diehards.

The South Korean septet has set new standards in boy band mania: A recent study by the Hyundai Research Institute found that BTS was the reason that one in 13 foreign visitors came to their homeland in 2018, to the tune of $3.6 billion to the country’s economy.

Sure, there have been a number of huge acts of this ilk in the past, from N’ Sync to the Backstreet Boys, New Kids on the Block to definitely not O Town.

But BTS is pile-driving them all into a bottomless pit of teenage sighs.

Earlier this month, they became the first Korean music act to perform on “Saturday Night Live” and earned over 5 billion streams on Spotify in the same week. They’re also the only Korean band to score a No. 1 album in America, with last year’s “Love Yourself: Tear.” Boasting a massive social media presence, BTS even earned a Guinness World Record in 2018 for most Twitter engagements by a musical act.

And now, they’re coming to Vegas to perform their hit “Boy With Luv” with Halsey on the show.

Your kid sister’s heart is about to get punched right in the face.

Contact Jason Bracelin at jbracelin@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0476. Follow @JasonBracelin on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Entertainment Videos
Heavier traffic expected from EDC festival attendees
Electric Daisy Carnival attendees began to vacate the Las Vegas Motor Speedway starting before 5 a.m., the majority heading south on Interstate 15.
What it's like to skip the lines and fly by helicopter to EDC
What it's like to skip the lines and fly by helicopter to EDC. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
DJ Steve Aoki visits Las Vegas comic book store
DJ Steve Aoki visits Torpedo Comics in Las Vegas Friday, May 17, 2019, for a signing for his new comic book series "Neon Future." (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Las Vegas Smith & Wollensky opens at The Venetian
After 18 years, the Smith & Wollensky location on Las Vegas’ south Strip closed in 2017, to be re-born two years later with a rib-cutting — instead of a ribbon-cutting — in The Grand Canal Shoppes at The Venetian. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal)
Colin Cantwell, Creator Of Iconic Star Wars Ships Visits Vegas
Colin Cantwell, who created and designed such "Star Wars" ships as the X-Wing fighter, and Death Star, met fans at Rogue Toys in Las Vegas today. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Beauty & Essex in Las Vegas makes an EDC Wonder Wheel
In honor of the Electric Daisy Carnival, Beauty & Essex at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas makes its Wonder Wheel party-worthy. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Giada talks Vegas Uncork’d
Giada De Laurentiis talks during Aperitivo Hour, a Vegas Uncork'd event, at her Caesars Palace restaurant, Pronto, May 10, 2019. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Scenes from Vegas Uncork’d 2019 on the Las Vegas Strip
The 13th edition of Vegas Uncork’d by Bon Appetit brought four days of food, wine, celebrity chefs and parties to town, May 9-12. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Three ingredients Gordon Ramsay can’t live without
Bon Appetit's Andy Baraghani interviews the "Hell's Kitchen" chef during a Vegas Uncork'd event at Caesars Palace, May 11, 2019. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Vegas Uncork’d launches wiith bubbles and a blade
Dozens of chefs representing some of the Strip’s top restaurants gathered Thursday at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas to launch the 2019 edition of Vegas Uncork’d by Bon Appetit. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bunky the Clown at the clown convention
Bob "Bunky the Clown" Gretton talks about his life as a clown and the Clown Convention which was in Las Vegas at Texas Station this week. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Frying soft-shell crab at Lola’s in Las Vegas
At Lola’s: A Louisiana Kitchen in Las Vegas, soft-shell crab is breaded and fried and served either as an appetizer, po’boy or platter. Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal
The Stove in Henderson makes Pecan Pie Pancakes
At The Stove in Henderson, chef/partner Antonio Nunez stacks buttermilk pancakes with pecans and dulce de leche and tops them pie crust crumbs. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Vinnie Paul remembered at Count's Vamp'd
The late rocker's favorite table at one of his favorite clubs in Las Vegas. (Jason Bracelin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
4DX movie experience at Red Rock
4DX movie experience during a demo reel at Red Rock. (Christopher Lawrence/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
What To Do On May The 4th
There are plenty of events going on May the 4th this year around Las Vegas. Celebrate Star Wars and Comic Book Day all at once. The Rogue Toys, the 501st, Rebel Legion and Millennium Fandom Bar are all hosting fun events to help celebrate your geek-dom. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Las Vegas Water Sports Introduces New Attraction At Lake Las Vegas
Las Vegas Water Sports will debut its new aqua park attraction at Lake Las Vegas Days this weekend. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Making the Space Invader at Greene St. Kitchen in Las Vegas
Lysa Huerta, pastry cook at Greene St. Kitchen at the Palms in Las Vegas, starts with angel food cake, Fruity Pebbles ice cream and strawberry sorbet to create a space creature engulfed in flashing lights and swirling mists. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas Pools
The M, Park MGM and NoMad are just a few great pools in Las Vegas. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Jose Andres explains Iberico pork
(Al Mancini/Las Vega Review-Journal)
Inside Life is Beautiful
Craig Asher Nyman explains how Life is Beautiful festival is booked and talks about this year's line-up. (Jason Bracelin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Tattoo'd America Pops Up In Vegas
Tattoo'd America, a new pop-up attraction on the Linq Promenade, had their grand opening Friday. The attraction is dedicate to the culture of tattoos. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Jose Andres gets key to the Strip
Chef Jose Andres was presented with a Key to the Las Vegas Strip and a proclamation declaring April 26 Jose Andres Day in Clark County by County Commissioner Tick Segerblom on Friday. The ceremony took place at his restaurant Bazaar Meat in the SLS Las Vegas. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Sadelle’s in Las Vegas makes a grilled cheese with an inverted bagel
Michael Vargas, executive sous chef at Sadelle’s at Bellagio in Las Vegas, inverts an everything bagel and grills it with Swiss, cheddar and Muenster cheeses to make the Inverted Bagel Grilled Cheese. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Learn how to make China Poblano's Salt Air Margarita
Learn how to make China Poblano's Salt Air Margarita (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Tattoo'd America invites you to have fun and take pictures
Kassandra Lopez at Tattoo'd America invites you to have fun and take pictures. (Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Prime rib is carved tableside at Lawry’s The Prime Rib in Las Vegas
Dave Simmons, executive chef of Lawry’s The Prime in Las Vegas, which plans special cuts for National Prime Rib Day, demonstrates the restaurant’s service from rolling tableside carving carts. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Making gluten-free pizza at Good Pie in Las Vegas
Good Pie owner/pizzaiola Vincent Rotolo makes his gluten-free pizza.
Rockabilly fans enjoy Las Vegas weather poolside
Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekender runs Thursday, April 18th through Sunday, April 21st with a huge car show on Saturday featuring The Reverend Horton Heat, The Delta Bombers and The Coasters. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Brownie sundae at VegeNation in Las Vegas is completely vegan
Donald Lemperle, chef/owner of VegeNation in Las Vegas and nearby Henderson, NV, makes his sundae with ice cream made with coconut and almond milks, a brownie made with coconut flour and oil and organic sugar and cacao, and fresh fruit. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
THE LATEST