From Swift Selfies to Maluma's Wayne's World Bow: What You Didn't See at the Billboard Music Awards
What was happening in the audience with your favorite celebrities when the cameras weren’t rolling?
You know that Taylor Swift opened the Billboard Music Awards in Las Vegas on Wednesday night; you know that Drake cleaned up and that the BTS “Army” is really loud. But what was happening in the audience with your favorite celebrities when the cameras weren’t rolling? Here are a few things you didn’t see on TV:
As if there was any doubt who was opening the show, the mystery was solved in the downstairs lobby, as a slew of dancers dressed in pastel suits waited to enter the arena as the crowd filtered in — the outfits, of course, very reminiscent of Swift’s new music video for “ME!”
But who didn’t exactly have a front row seat for Swift’s performance? Host Kelly Clarkson and Florida Georgia Line, both of whom watched from near the back of the arena floor (as they prepped for their funny bit to open the show). However, all three got caught in the traffic of Swift’s drummers who were lining the aisles. Swift seemed to be the woman of the hour, as many in the audience clamored for selfies. The pop star obliged, using the fan’s own cell phones to snap pics.
Just call BTS camera hogs. Nary was there a time when a camera wasn’t on the K-Pop group (perhaps because the crowd erupted every time a member was shown on the screens). Maybe there needed to be cameras on the group for all the BTS chants happening during commercial breaks. And, before BTS performed with Halsey, young female fans kept ushers busy as they had the tough job of keeping those fans from running down the aisles to get close.
Khalid’s performance was cool, but Zedd was the main attraction for many of the fans in the audience. The DJ was making his way to his seat during Khalid’s rendition of “Talk” when fans spotted him, which meant selfie time. Yep, Zedd stopped for multiple selfies with fans on his way to his seat.
Be sure to check out PEOPLE’s Billboard Music Awards coverage to get the latest news on music’s big night.
No surprise here, but Ciara’s biggest fan is NFL stud Russell Wilson … who happens to be her husband. After her performance, Wilson — trying to stay incognito in an oversized coat, baseball hat and sunglasses — left his seat to go backstage to see his wife. With him? Ciara’s son Future. The trio returned and were later seen rocking to Panic! at the Disco and Clarkson’s performances.
Considering the Billboard awards is an all-genre awards show, you always get odd seat pairings. How about country star Kane Brown, his pregnant wife Katelyn and Migos rapper Quavo as seatmates? Yep, it happened on Wednesday night. Forgive Brown if he was preoccupied, because he’s got his impending child on his brain. “I’m prepared. I’m not going to let the baby go,” he told PEOPLE on the red carpet before the show. “I’m going to hold on to [her] the whole time. I might be carrying the baby down the carpet with me next!”
Tori Kelly knows Dan + Shay have got pipes to rival her own. While Clarkson introduced the award-winning county duo (who performed again later that night at Joe Jonas and Sophie Turner‘s surprise Vegas wedding), she said, “Trust me, these boys can sing!” Kelly was off camera nodding. By the way, the celebrities got quick nourishment after three sang “Speechless” — a gang of servers carrying potato chips descended on the celebrities in front.
Madonna’s performance of “Medellín” with Maluma had everyone talking, but Madonna and Maluma only had eyes for their duet partner. Each bowed to the other in awe after finishing their song and as the cameras cut to break — Maluma even mimed the classic Wayne’s World “We’re not worthy” move. “She’s super disciplined and she loves everything on point so I would say that her advice is incredible,” Maluma told PEOPLE on the red carpet before the show. “She’s taken care of me, too, so I love the way she thinks and the way she works.”
While some award winners had pre-loaded speeches logged into a teleprompter in the event that they won, Brendon Urie wasn’t one of them. He noted that he didn’t think his band, Panic! at the Disco, would win, so he was winging up there. When Urie gave a shoutout to his parents, his mom and dad starting enthusiastically fist-pumping. Urie’s parents didn’t have far to go to see their son win: the Uries are from Vegas.
The 2019 Billboard Music Awards were broadcast live from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on May 1 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on NBC.