Despite being nominated six times for this year’s Billboard Music Awards, country star Morgan Wallen will not be invited to participate in the live telecast on March 23, Dick Clark Productions has announced.
Since “his recent conduct does not align with our core values, we will not be including him on the show in any capacity (performing, presenting, accepting),” the production company said in a statement originally published in Billboard.
The statement released from the show explained why Wallen racked up so many nominations despite the embattled singer being persona non grata on awards shows right now. He was barred from even being eligible for nominations at the recent Academy of Country Music Awards, which is also produced by Dick Clark Productions. The data-driven nature of the awards precludes disqualification on any kind of qualitative or moral grounds.
Besides being excluded from the ACM Awards, Wallen is still being kept off nearly all the nation’s country music stations as a result of the February incident in which he was caught on camera saying the N-word in a drunken exchange among friends. He has subsequently said he is taking an extended time-out from his career to work on his issues. Nonetheless, his most recent album, “Dangerous: The Double Album,” remains the year’s most successful in any genre so far.
The full statement: “Unique among awards shows, Billboard Music Awards (BBMA) finalists are determined by performance on the Billboard charts, and are not chosen by a voting committee or membership organization. BBMA finalists and winners are based on key fan interactions with music (including album and digital song sales, streaming, radio airplay, social engagement), tracked by Billboard and its data partners, including MRC Data.”
It continued, “With our content reaching millions of viewers, dcp and MRC have the privilege and responsibility to effect change by creating a more inclusive dialogue in our productions and across the industry.
“Morgan Wallen is a finalist this year based on charting. As his recent conduct does not align with our core values, we will not be including him on the show in any capacity (performing, presenting, accepting).
“It is heartening and encouraging to hear that Morgan is taking steps in his anti-racist journey and starting to do some meaningful work. We plan to evaluate his progress and will consider his participation in future shows.”
Wallen’s six nominations come in five categories, among them top country artist, top country male artist and top country album. He has two nominations for top country song.
The show airs May 23 at 8 p.m. ET/5 PT on NBC.