After three straight years with Kelly Clarkson as host, the Billboard Music Awards have a new voice in that role. Nick Jonas will assume the duties for the May 23 show on NBC, to be broadcast live from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.
It’s the latest in a line of hosting gigs for Jonas, who hosted “Saturday Night Live” on Feb. 25 and had a less high-profile role announcing Oscar nominations with his wife, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, on March 15. His latest solo album, “Spaceman,” came out March 12, following on the heels of the Jonas Brothers’ 2019 reunion album “Happiness Begins.”
It’s Jonas’ first time as the Billboard Awards’ host, but it’s not just Clarkson that he is succeeding in the role. The show has picked musicians over other personalities as hosts, with Ludacris having hosted or co-hosted for four years before Clarkson took it over for three. That’s been a switch from the show’s early years in the ’90s, when the role typically fell to comics like Kathy Griffin, Jon Stewart and Chris Rock.
The host announcement comes a day after Dick Clark Productions and NBC released a full list of nominations for the 2021 awards, which are decided on Billboard magazine data about sales, streaming, radio airplay and other consumption. The leading contender by far was the Weeknd, with 16 nominations, ahead of DaBaby with 11, the late Pop Smoke with 10, and country singer Gabby Barrett, who’s up for nine.
Meghan Thee Stallion was the second most named female artist in Thursday morning’s announcement, coming in with seven nominations. Bad Bunny, Drake, the late Juice WRLD and Chris Brown also have seven chances this year. Lil Baby and Morgan Wallen have six nominations apiece, followed by Justin Bieber and Doja Cat with five.
The contenders for the crowning category, Top Artist, are Taylor Swift (who has four nominations), the Weeknd, Drake, Juice WRLD and Pop Smoke.
Top New Artist is a contest between Barrett, Doja Cat, Pop Smoke, Jack Harlow and Rod Wave.
Dick Clark Productions addressed Wallen’s six nods, saying he would not be invited to participate in the show despite his nominations because his recent actions did not meet with the show’s “core values.”
The Billboard Music Awards began in 1990 and ran for 17 years as an annual staple of the Fox schedule. After a four-year hiatus in which the show disappeared from the air, it returned on ABC in 2011 and switched over to NBC in 2018. DCP has been in charge of the show since 2014.
The May 23 broadcast airs live on both coasts at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT.