TGJ Roundtable: 2017 Billboard Music Awards Review [#BBMAs]

Published: Monday 22nd May 2017 by Sam

Welcome to the latest TGJ Roundtable!

Over the years, That Grape Juice has established a distinguished voice that – whether loved or loathed – sparks discussion, debate, and on occasion drama!

Though comprised of seasoned writers who share a similar outlook on Urban Pop culture, the idiosyncrasies of the TGJ team members often lend for quite heated debates “behind the scenes” about the hottest topics.

Now, we give you a front row seat to the show. In a format similar to ‘The View’ or ‘The Real’, TGJ editors – Sam, David, Rashad, and Joe – get real in a very candid way.

Today’s roundtable topic asks each anchor their thoughts on the…

2017 Billboard Music Awards


For me, the show lacked until seasoned names such as Celine Dion, Cher, and Bruno Mars showed up to inject some much needed life. And even then, there’s only so much electricity they were able to lend to an otherwise flatline of a show.  

About a quarter of the way through, an air of “b-side” begun to rear its head and never quite disappeared. Odd on the surface, as the show wasn’t necessarily lacking in star power. 

Yet upon deeper thought, it wasn’t hard to establish why some of today’s top talent couldn’t conjure up anything collectively astounding. 

Nicki Minaj, much as I love her, is still on the hunt for a definitive hit this era. Hence, while it was cute to see her perform many of the songs she has out in the marketplace, sewing them together in a medley only served to remind that none of them have ascended to “smash” status. A commendable effort, though. 

Elsewhere, Drake’s aquatic aesthetic couldn’t distract from the desert dry nature of what he had on offer, while newcomers such as Halsey did little to rouse my interest. Indeed, the latter seemed to have paid close attention to Rihanna’s lazy, laxed performance style – which is off-putting in its original form  and even moreso when imitated. 

The evening brought with it a much hyped performance from Camila Cabello. And as one of the folk wanting both she and her former group Fifth Harmony to win, I longed for her knock her first solo booking out of the park. But, for all the pomp and pageantry, something lacked. Like, despite being vocally competent and hitting her choreo marks, I felt like I was watching a high-school talent show. Sure, she has room to grow (which she inevitably will), but let’s just call a spade a spade. 

It wasn’t all doom and gloom, though. For, as mentioned, Dion, Cher, and Mars each showcased why they are who they are. 

‘My Heart Will Go On’ was sung exquisitely regardless of the lip-syncing debate and when paired with the grandeur of the staging ensured that Dion delivered a performance that will be remembered – much like the song – for years to come. 

Cher, who received the Icon Award, didn’t do a whole lot on stage. But, at 71, what she did bring (including her barely there outfits) reminded that she is an authentic and enduring rock star. Indeed, despite being literally three times older than some of today’s Pop tarts, she has three times the presence of many of them. Legend. 

Mars, with his showing of ‘Versace On The Floor,’ further certified why he is one of today’s most consistently dependable performers. 

As for the winners, that was neither here nor there for me – as they’re all but predetermined as the show is based as actual Billboard sales and streaming data. All of which don’t necessarily equal quality or merit. 

All in all, the 2017 BBMAs wasn’t’t terrible it just wasn’t memorable – which in a way is actually worse. 



Another fantastic showing from the brains behind the Billboard Music Awards.

Standing as one of its strongest outings to date, last night’s ceremony offered viewers a healthy mix of new and established acts who- for the most part- rocked the night with first-rate performances.

Nicki Minaj, who has always struggled to deliver performances and videos worthy of her A list status, opened the night with her strongest live offering to date. Why her strongest?

Its delivery of the formula responsible’s for the rapper’s rise.

A little grit, fashion, femininity, impressive yet manageable choreography, charisma and the versatility her contemporaries often lack.

Here’s hoping the team behind her performance plays a part in her forthcoming world tour.

Another one of the night’s highlights? Celine Dion.

Isn’t it interesting that an act who debuted in the 80s did more for an award show in 2017 than acts who should be in their prime in…2017?

Yes. However, let’s hope that Pop’s new class took notes when the vocalist took to the stage last night to perform her timeless classic ‘My Heart Will Go On’.

How I’d rate last night’s show? 8 out of 10.



To say the 2017 BBMAs left much to be desired would probably be giving it too much credit. It left EVERYTHING to be desired.
Nicki’s opener, though visually impressive, just served as a reminder of how incapable she is of commanding the stage. The song choices also reeked of #pressed as each (except ‘Regret’) housed lyrics aimed at Remy Ma while collectively failing to have the -umph that made ‘Shether’ so powerful.

Elsewhere, Camila Cabello’s televised debut of ‘Crying in the Club’ left me crying…tears of laughter. Armed with stiff choreo and pitchy vocals that at times sounded like she was responding to wasp and mosquito stings, that performance had me wondering “is she serious” at several junctures.

Every other performance – barring Cher, Celine, and Bruno – lacked memorability.  So, without question, the night’s highlights were the legends – Cher & Celine – who both showed the new school how it’s done.  If they were absent that show would’ve almost been unbearable.



How far has Nicki Minaj come?! Indeed, a lot has happened since the ‘Superbass’ days. To me, this performance solidified her status as – NOT only the leading lady of Hip-Hop, but – a world class Pop star.

Bruno Mars simply but surely brought the house down with future Top 10 hit ‘Versace On The Floor’.

Other than that, the nostalgia performances were a sweet touch only for the fact that they presented the honorees in a very “hip” and “relevant” light and not some random blasts from the past.

Jury’s still out on whether Camila Cabello has what it takes to be a solo star. She definitely has the charisma, the made-for-radio vocals and the star quality but does she have enough of all those elements to sit with the Ariana’s and Miley’s? To be fair, her performance was on par with what those ladies usually serve – which isn’t much really – so there’s hope. And on the topic of Miley, her first televised performance since trashing Hip-Hop culture was a reflection of the song itself: cute, no more no less.

Drake’s triumph was to be expected considering how good the past year has been to him chart-wise and it’s cool to see that Beyonce wasn’t forgotten too.

See you next year, BBMAs.


Do you agree with our picks? Who was spot on? Let us know your thoughts on the latest TGJ Roundtable and your thoughts on the 2017 BBMAs.

Your thoughts?

[Photo credit: Getty]

Posted under:

Comments 8

Please Post Your Comments & Reviews

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Fresh Navi May 22, 2017

    It’s so funny Rihanna wasn’t there, yet Sam just couldnt refuse the urge of mentioning her name, ever so pressT samantha gurl. stay bothered eh?

    • Jamon May 22, 2017

      He/she stays pressed. You’re supposed to weigh in on what happened last night and bringing up Rihanna only selitifies your obsession and pettiness towards that women. That’s why I don’t read most articles with Sam’s name on it.

  2. FR3shhh2death May 22, 2017

    I loved Nicki’s Lil Kim in the Notorious video dominatrix get-up during her whole Remy Ma tribute. It was cute, just needed a whip to top it off.

  3. DanYiel Iman May 22, 2017

    Chile Tricki Garbagh style is Lil’Kim closet all over again & funny that she didn’t WIN 1 single award, meaning Lil’Kim reign has seen her styling ALREADY!! ✌??

  4. cocobutta May 22, 2017

    The show was as flat as Camila’s ? vocals.

    I still there an edge of commanding the stage Nicki not quite pin pointed like in her concerts, maybe it’s a relaxation thing, however was still a strong showing.

    Celine looked beautiful. Bruno solid but his stage tempo showmanship was kinda needed on this particular show. No fault of his own just others don’t bring what he can.

    Cher just gotta salute that heifer.

  5. Michael May 22, 2017

    That b**** wasn’t even there and Samantha still gotta bring her up and try to shade her. I can’t with this girl no more. And the more Rihanna pays him NO attention and continues being out of this world successful….the more it bothers him.

    And lets set the record straight….CELINE DION WAS LIP SYNCING. No if ands buts or maybes about it. And the messed up thing is, had that been Mariah, ya’ll would have crucified her for miming. Celine lipped The Show Must Go On last year as well and no one said anything. Granted she’s a much better actress when doing it than Mariah is but the fact is… a spade a spade!

    • JOHNVIDAL May 23, 2017

      Both Celine and Mariah have earned it. the way they worked with their voices was crazy and their doctors probably told them at some point in the mid-90s that it was time to lip many of the performances. So what? Liek I said, thay have earned it. And both get a lot of heat for it, not only Mariah. What I cannot understand is why most of those people who critizice them are fans of mediocre vocalists who despite of being mediocre use backing-tracks to support their vocally-mediocre type of songs. It just doesn´t make sense and makes them look even more stupid and clueless.

  6. July 11, 2017

    Cher delivered a heartfelt speech after performing two of her biggest hits when she accepted the Icon award at the Billboard Music Awards.

Recommended Posts
.. **