TGJ Roundtable: 2019 Billboard Music Awards Review

Published: Thursday 2nd May 2019 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…

2019 Billboard Music Awards


The Billboard Music Awards tends to either knock it out the park or totally the miss the mark. This year, though, saw neither occur. The show wasn’t especially memorable, but it did deliver a few noteworthy moments.

Yours truly was raised on thunder and lightening spectacles from the gems of the Jackson clan. So I’ve come expect as much from at least some of the acts populating award shows these days.

On that front, Ciara was the evening’s MVP. She worked the stage with Olympic-like precision. Her creative and choreo were grandiose and wholly befitting of her seismic talent. Truth be told, I high-key wish it were for a different song. But she performed with such conviction, that whatever she was selling I was buying!

Elsewhere, Mariah Carey‘s showing was a little less slick and kinda shaky at the start, but she seemed to approach it like a battle and came out victorious by the end. Her weaponry this go round was largely live vocals and I wholly commend her for it. Moving forward, perhaps it’s best to veer away from choppy medleys and pick 1-2 songs and give it her all.

Further down the bill, Madonna – though eternally exciting – couldn’t pay me to be excited about ‘Medellin.’ It’s late and lacking and not even a performance with a reported $5 million price tag could change that.

Besides engaging on-stage moments from winners such as Cardi B and Drake, and an emotional acceptance speech from Mimi (more of that side, please and thanks!) the rest of the guys and girls largely amounted to filler.

Taylor Swift is attracting critique (see #MayoChella), but I’m kinda confused because that’s what she’s been serving the girls. So it is a case of folk waking up to it now or simply looking to drag for dragging sake? The former seems fair, the latter not so much.

Halsey‘s vocal was horrid and it must have been contagious because Khalid had the exact same issue. The Jonas Brothers were blah, and for all her talent Kelly Clarkson didn’t especially rouse either.

BTS were a relative ray of sunshine and Paula Abdul too, but neither were enough to render the show anything beyond mediocre for me.



The highlight of the night? Paula Abdul, hands down. Perhaps witnessing what Janet Jackson’s career-spanning performance did for her last year, the ever-masterful Abdul delivered a spectacle I believe was one of the best the Billboard Music Awards has seen thus far.

Unfortunately, this spelled bad news for Taylor Swift who had hoped to use the night to celebrate her new single ‘ME!’ Alas, her slot-though extravagant- played it far too safe and predictable to make the kind of splash it needed to push the track in a substantial way.As a result, it found itself eclipsed by the likes of Paula, Ciara, Khalid, BTS and The Jonas Brothers. Still, I found it to be well-executed and entertaining.

All in all, I’d give last night’s show a score a 8/10. Why not a solid 10? There were very few standout performances….and could have done with a little (or a lot) of Normani.



The 2019 Billboard Music Awards were easily the franchise’s best showing in recent memory. With a lineup that featured an awesome mix of music’s new school, old school, and everything in between, the BBMAs delivered many/a-highlight and was an overall quite engaging watch.

The standouts for me were the old school divas. Paula Abdul’s Kung Lao inspired performance (ouch Julianne) being the night’s winner for me, Madonna’s technology driven performance was an impressive reminder of her daringness to stay ahead of the curve – even if only when compared to other aged divas. Unlike Taylor Swift, Madge did let the performance happen around her but it was pulled off in an engaging way.

Swift’s spectacle, albeit impressive, was a mayo flavored disappointment and has deservedly earned every thumbs down it’s received.

Mariah may have missed a note here or there, but she brought it home when it counted most.

Overall, the new school was the show’s lowlight. Ariana Grande was dry, Taylor did too much and too little at the same time, Khalid was a snooze, and Ciara delivered a good showing for her but it lacked wow factor.

Overall, I give this year’s showing a solid B-.



I had fun watching the Kelly Clarkson-hosted event.

Although I would have advised Taylor Swift not  to go for a marching band theme just yet (‘Homecoming’ much?), her showing with Brendon Urie was solid enough and offered some great visual elements.

Mariah Carey seemed a bit nervous but once she was on, she was on. The best part of her being honored during the show was undeniably her amazing speech though.

With wit and a lot of heart, it felt fantastic hearing her talking about the ups and downs of her storied career, in her own words.

The biggest performance of the night came courtesy of Pop Queen Madonna and her CGI-heavy performance.

She managed to bring rather bland single ‘Medellin’ to vibrant life. The Latin-infused production goes to show that no one should ever count the entertainer out… at least not when about spectacle. Maluma made for an excellent partner too.

Just like Madge, Ciara turned what I hate to describe an uneventful track into a crowd pleaser, thanks to her amazing energy and spanking orchestration. It’s such a shame the stunner didn’t come back with stronger material, as it’s clear the audience is receptive to her brand. Almost a complete home-run, CiCi.

Other than that, BTS, Tori Kelly, Panic At The Disco! as well as the Jonas Brothers – and Sisters – gave respectable renditions of their latest hits.

And, as always, shout out to Taylor Swift for remaining the Queen of audience participation


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 2019 BBMAs.

Your thoughts?

[Photo credit: Getty]

Comments 11

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  1. WHERE IS SHE May 2, 2019

    MADONNA slayed, Taylor was great (finally I start liking this song), and Mariah’s speech was the MOMENT of the night. Also loved Mariah’s selection of songs.

  2. I hate b&w b itchezz . They both not sht May 2, 2019

    Mariah Carey weave is so tangled. What a hott mess. That’s not her. Hair????!! Damn b****.. She is so played out, she cAnnot sing any better than Janet Jackson. That B**** is so overrated. I see why she had to suck all them rappers d***.. She is NO Whitney Houston. When the labelknew she could not hit tiny shorts and skates cuz she can’t dance or sing.

    !mariah was getting her a** kicked by Whitney Houston. And Whitney Houston wore pants. Mariah a one note singer…

    Shout out to Kevin Costner

    • CHINA May 3, 2019

      All the while your NAPPY Headed MOMMA is home listening to Mariah’s Anything you need a friend while she fries you chicken. STFU and learn some respect you Fat H_omo. You sloppy Qu_eers are always hating, just STFU

  3. I hate b&w b itchezz . They both not sht May 2, 2019

    Wo look how dry and tangled that weave is on carey. She looks like a drunk wash up singer from Vegas. Now that Whitney Houston is dead, she still don’t have the wind like Whitney Houston and then she is old, she isn’t aging graciously who dixk is Mariah Carey sucking in the industry. She swear she is all white. She only half black when it’s $$$$$$$$

  4. Jasmine May 2, 2019

    I think the whole concept of watching award shows is played. People just watch their favs perform and accept awards but skip the filler (commercials, bad reviewed performances, the host speaking, etc).

    With that said, I only watched the performances.

    Mariah = Lovely performance
    Madona = Snooze
    Paula = Cute performance but I could not wait for it to be over half was through
    Ciara = I wish the dance moves were for a better song
    Taylor = Skipped her performance
    Ariana = Cute performance but predictable
    The Rest = Skipped their performances

  5. Sjl May 2, 2019

    I saw Mariah on her “Caution” tour and she was outstanding. I’m 100% not kidding. She sang live and there were times she sounded just like she did in 1990. The reason this does not often translate to these “one off” performances is nerves. It’s one thing performing for your fans—people who have paid to see you & another to sing for a lot of haters. Vocally, she was off last night, but she is still better vocally than anyone else in the game.

    • Jasmine May 2, 2019

      I don’t think it was nerves. She is a seasoned performer. I think her girdle was on too tight. Her waist line was much fuller on the Caution tour . Here, because it was an award show I bet her team decided to make her girdle super tight since it is televised and the problem with that is it restricts her use of her diaphragm muscle to sing with. Hence, why she was able to hit her legendary whistle notes with ease but struggled sometimes with the lower notes.

  6. Faf May 2, 2019

    Mariah fans act delusional sometimes that last note was lipped just bc u can hear breathing doesn’t mean it wasn’t lipped
    She struggles to hit even simple notes and it makes me wonder what happened with her lower register it’s like she can barely control her breath
    Ciara lipped as well, but she had a reason for how hard she was dancing . I wish something would’ve exploded at the end though to have a bigger finale or some confetti

    • Jasmine May 2, 2019

      So Mariah and Cici can’t lip synch without being BASHED but Paula and Madonna can lip synch without attack? If you are gonna bash then bash fairly!

      BTW I do not think Mariah’s performance was lip synched. She hit her high notes and then some. So what if she messed up some notes. Probably was just her girdle pulling too tight on her diaphram muscle.

  7. Opp May 3, 2019

    The first performance of the show was the best. Aka Taylor swift!!!!

  8. High Price May 3, 2019

    “Ciara turned what I hate to describe an uneventful track into a crowd pleaser, thanks to her amazing energy and spanking orchestration. It’s such a shame the stunner didn’t come back with stronger material, as it’s clear the audience is receptive to her brand. Almost a complete home-run, CiCi”.


    VERY receptive to her Brand! This is SO #Facts! But I’m starting to think now that she doesn’t want it like we want it for her. With music like this and a few other joints she released in the past, she couldn’t possibly want a #1 album or single.

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