TGJ Roundtable: 2020 Billboard Music Awards Review [#BBMAs]

Published: Thursday 15th Oct 2020 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, Rashad, Joe, and Ryan – get real in a very candid way.

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

2020 Billboard Music Awards 


Award shows in the current climate have been a mixed bag. So, it was always going to be interesting to see how the Billboard Music Awards would show up and show out during such a unique place in time.

Unlike many of its rival ceremonies, the BBMAs shunned the virtual approach in favor of a  more traditional setup — albeit without an audience.

And while it didn’t make a world of difference, it was refreshing seeing something more akin to what we’re used to.

For me, the night’s MVP was Brandy.

She blazed the stage with an epic medley – which included two new gems ‘Borderline’ and ‘No Tomorrow.’ Indeed, despite deliberately driving in a more understated direction, she brought the heat with her confidence, stellar vocals, and band (who were JAMMING).

Elsewhere, Doja Cat electrified with her cabaret-kissed medley of inescapable bops. Make no mistake about it, she is a bonafide performer and is meeting the moment ten-fold with these live offerings of late.

The ever-dependable En Vogue lived up to their billing with a timely performance of ‘Free Your Mind.’ While BTS were a treat too.

Beyond that, slay moments were few and far between.

Demi Lovato‘s woke moment, well-intended as it was, sent me to sleep. Similarly, while I applaud Alicia Keys’ commitment to her campaign, she’d have served herself better belting a different song.

Also the show’s strict (but understandable) adherence to its original tracking period (the cut-off for which was more than six months ago) limited its mirroring of the music landscape in the here and now. From winners to performers.

Still, I applaud the BBMAs for continuing to give veterans the look-see other shows don’t. Because, in the process, it’s proving that the more seasoned acts – more times than not – put on the best spectacles.



Historically, the BBMAs have been one of the least adventurous and least exciting award shows of the year.  Yet, for all they lacked in spice they often made up for with their “throwback performer” and the performance of the Icon Award recipient. Coming courtesy of En Vogue and Garth Brooks this year, both were absolute knockouts – especially the former given their energy and the poignance of the tune’s lyrics given the social climate we’re in.
The standouts, however, were undoubtedly Brandy and Doja Cat.  An awesome platform to debut her new song with Ty Dolla $ign, the BBMAs should’ve felt honored to have the Vocal Bible bless them with that stellar of a vocal performance.  Not that we expect less from her but Jesus! The girl is easily one of the most consistent performers of her generation.
Speaking of consistency, those of us who thought the MTV VMAs were a fluke for Doja Cat were seriously mistaken. The girl ROCKED the stage with her cabaret-inspired showing – yet another demonstration of her surprising versatility.  She stands alongside Megan as the new class of femcees who are upping the ante for live showings among rappers overall – not just women. Bravo!
Other notable moments came courtesy of BTS, John Legend‘s emotional showing in honor of his wife, and Alicia Keys (even though that song is just not it sis).


It’s bittersweet watching award ceremonies in these times. Indeed, when so versed in what they’re supposed be, it’s hard to fully receive what they’ve become.

Still, the Billboard Music Awards managed to gifted viewers a commendable spectacle.

Doja Cat played absolutely no games during her Vegas showgirl-inspired performance. It’s amazing that she is finally able to show the world the performer she’s always been.

John Legend’s touching tribute to wife Chrissy Teigen was another highlight of mine, but the true gem of the night was Brandy’s surprisingly high-octane rendition of ‘Borderline.’

Unfortunately, Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande weren’t around to rep Pop, but BTS – as always – did their thing with their performance of ‘Dynamite’. As did Demi Lovato with a politically charged moment.

On the winner front, it was fantastic Billie Eilish getting her flowers once and again, as well as the unstoppable Cardi B and Lizzo.

Here’s hoping we’ll see a return to form for the next award show – even if it sounds unlikely at this point.



The Billboard Music Awards typically veer one direction or another: that being too cringe-worthy to watch or too enticing to avert the gaze. However, this year it was neither cringe-worthy nor entrancing. Rather, it was split down the middle with some stunning performances followed by sleep-inducing moments.

As for who delivered? Well, I never thought I’d say this but, Doja Cat came through with her medley of ‘Juicy,’ ‘Say So,’ and ‘Like That.’ The cabaret-inspired performance introduced some welcome production changes in the form of string instrumentals and the best dancing of the night. I am not a dancer by any means, but her performance made me want to get up and break my hip trying.

Elsewhere, music veterans En Vogue delivered a fiery rendition of ‘Free Your Mind’ so hot that it’s a surprise that the sprinkler system in the building did not go off. Not to mention the little interpolation of ‘This Is America’ by Childish Gambino towards the end of the song really drove home the social message in time when we need it the most.

Despite being raised on country music and still enjoying it to this day, Luke Combs‘ performance of ‘Better Together’ was bland enough that that bread looked at it and said “I have more spice than that.”

But no performance could top the disaster that was Sia‘s showing. Her performance of ‘Courage to Change’ (a repackaged P!nk song from her ‘Hurts 2 B Human’ album that Sia wrote), was a vocal disaster. She muffled her way through what was supposed to be a soaring ballad and stayed stiff as a board on stage. Granted, she has never been one to move, but a dancer or two would have made it at least somewhat interesting to watch.

At the end of the day, the ladies ruled the day, proving that girl power is stronger than the rest.


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 2020 BBMAs.

Your thoughts?

[Photo Credit: Billboard Music Awards / Getty]

Comments 17

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  1. 🍭marilyn monh-O-E🍭(drink my diva cup ☕️) October 15, 2020

    Brandy’s performance was a MESS👎👎👎 u can see the crowd was dead. Zzzzzzzz she needs to fired her hair & fashion stylists. Seriously💁🏿‍♀️💁🏿‍♀️💁🏿‍♀️

    • Wonderboy October 15, 2020

      There was no crowd dumb ass😂😂
      But yes she looked a Shakespearean mess but sounded good at least.

    • Rahli October 15, 2020

      Yes it was very 1519 and I love bantu knots, but not THOSE. I keep feeling like she or her stylist is not embracing her new size. They keep attempting to cover her up or just she dresses uncomfortably.

    • Ego30$ October 15, 2020


      • Brandy b7 October 15, 2020

        It was virtual stupid

  2. Clarks0o0ñ October 15, 2020

    RCA records is investing heavily in doja cat right now. Watching this performance, u can tell.
    I dont blame them. Doja is a star. Electrifying and captivating unlike f*******, who is a complete snooze

    The way RCA records has tossed normani to the side like a used tàmpon

    • 🍭marilyn monh-O-E🍭(drink my diva cup ☕️) October 15, 2020

      Damn right💋 f******* will keep performing motivation (lazy version) in McDonald’s parking lot thru her entire career 😂🤣😂

      • 🍭marilyn monh-O-E🍭(drink my diva cup ☕️) October 15, 2020

        Keep the shoutouts coming, bìtches!! Normani’s # 1 fans in the house. 😂😂😂💋💋💁🏼‍♀️🖕🏻🖕🏻

    • Keeping it real October 15, 2020

      F*******’s career was DOA after motivation. Everybody hyped her up and she dropped the ball. she’ll be dropped from the label within a year

      • 🍭marilyn monh-O-E🍭(drink my diva cup ☕️) October 15, 2020

        Keep promoting her. Haters are the best PR team. 🖕🏻🖕🏻🖕🏻💋💁🏼‍♀️

  3. Rahli October 15, 2020

    I’m not trying to be funny, and I usually don’t post negative comments. However, that Brandy performance was not it. She delivered vocally, however the visual and the outfit was a no. I think she lip-synced the first song. Actually, most of that album is for her cult-like following. There are not many songs one would perform at a award show. Actually the whole performance was inappropriate.

  4. Creole October 15, 2020

    Brandy is a weird ass b**** and I think I’m starting to like it LMAO

  5. Oops Oh my October 15, 2020

    You dog face h*** are really upset in these comments because the PEOPLE loved Brandy’s performance!😭😭😭😭😭😭. Even IF she did lip sync her pre recorded vocals sounded better then many of yall faves and thats why you’re mad! 😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭

  6. Pat October 15, 2020

    Love brandy but wasn’t feeling how she performed the new material. The chord progressions w the live band and vocal slay age ending of almost doesn’t count made up for it tho.

  7. Anthony October 15, 2020

    I will give credit where credit is due. I like Brandy but that performance was trash. Mainly due to the material not her vocal. The night belonged to Doja!

  8. Darryl October 15, 2020

    Nothing but hate of course for my QueenB Brandy!!!! Yep i said what i said. Most didnt understand her wardrobe it was base off the song Borderline which is a mental illness smh ppl educate yourselves. Her whole album is about mental illness stuff the black community don’t like the address or talk about. The Performance was Great!!! #THEVOCALBIBLE

    • Tori October 16, 2020


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