Mary J. Blige will receive the Icon Award at the 2022 Billboard Music Awards. The 10-time BBMA winner will also perform on the show. The BBMAs will broadcast live coast-to-coast from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on Sunday, May 15.
Blige is the 11th artist to receive the Icon Award, which recognizes exceptional artists who have achieved excellence on the Billboard charts and left an indelible mark on music itself. Previous recipients have been Neil Diamond, Stevie Wonder, Prince, Jennifer Lopez, Celine Dion, Cher, Janet Jackson, Mariah Carey, Garth Brooks and P!NK.
“My career has been such an amazing and unexpected journey that has included many turns in avenues I could never have imagined like performing, producing, starting businesses and now even my own music festival,” Blige said in a statement. “Through it all, I always somehow came back to my first love, music. To be recognized in this way right now, with the Icon Award at the Billboard Music Awards, is an incredible honor and one that really touches me.
Blige won the 1995 Billboard Music Award for R&B Album of the Year and took home nine awards at the 2006 show.
Blige has won nine Grammys. In 2017, she became the first person in Oscar history to be nominated for acting and songwriting in the same year, for her work in muddy. Blige will likely receive his first Emmy nomination this year for his appearance at the Super Bowl halftime show in February alongside Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Eminem and Kendrick Lamar. (They would be nominated in the Special Outstanding Variety (Live) category.)
Blige has amassed four No. 1 albums on the Billboard 200 (Sharing my world, love and life, the breakthrough and Growing pains) and a #1 single on the Billboard Hot 100 (“Family Affair”, which topped the chart for six weeks in 2001). She is the seventh woman to receive the Icon Award. The first three recipients were men, but since then Brooks has been the only man honored.
At 51, Blige falls exactly into the age range of former Icon Award winners. Last year’s winner, P!nk, was the youngest recipient to date at 41 years old. Diamond are Cher are the oldest recipients to date. They were each 70 years old when they received this honor.
All of the previous Icon Award recipients have also starred on the show, as Blige has agreed to do. Wonder performed a medley with Alicia Keys. Dion was supported in the performance by Lindsey Stirling.
Blige received a lifetime achievement award at the BET Awards in 2019 and received the Icon of the Year award at the Billboard Women in Music event in 2017. But other career accolades, such as a lifetime achievement award from the Recording Academy, are still (probably) in his future.
The Weeknd is the top contender for the 2022 Billboard Music Awards. He is a finalist in 17 categories, including Top Artist, Top Male Artist, and Top Hot 100 Artist. His collaboration with Ariana Grande, “Save Your Tears (Remix),” is up for six awards.
Doja Cat is the top female runner-up with 14 nominations, including Top Artist, Top Female Artist, and Top Hot 100 Artist.
Justin Bieber, Ye (formerly Kanye West), and Olivia Rodrigo each have 13 nods.
Five new categories were unveiled this year, four of which are based on Billboard‘s first authoritative global charts and one that measures viral songs. This brings the total number of categories to 62. This year’s awards are based on the tracking period of March 26, 2021 to March 17, 2022. This corresponds to Billboard chart dates from April 10, 2021 to March 26, 2022.
Billboard Music Awards finalists and winners are based on top fan interactions with music, including digital album and song sales, streaming, radio airplay, and social engagement, tracked by Billboard and its data partners, including Luminate (formerly MRC Data).
The BBMAs have been celebrating music’s greatest achievements for over 30 years. Unique among music awards shows, finalists are determined by performance on the Billboard graphics. The recipient of the Billboard Change Maker Award, which honors an artist or group that speaks truth to power through their music, platform and/or community, will be announced at a later date.
The BBMAs will broadcast live coast-to-coast from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on Sunday, May 15 at 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT on NBC and will air live on Peacock. This year’s host has not been announced. Nick Jonas was the host last year. Kelly Clarkson hosted the previous three years.
The 2022 Billboard Music Awards are produced by MRC Live & Alternative. Robert Deaton serves as executive producer. Tickets to attend the show are available to the public. Prices start at $90 per ticket and are available for purchase here. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. ET/3:30 p.m. PT.