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In the 32-year history of the Billboard Music Awards, I can’t remember any moment when the show had any particular agenda. The BBMAs are an also-ran awards show with no pretenses toward prestige; the show exists entirely to honor the most popular artists in the world, or at least the most popular artists who will show up for the telecast. Last night, though, that changed. Before the show, first-time host and executive producer Diddy said, “One of the things I’m doing directly is un-canceling the canceled. That’s breaking news because people haven’t been about uncanceling. But canceling is a trend that needs to stop.” To that end, Diddy made sure that the show would feature Morgan Wallen and Travis Scott, two huge stars who have suffered self-inflicted career setbacks.
Wallen and Scott are massively different figures with massively different histories, and their circumstances have nothing to do with each other. Wallen remains America’s most popular country star even though some radio stations pulled his music after he was caught on tape shouting a racial slur outside his house. It’s not entirely clear where Travis Scott’s career is right now, but he’s getting back to performing after last year’s Astroworld festival, when 10 people were crushed to death while Scott performed. When Scott was announced for the show, Diddy claimed on Instagram that he had personally made a “request” and a “demand” that Scott would be on the show.

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