Music Industry Gives Morgan Wallen Another Big Stage With Billboard Music Awards Performance

Billboard Music Awards 2022 – Show – Credit: Brian Friedman for Billboard

Morgan Wallen took the stage at the Billboard Music Awards just over a year after being caught on camera using a racial slur to perform his songs “Wasted on You” and “Don’t Think Jesus” on Sunday night.

Performing on the center stage of the show surrounded by his backing band, Wallen opened with the thoughtful “Don’t Think Jesus” before ditching his guitar to give a moving performance of the chart-topping “Wasted on You.”

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“Wasted on You” appears on Wallen’s 2021 album, Dangerous: the double album, which was one of the biggest commercial successes of the last year, despite the controversy surrounding the country artist. The track was officially released as a single in March and has since reached number one on the Billboard Hot Country Songs Chart and peaked at number nine on the Hot 100.

MRC Live and Alternative, which produces the BBMAs, previously explained the decision to book Wallen in an internal memo shared via Billboard. According to the memo, the decision came after internal discussions, as well as discussions between MRC and Wallen’s team; MRC staff members were reportedly convinced that Wallen was committed to improving and learning more, and that the 2021 incident was not part of frequent behavior. (Billboard and rolling stone are both owned by the same company, PMRC, which came into being in 2020 after a merger between MRC and Penske Media Corporation.)

Wallen’s performance at the BBMAs is his second major awards show appearance, just months after the country music industry welcomed him to the Academy of Country Music Awards in March. Wallen – who won album of the year for Dangerous — was dropped from last year’s show, one of many industry-wide repercussions he faced after he was caught using the racial slur.

After the incident, Wallen remained largely out of public view, although he issued a public apology on hello america last July. Along with appearances at the BBMA and CMA, he’s slowly returned to the limelight over the past few months with new music — including a collaboration with Lil Durk — and a massive arena tour.

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