Morgan Wallen made his return to the award show stage last night, performing two songs at the Billboard Music Awards.
Sean “Diddy” Combs, who hosted and served as the executive producer for the show, said he brought Morgan on as a performer in an attempt to stop the trend of “canceling” people who’ve made a mistake, saying, in part:
“The mood of the show is about love and forgiveness. As a musical family, none of us are saints; none of us are without things that happen to them in life. So 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.”
Morgan was nominated for four awards at the show, including top Billboard 200 artist, top country artist, and top country male artist. His 2021 record-breaking album, Dangerous, was also nominated for top Billboard 200 album. Ultimately, he only took home the award for top country male artist.
And he also took the stage to sing two songs, including his recent release “Don’t Think Jesus,” as well as his current single “Wasted On You.” It marked Morgan’s first awards show performance since he was caught on video using a racial slur outside his home in Nashville in February of 2021.
In the fallout from that controversy, he was blacklisted from every major award show in 2021 (including the Billboard Music Awards), but he took home three BBMA’s last year based on Billboard chart performance data for the aforementioned Dangerous.
Morgan gave a pretty stripped down, acoustic rendition of both songs, and personally, I thought it was easily one of the better performances of the night.
In a moment where he could’ve gone totally pop country with a full band and all the gimmicks (like most artists tend to do at these kinds of shows), he chose to sing about forgiveness and acceptance, which I don’t think was any accident considering the meaning of the show for him:
Of course, there were quite a few people on Twitter who were upset to see him there, noting that they were upset with P Diddy’s decision to have him on (and there’s plenty tweets like this from others who share the same sentiment):
Morgan noted in his acceptance speech for top country male artist how thankful he was to be there, and thanked all of his fans and team for their support over the last year or so:
“Man! I’d like to say Thank God, thank my fans, I got the best damn fans. Thank you to my momma for being my date tonight, I wouldn’t be here without you.
Thank you to the Billboard’s for inviting me here. Thank you to my team, thank you to my family, my friends, thank you to my little boy for inspiring me every single day. God bless y’all.”
You can watch the full speech here: