Did #BoycottNBC Tank the 2020 Billboard Music Awards Viewership?
The 2020 Billboard Music Awards may have featured star-studded performances from Demi Lovato and BTS, as well as an expert host in Kelly Clarkson, but viewership was apparently down this year in the key 18-49 demographic. Way down.
So, what caused low viewership? The pandemic and a switch from Sunday night to Wednesday night could very well have played a factor. However, #BoycottNBC could likely have had something do with it.
The boycott was launched after the network agreed to host President Donald Trump for a live town hall event on Thursday (October 15)—on the same night and at the exact same time ABC was already scheduled to air presidential candidate Joe Biden's town hall.
Prior to Trump's town hall on NBC, he mocked the network during a rally, telling the crowd, per Deadline, "So you know I’m being set up tonight. I’m doing this town hall with Concast, C-O-N, con, cause it’s a con job ... It’s NBC, the worst ... I figured, what the hell, we get a free hour on television."
Politics apparently played a contentious role during this years BBMAs in general: Lovato was reportedly censored during her performance of her new politically charged single, "Commander in Chief," a protest song aimed directly at Trump.
The originally planned performance, which wasn't seen on television, was meant to end with a shot of the word "vote" sprawled in large letters across the screen behind the pop star. Instead, the televised performance featured a close-up of Lovato, with the word "vote" nowhere in sight. Many believe this is due to the anti-Trump nature of the song Lovato performed, and the implication that the singer was essentially asking people to vote against Trump.
Lizzo also made a political statement by asking her fans to vote, while wearing a black and white dress with the word splashed across it.
Billie Eilish also encouraged her fans to rock the polls during her acceptance speech. She won the trophies for Top New Artist, Top Female Artist and Top Billboard 200 Album for When We All Fall Asleep Where Do We Go?.