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The iHeartRadio Music Awards returned Tuesday night live from Los Angeles on FOX with a show that offered a little bit of everything with a minimum of silly banter and wasted time.
Host LL Cool J got things started with a fierce medley of “Mama Said Knock You Out,” :Rock the Bells” and old-school classics from New York pioneers EPMD and Craig Mack. LL was at peak intensity throughout — setting a high bar for a guest list mostly young enough to be his offspring.
Best New Alternative Band winners Maneskin did a pretty good job of picking up the gauntlet with their typically over-the-top performance of “Beggin'” and “I Wanna Be Your Slave.” Singer Damiano David delivered plenty of big rock moves as well as big rock vocals — not to mention outfits that could have come from Rob Halford‘s garage sale.
Jennifer Lopez picked up this year’s Icon Award after a lengthy filmed recap of her impressive career. J-Lo came out in an outfit that threatened to let loose a wardrobe malfunction at any minute, but held it together for a sweet acceptance speech. She’d return later in the show for a very J-Lo performance, accompanied by drag queens, each dressed in one of her classic outfits from the past.
John Legend and Charlie Puth — and their pianos — shared the stage and traded versions of each others’ hits in a fluffy-but-charming mellow interlude. They finished with a flourish, though, tackling their duet “Dope” and Charlie’s mildly funky new single “Light Switch.” Bonus points to Charlle for that wispy early ’80s-looking mustache.
Jason Aldean, who took home Country Song of the Year for his Carrie Underwood duet “If I Didn’t Love You,” ran through a medley of his hits, including that song and that odd hip-hop knockoff “Dirt Road Anthem.”
Meghan Thee Stallion delivered the hottest — and coolest-looking — performance of the night, emerging from a larger-than-life oven, clad all in red, to tantalize with a sexed-up version of “Sweetest Pie,” and accept her Trailblazer Award.
Producers took the suspense out of the winners list by skipping nominees altogether in most categories, and padding the show with pre-recorded interviews with acts like Silk Sonic, who were named Duo/Group of the Year, and The Kid Laroi and Justin Bieber, who snagged Best Collaboration for “Stay.”
Awards were pretty equally distributed: Olivia Rodrigo took home two, including Female Artist of the Year and Best New Pop Artist while Foo Fighters notched three rock awards, none of which made the telecast.
2022 iHeartRadio Music Awards winners
Song of the Year – Dua Lipa: “Levitating”
Male Artist of the Year – Lil Nas X
Female Artist of the Year – Olivia Rodrigo
Pop Album of the Year – Adele: 30
Best New Pop Artist – Olivia Rodrigo
Best Music Video – BTS: “Butter”
Duo/Group of the Year – Silk Sonic
Best Collaboration – Justin Bieber and The Kid Laroi: “Stay”
Best Lyrics – Taylor Swift: “All Too Well”
Hip-Hop Artist of the Year – Drake
Best New Hip-Hop Artist – Yung Bleu
Hip-Hop Song of the Year – Pop Smoke: “What You Know ‘Bout Love?”
Hip-Hop Album of the Year – J Cole: The Off-Season
R&B Artist of the Year – Jazmine Sullivan
Alternative Artist of the Year – Machine Gun Kelly
Best New Alternative Artist – Maneskin
Alternative Song of the Year – All Time Low (w/Blackbear): “Monsters”
Alternative Album of the Year – Billie Eilish: Happier Than Ever
Rock Artist of the Year – Foo Fighters
Rock Album of the Year – Foo Fighters: Medicine at Midnight
Rock Song of the Year – Foo Fighters: “Waiting on a War”
Best New Rock Artist – Mammoth WVH
Country Artist of the Year – Luke Combs
Country Song of the Year – Jason Aldean and Carrie Underwood: “If I Didn’t Love You”
Best New Country Artist – Lainey Wilson
Dance Artist of the Year – David Guetta
Dance Song of the Year – Acraze: “Do it To it”
Best Cover Song – Camila Cabello: “Good 4 U” (Olivia Rodrigo)
Comeback Album of the Year – Adele: 30
Producer of the Year – Finneas
Songwriter of the Year –Omer Fedi
Tour of the Year – Harry Styles
TikTok Songwriter of the Year – Jax
Social Star of the Year – Bella Poarch
Written by: Tony Williams
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