Morgan Wallen delivered the live debut of two songs during the 2022 Billboard Music Awards (BBMAs), which marked his first major awards show performance in over a year.
Live from MGM Garden Grand Arena, the East Tennessee native and the country hitmaker performed the recently released track “Don’t Think Jesus” as well as “Wasted On You,” a track from his record-breaking sophomore project, Dangerous: The Double Album.
Joined by his band, consisting of Mark Taco Annino (Drums), Luke Cowboy Rice (Bass/Guitar), Tyler Tomlinson (Guitar) and Dominic Frost (Guitar/Vocals), Wallen kicked off the two song performance with the deeply personal track, “Don’t Think Jesus.”
The track, which was written by Chase McGill, Jessi Alexander and Mark Holman with Wallen in mind, brought the country hitmaker to tears when he first heard it in his truck in October of 2021. The song tells the story of a boy chasing whiskey and women while living life in the fast lane until he just couldn’t anymore.
He then performed a stripped down version of “Wasted On You,” similar to The Dangerous Sessions.
Co-written by Wallen alongside Ryan Vojtesak, Ernest K. Smith and Josh Thompson, “Wasted On You” finds the country hitmaker crooning over the downfall of a relationship while reflecting on everything he’s “wasted” on his ex. He also admits to turning to a bottle of bourbon to help ease the pain.
The songwriters found a clever way to use the term wasted in multiple ways as Wallen admits he’s wasted time, money and miles on his past lover, while also getting wasted to drown out the memories.
Wallen was also up for four nods at the coveted awards show, however, ultimately only took home one. He was named Top Country Male Artist at the 2022 BBMAs.
The chart-topping singer/songwriter was on hand to accept the award from presenter Pusha T.
“Man, I’d like to say thank God, thank my fans, I got the best damn fans,” Wallen said, before he honored his mother, Lesli, and his 1-year-old son, Indigo Wilder.
“Thank you to my mama for being my date tonight, I wouldn’t be here without,” Wallen continued. ”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.”
Wallen also walked the red carpet with his mom at his side.
Hosted by Sean “Diddy” Combs, the 2022 Billboard Music Awards broadcasted live on NBC coast-to-coast from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on Sunday, May 15 at 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT. The show also streamed live on Peacock.
The BBMAs also featured a star-studded lineup with performances from Becky G (“Baile Con Mi Ex,” “MAMIII”), Burna Boy (“Last Last,” “Kilometre”), Dan + Shay (“You”), Ed Sheeran (“2step”), Elle King & Miranda Lambert [“Drunk (And I Don’t Wanna Go Home”)], Florence + The Machine (“My Love”), Latto (“Big Energy”), Maxwell (“Lady In My Life”), Machine Gun Kelly (“twin flame”), Megan Thee Stallion (“Plan B,” “Sweetest Pie”), Morgan Wallen (“Don’t Think Jesus,” “Wasted on You”), Rauw Alejandro (“Cúrame,” “MUSEO,” “Todo De Ti”), Silk Sonic (“Love’s Train”), and Travis Scott (“Mafia”).
The 2022 Billboard Music Awards also honored this year’s Icon Award recipient Mary J. Blige and the third annual Billboard Music Award Changemaker, Mari Copeny.
The evening’s star-studded presenter lineup included AleXa, Anitta, Chlöe Bailey, City Girls, DJ Khaled, Dixie D’Amelio, Dove Cameron, Fat Joe, French Montana, Givēon, Heidi Klum, Lainey Wilson, Liza Koshy, Michael Bublé, Pusha T, Shenseea, Snoop Dogg, Swizz Beatz, and Teyana Taylor.
Unique among music awards shows, finalists for the Billboard Music Awards are determined by performance on the Billboard Charts. Since 1940, the Billboard Charts have been the go-to guide for ranking the popularity of artists, songs, and albums, and are the ultimate measure of success in music.
This year’s awards are based on the chart period of April 10, 2021 through March 26, 2022. “Billboard Music Awards” finalists and winners are based on key fan interactions with music, including album and digital song sales, streaming, radio airplay, and touring, tracked by Billboard and its data partners, including Luminate.