Mariah Carey, the 2019 Billboard Music Awards Icon honoree, performed a career-spanning set during Wednesday’s event. For the performance, the 14-time BBMA winner delivered 2018 single “A No No,” 1995’s “Always Be My Baby,” 1991’s “Emotions” and 2005’s “We Belong Together” before closing with 1993’s “Hero.”
While Carey seemed to battle monitor and pitch issues at times, she still showcased her astounding range during the elegant set, which featured backing from tux-clad dancers, gospel singers and an orchestra. In addition to her career-spanning medley, Carey was also honored with the BBMA Icon award for her many charts achievements, including the most weeks spent atop the Hot 100 and most Number One singles for a solo artist.
Jennifer Hudson presented the Icon award to Carey, who was humble during her acceptance speech. She thanked Billboard for letting her grow up on the charts but also acknowledged her climb was not an easy one. While the award is named “Icon,” she said, “I really don’t think of myself that way. I started making music out of necessity to survive and to express myself,” adding that it was something she needed to do in order to feel worthy of existing. She acknowledged that she has had ups and downs in her career and made mistakes like everyone, and often felt like an outsider as a “lost, interracial child.” However, dedicating her life to music was her saving grace. “And to anyone who has told me that a song I wrote helped save your life, I thank you,” she concluded. “Because you saved mine, and I’ll be eternally grateful for that.”
Seriously though, thank you @billboard @BBMAs for the attention to detail, the impeccable selection of contributors, for actually giving a *bleep* (choose expletive of choice), for all the hard work putting this together and for truly getting me! ❤️
— Mariah Carey (@MariahCarey) April 27, 2019
Carey released Caution, her best album in a decade, in October 2018. The LP featured the hit single “A No No,” which spawned a series of remixes. Carey’s 1994 seasonal classic “All I Want for Christmas” also broke the one-day record for most-streamed song on December 24th, 2018.