We don't say that as a slight to Beyoncé's 2016: Lemonade is a classic, "Formation" is undeniable, and she truly dominated the stage with her tour by the same name. But as we saw at the Grammys earlier this year, that kind of acclaim doesn't necessarily equate to awards show accolades.
The criteria for the nominee and winner selection process for the Billboard Music Awards is different than the Grammys, in that they place more weight on the commercial success of an artist and their work. Lemonade moved an impressive 2.1 million album-equivalent units in 2016. However, that falls behind Adele's 25, which moved 2.3 million. And keep in mind, 25 sold much more than that when it came out in late November 2015; this fall, it went diamond.
And at 4.1 million, Drake's Views outpaced both in 2016. Beyoncé is up against Drake and/or Adele in four categories, so kiss those goodbye.
There's also the Weeknd factor. While his recent album Starboy hasn't sold as much as Lemonade, he's been more of a visible figure than any other pop artist over the last six months, with successful singles and a major headlining tour to boot. And you can never rule out Rihanna's star power.
If you still don't think this is a possible outcome, check back on the 2014 Billboard Music Awards. Beyoncé was coming off the surprise release of her fifth solo album and received seven nominations, including Top Billboard 200 Artist, Top Female Artist, and Top R&B Artist. She went home with zero trophies.
I think she'll earn more awards this time around, but not in the bigger categories. My Beyoncé-related predictions:
- Top Artist: No
- Top Female Artist: No
- Top Billboard 200 Artist: No
- Top Billboard 200 Album: No
- Top Touring Artist: Yes
- Top R&B Artist: No
- Top R&B Album: Yes
- Top R&B Tour: Yes
You can catch the Billboard Music Awards this Sunday, May 21 at 8 p.m. (ET) on ABC to find out how Beyoncé fares.