12 famous musicians who lost 'top new artist' at the Billboard Music Awards

  • A number of successful and famous musicians have lost top new artist at the Billboard Music Awards.
  • Everyone from Ariana Grande to Cardi B has lost out on the award.
  • Bazzi, Juice Wrld, Lil Baby, Dua Lipa, and Ella Mai are competing for the title this year.
  • Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more stories.

The Billboard Music Awards usually serve as a reliable indicator of which artists are selling the most records, which artists are gaining momentum on the charts, and which artists are about to explode upon the music scene. The latter category is best represented by one highly coveted award: top new artist.

But many years provide some fierce competition for this category, meaning some of the biggest artists today lost out on the trophy the year they were up for it.

With the 2019 BBMAs fast approaching, we’re looking back on some of the famous names who have lost top new artist throughout the years – but who have gone on to have amazing careers and to top the charts in the years since.


Charlie Puth lost to Fetty Wap in 2016.

Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images for 103.5 KTUCharlie Puth

At the 2016 Billboard Music Awards, Fetty Wap beat Omi, Silentó, Bryson Tiller, and Charlie Puth for the top new artist award.


Kesha lost to Justin Bieber in 2011.

Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty ImagesKesha

Kesha had stiff competition for the award in 2011. She may have had a hit song topping the charts at the time with “We R Who We R,” but ultimately, Bieber took the prize.


Ariana Grande lost to Lorde in 2014.

Dennis Van Tine/STAR MAX/IPxAriana Grande

It was a battle of the pop queens back in 2014. Lorde beat Ariana Grande for top new artist, but given that the two women are both Grammy award-winning and commercially successful artists now, it seems to have turned out alright for both of them.

Lorde also triumphed over Bastille, Capital Cities, and Passenger.


Bruno Mars lost to Justin Bieber in 2011

Paras Griffin/Getty Images for BETBruno Mars

Again, when it comes to record sales, Justin Bieber is a formidable opponent. He beat a slew of successful musicians in 2011, including the “Nothin’ on You” singer.


Alessia Cara lost to Zayn Malik in 2017.

The former One Direction member took the award two years ago, besting Alessia Cara, who went on to win best new artist at the 2018 Grammy Awards.


Lil Uzi Vert lost to Zayn Malik in 2017.

Jamie McCarthy/Getty ImagesLil Uzi Vert

The “Dark Queen” rapper also lost to Zayn that year, along with Alessia Cara, Desiigner, and Lukas Graham.


Carly Rae Jepsen lost to One Direction in 2013.

Ethan Miller/Getty ImagesCarly Rae Jepsen

“Call Me Maybe” may have exploded on the charts, but it had fierce competition when it came to One Direction – who also beat out Gotye, The Lumineers, and PSY.


5 Seconds of Summer lost to Sam Smith in 2015.

Alberto E. Rodriguez / Stringer/Getty ImagesLuke Hemmings, Ashton Irwin, Michael Clifford and Calum Hood of 5 Seconds of Summer attend the 16th annual G’Day USA Los Angeles Gala at 3LABS.

Despite dropping their debut album in 2014, 5 Seconds of Summer still didn’t beat Sam Smith for top new artist.


Meghan Trainor also lost out on the award in 2015.

Jerritt Clark /Getty ImagesMeghan Trainor

Another current pop superstar that lost to Sam Smith in 2015 is Meghan Trainor. Smith also beat Hozier and Iggy Azalea.


Nicki Minaj lost to Justin Bieber in 2011.

Minaj joined the ranks of Bruno Mars, Kesha, and Taio Cruz when Bieber won top new artist in 2011. But just like them, Minaj has had a pretty impressive career since.


Cardi B lost to Khalid in 2018.

Ryan Kang/AP Images for the NFLCardi B is seen on the blue carpet before performing on Super Bowl eve, Saturday, Feb. 2, 2019 in Atlanta.

Last year, Queen Cardi herself lost to Khalid for the category, but both artists have had booming careers since.


Camila Cabello also lost to Khalid in 2018.

Despite her star catapulting after leaving Fifth Harmony, Cabello also didn’t beat out Khalid for top new artist in 2018. Other stars who missed out were 21 Savage and Kodak Black.

The 2019 Billboard Music Awards will air on NBC on May 1.

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