How Justin Bieber Could Repeat History 10 Years After His Billboard Music Awards Debut

You better belieb that Justin Bieber could dominate this weekend's 2021 Billboard Music Awards. Look back at his journey with the star-studded award show.

By Cathy Campo May 18, 2021 11:00 AMTags
Watch: Justin Bieber's "Lonely" Rise: VidBits

2011 sure was a different time.

Prince William and Kate Middleton had just married in front of the world. Beyoncé announced she was pregnant with Blue Ivy Carter. And for Justin Bieber, his music career was absolutely skyrocketing.

It's almost hard to remember when the Biebs wasn't a household name. At the time, the young Canadian singer discovered by Usher may have been fairly new to the scene, but he came in steaming hot.

At the 2011 Billboard Music Awards, the then 17-year-old rising star took home the most honors, tied with industry veteran Eminem. Justin's six wins included Top Streaming Artist and the highly coveted Top New Artist accolade. With Selena Gomez on his arm, the shaggy-haired singer's expansive career was only just beginning.

In 2012, Justin continued to dominate the BBMAs with five nominations and a killer performance of his hit "Boyfriend." On the red carpet, he told Access Hollywood, "All I'm doing is singing and doing what I love, so to have that kind of recognition is great."

If you're keeping count, over 10 years, Justin has received 54 BBMA nominations and earned 19 wins. In fact, the 27-year-old "Peaches" singer is the third most-decorated artist in the show's history after only Drake and Taylor Swift. And yes, he could win more Sunday night at the 2021 Billboard Music Awards.

Justin Bieber's Best Music Videos

"I'm not trying too hard," Justin told The Zach Sang Show in 2015. "I'm just making the music that I want to make, and people are loving it, and I'm having fun." 

A long way from his early YouTube days, it's fair to say that Justin's no baby anymore. A lot has changed since 2011, but there's been one surefire constant: He knows how to create some unbeliebably great music.

Keep scrolling to see all of Justin's accomplishments and watch the 2021 Billboard Music Awards hosted by Nick Jonas this Sunday at 8 p.m. Justin's nominated for another five awards making him one to seriously watch. 

1. Season's Greetings

When Bieber released Under the Mistletoe, his first holiday album and second studio album, in 2011, he found himself decidedly on Santa's Nice List. The LP debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart, making it the first Christmas album released by a male artist to ever do so. It would eventually be certified Double Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America for selling over 2 million units.

2. Tweet Tweet

In early 2013, Bieber surpassed Lady Gaga to become the most followed person on Twitter. Later that same year, Katy Perry's follower count would eclipse his, but he'd eventually bounce back. As of press time, Bieber ranks as the most followed musician on the social media platform and only second most followed person overall. Ahead of him? Former President Barack Obama.

3. Big Screen Breakthrough

Given the popularity of the concert flick in the early 2010s, it came as no surprise that Bieber would land himself one. And when Justin Bieber: Never Say Never was released in 2011, it broke box office records as the documentary with the biggest opening weekend of all time. Earning $73 million in the United States alone, the movie still stands as the highest-grossing concert film ever. 

4. "Baby" Record Breaker

In 2013, the RIAA revealed that "Baby," Bieber's smash hit off his 2010 debut album My World 2.0, was the highest certified single of all time at 12x Platinum. Thanks to the then-novel inclusion of streaming numbers, the song surpassed Elton John's "Candle in the Wind 1997," which sat at 11x Platinum. It would eventually be dethroned by another song involving Bieber, but more on that in a minute.

5. A New Pinnacle

With the debut of "What Do You Mean?"—the lead single off Bieber's fourth album Purpose—atop the Billboard Hot 100 in 2015, it marked the star's first No. 1 hit. As Bieber had only just turned 21, the success of the trop-house bop made him the youngest male artist to debut a track at the top of the chart.

6. The Last Laugh

Two years after a somewhat challenging appearance as host of Saturday Night Live, Bieber allowed himself to be the brunt of the joke when he was the guest of honor at a Comedy Central Roast in 2015. The youngest celebrity to ever be the subject of one of the specials, he delivered in the ratings. The broadcast stands as the third-highest rated, just under Jeff Foxworthy in 2003 and Charlie Sheen in 2011.

7. The Bieber Effect

In 2017, Bieber jumped on a remix of Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee's "Despacito," helping propel the track to the top of the Billboard Hot 100. The success marked the first time a song sung primarily in Spanish had reached No. 1 in the U.S. in over 20 years, following in the footsteps of Los del Rio's 1996 hit "Macarena." The song would spend 16 weeks atop the chart, tying the record held by Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men's "One Sweet Day." (That record would, of course, be broken by Lil Nas X's "Old Town Road" in 2019.) The song became the first Latin song to receive a diamond certification from the RIAA, eventually going on to unseat "Baby" as the highest-certified single of all-time in the U.S.

"Despacito" also helped Bieber make another bit of history himself. Reaching the chart's peak a week after "I'm the One," his collab with DJ Khaled, did the same, it made him the first artist to ever notch new No. 1s in back-to-back weeks.

8. A Foray Into Fashion

Branching out from entertainment, Bieber launched clothing brand Drew House in 2019 alongside friend and former stylist Ryan Good and designer Gianpiero D'Alessandro. The collection of tees, hats, coats and stickers are all usually emblazoned with a yellow smiley face logo or, simply, the word "drew."

9. New Territory

In January 2020, the Biebs began releasing a 10-part docuseries on YouTube titled Justin Bieber: Seasons. The first episode broke the all-time record for the most-watched premiere in its first week, amassing more than 32 million views. The in-depth look at the performer detailed his physical and mental health issues as well as his battle with drug addiction. Bieber not only starred but also executive produced.

10. Seventh Heaven

When Changes, Bieber's fifth studio album, was released in early 2020, it debuted atop the Billboard 200 chart. Factoring in remix albums Never Say Never: The Remixes and Believe Acoustic, the LP marked Bieber's seventh to hit No. 1 in his career, making him the youngest solo artist to ever do so in the United States. 

11. Introducing...The Biebers

Of course, we'd bet that if you asked Bieber himself, none of these achievements over the last 10 years even hold a candle to his partnership with wife Hailey Baldwin. After years of on-off dating with Selena Gomez, he started dating the model in 2015. Though they split in 2016 and he and Gomez briefly gave their romance another shot, Bieber and Baldwin reunited in May 2018 and were quickly engaged. They got married in a civil ceremony that September, holding a lavish wedding exactly one year later. 

As he told Apple Music's Zane Lowe in February 2020, "I got the best wife in the world. She supports me through so much. I'm really honored to be her husband."

12. Hold On, Even More Records?

The Biebs' next album, Justice, debuted atop the charts of ten countries. If you haven't lost count, this marked his eighth No. 1 album. At just 27 years old, he became the youngest soloist to achieve eight No. 1 albums in the U.S. But that's not the only record the singer broke. With the release of "Peaches," Bieber became the first solo male artist to debut at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and Billboard 200 chart simultaneously.

On The Zach Sang Show, Bieber said his goal with the album was "to inspire, to uplift, and to provide joy in this time." It clearly resonated with audiences everywhere.

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