Luke Combs took advantage of an opportunity to show his softer side at the 2020 Billboard Music Awards. His Wednesday night (Oct. 14) performance of “Better Together” may have been an epiphany for those who only know him as the guy who sings, “Longneck, ice-cold beer never broke my heart …”
Truth be told, long-time country music fans may, too, have been taken aback by Combs’ vulnerable, classy performance. In country music, we get excited when our men take off their ballcaps, and the 30-year-old didn’t disappoint with a neatly buzzed head that contrasted his scruffy beard but matched his tidy tweed blazer. For three years, he’s mostly been a T-shirt and jeans kind of guy to go along with his working-man’s music. This song — and his BBMAs performance — stretches him.
Combs started singing immediately after being named the Top Country Artist at the Billboard Music Awards. The award would be one of three he’d win at the show, but he’d not get a chance to thank his family and team until after working through the vocal showcase. The newly married singer stood alone and gripped his microphone as a pianist held down the arrangement in the shadows. The lyrics echoed in a way that reminded us he was playing to empty seats, as everyone did on this night:
The above video ends before Combs’ thank you speech. In winning the award, he became the first country artist to do so in back-to-back years. He also won Top Country Album for a second straight year and rounded his night out with a Top Country Male Artist victory.
Kane Brown and Garth Brooks were the other two country artists to perform at the 2020 BBMAs, with Brooks winning the Icon Award before playing a medley of hits that showcased his five decades of success. Kelly Clarkson hosted the NBC broadcast, moved from its original April date due to the coronavirus pandemic.