Billboard Music Awards 2018: Janet Jackson Performs on TV for First Time in 9 Years

Music icon Janet Jackson performed on television for the first time in nine years during the 2018 Billboard Music Awards. The pop singer also received the Billboard Icon Award during the ceremony as a tribute to her career.

Jackson was introduced by Bruno Mars, whose speech reminded everyone of the importance of the Jackson family. The camera also revealed that matriarch Katherine Jackson was in the audience. Then, a tribute video for Jackson narrated by Samuel L. Jackson followed, including her TV debut on The Carol Burnett Show.

After the video, Mars then listed Jackson's Billboard achievements, making the audience wait even longer for her performance.

Jackson wore knee-high gold boots and an oversized gold sweater as she ran through a medley of hits. The medley kicked off with "Nasty Boys."

After the performance, Jackson delivered an emotional speech reflecting the current discourse.

"I thank God for giving me the precious energy that lets me live my life as an artist, who every single day seeks to expand my capacity to love," she said. "Thank you so much."

The 52-year-old Jackson, who celebrated her birthday on May 16, dominated the Billboard charts throughout the 1980s, following in the footsteps of her brother Michael Jackson and her older siblings' group the Jackson Five.

As Billboard notes, she famously scored seven Top Five hits from 1989's Janet Jackson's Rhythm Nation 1814. The album includes four Hot 100 No. 1s, such as, "Miss You Much," "Escapade," "Black Cat" and "Love Will Never Do (Without You)." The title track and "Come Back to Me" hit No. 2 and "Alright" hit No. 4.

Jackson was also the first woman to debut a song in the Hot 100's Top 10 when "Scream," a duet with Michael Jackson, debuted at No. 5 in June 1995. Three months later, "Runaway" debuted at No. 6.

Incredibly, between 1989 and 1998, Jackson scored 18 consecutive Top 10 Hot 100 hits. The streak started with "Miss You Much" and finished with "I Get Lonely," a single with BLACKstreet.

Jackson previously performed live on TV in 2009 for the American Music Awards. She sang a medley of hits, starting with "Control" and "What Have You Done for Me Lately." She finished with "Make Me," a song from her then-new Number Ones compilation.

In an interview with Billboard Magazine, Jackson said she is working on a follow-up to 2015's Unbreakable.

"The drive is in my DNA," Jackson told Billboard. "I couldn't lose it if I wanted to, and I don't. Motivation is something I treasure. Besides, for all its difficulties, this is the life I love. I'm surrounded with a team of dancers, singers and musicians I love. I'm supported by fans that have stuck by me through thick and thin. They mean the world to me. Now more than ever, performing, whether in the studio or onstage, brings me a satisfaction I find nowhere else."


The Billboard Icon Award was established in 2011, and every recipient has performed during the Billboard Music Awards. Neil Diamond, Stevie Wonder, Prince, Jennifer Lopez, Celine Dion and Cher previously received the award.

The Billboard Music Awards are produced by Dick Clark Productions and aired on NBC for the first time. The Voice coach Kelly Clarkson was the host.