iHeartRadio Music Awards 2017: Meet The Innovator Award Winners

Justin Timberlake accepts the iHeartRadio Innovator Award during the 2015 iHeartRadio Music Awards. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty)

Justin Timberlake accepts the iHeartRadio Innovator Award during the 2015 iHeartRadio Music Awards. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty)

Founded in 2014, the iHeartRadio Music Awards is a show that recognizes the most popular artists from each year. It pertains directly to those who rank on the iHeart Radio Chart, and takes into account listener feedback, digital streaming data, and sales numbers when selecting winners. Artists up for consideration tonight include Drake, Adele, The Chainsmokers, Justin Bieber, and Rihanna.

In addition to standard categories like Artist of the Year and Song of the Year, the iHeartRadio also celebrates artists with their annual Innovation Award. The prestigious title (touted as the the show’s highest honor) goes to a performer who’s made great strides in music and showcases the ability to mold and influence the sounds that define the modern pop scene. This year, the Innovator Award will go to Bruno Mars, who will also perform his latest single “That’s What I Like.”

Discover the esteemed company that Mars will be joining below.


1. Pharrell Williams

Gwen Stefani presenting Innovator Award to Pharrell Williams 05/01/2014Gwen Stefani presented longtime friend & collaborator Pharrell Williams with the first-ever Innovator Award at the 2014 iHeartRadio Music Awards last night!2014-05-02T17:40:28.000Z

Pharrell Williams was the first recipient of the Innovator Award in 2014, where he was honored for his revolutionary creativity in the arts. Fellow singer and The Voice host Gwen Stefani gave an overjoyed introduction speech, calling Williams “pretty much the coolest guy ever,” before a video montage sprinkled in praise from peers like John Legend, Shakira, Usher, and Oprah Winfrey.

Williams, who moonlights as one half of the production duo The Neptunes, was visibly touched by the ceremony, and graciously thanked his wife and children for “lifting me so high.” He added that to achieve your dreams, you have to “believe in something bigger than yourself.” Williams went on to perform a medley of hit songs that included “Happy,” “Come Get It Bae,” “Blurred Lines,” and “Get Lucky.” Check out his full acceptance speech above.


2. Justin Timberlake

Justin Timberlake Innovator Award Acceptance Speech @ 2015 iHeartRadio Music Awardshttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ORb8sp_3eco Justin Timberlake Thanks Jessica Biel During 2015 iHeartRadio Award Speech : Husbands take note, this is how you thank your wife! Justin Timberlake was more than grateful to accept the iHeartRadio Innovator Award Sunday night in Los Angeles. But all of his success couldn't be possible without the one and only Jessica Biel. "You can't have innovation without creation," he explained after receiving his award from Tom Ford. "I want to thank my best friend, my favorite collaborator, my wife Jessica at home." Tags Taylor Swift and Justin Timberlake freak out at iHeartRadio Taylor Swift Can't Stop Dancing With Justin Timberlake and More Must-See … Taylor Swift, Justin Timberlake's reaction to win goes viral Taylor Swift big winner at iHeartRadio Music Awards; Justin Timberlake offers … Justin Timberlake Almost Stole Taylor Swift's iHeartRadio Award Justin Timberlake thanks mom, wife, and everyone who called him 'different … Justin Timberlake Wins iHeartRadio Innovator Award: Tells Teens To Be 'Foolish' Justin Timberlake to Jessica Biel: 'I Can't Wait to See Our Greatest Creation Yet' Timberlake Beams Over Baby Justin Timberlake gets teary paying tribute to pregnant wife Jessica Biel …as he … iHeartRadio Awards 2015: Justin Timberlake Addresses Critics, Says "Their … Taylor Swift and Justin Timberlake Adorably Freak Out Together at the … Justin Timberlake Thanks ''Best Friend'' Jessica Biel During iHeartRadio Speech … Taylor Swift loses it at Justin Timberlake Justin Timberlake's Shout-Out to Pregnant Wife Jessica Biel at iHeartRadio … Justin Timberlake Thanks Wife Jessica Biel During iHeartRadio Music Awards … Justin Timberlake's Shoutout To Jessica Biel In His iHeartRadio Acceptance … Taylor Swift and Justin Timberlake Are Instant BFFs at the iHeartRadio Music … Justin Timberlake Takes Home The Innovator Award At The iHeartRadio Music … Rihanna, Madonna, Taylor Swift, Justin Timberlake set for 2nd annual … Taylor Swift & Justin Timberlake Freak Out Over Her iHeart Win! (Video) Justin Timberlake Makes Inspirational Speech, Gives Shout-Out To Jessica Biel … Justin Timberlake at the 2015 iHeartRadio Music Awards Jessical Biel, Justin Timberlake's Wife – iHeartRadio Music Awards Justin Timberlake Makes Everyone Swoon, Taylor Swift Scream at the … Taylor Swift freaks out over iHeartRadio win after a stylish entrance Justin Timberlake & Taylor Swift Are The Perfectly Coordinated Pairing At The … Watch Justin Timberlake pretend to steal Taylor Swift's iHeart Radio Awards You Have to See Justin Timberlake's Impression of Taylor Swift's Awards Show … Watch Taylor Swift's amazing OTT reaction with Justin Timberlake to winning JOIN QUIZGROUP PARTNER PROGRAM: http://join.quizgroup.com/?ref=1206262015-03-30T14:56:15.000Z

Not only did Justin Timberlake win the highest honor during the 2015 iHeartRadio Awards, he also provided the ceremony with its most heartfelt speech. After a touching introduction from fashion designer Tom Ford and a video tribute that included interviews with Timbaland, Jimmy Fallon, and Taylor Swift, Timberlake took the stage to voice his appreciation.

“If you’re a young person like I used to be, and you’re at home watching and you’re being called weird or you’re being called different,” he shared, “I’m here tonight to tell you your critics do not count. Their words will fade, you won’t. Dream, work hard, and who knows maybe someday you’ll find yourself standing on a stage and maybe someday somebody will be giving you an award calling you an innovator.”

When asked about Timberlake, the iHeartRadio President of National Programming called him “one of the most dynamic artists of our lifetime, a visionary whose influence on pop culture starts with brilliant music and stretches well beyond.”


3. U2

U2‬ win iHeartRadio Innovator Award 2016The celebration of a career always on the Top. Tonight U2 won the iHeartRadio Innovator Award.2016-04-04T13:43:36.000Z

U2 took home the Innovator Award in 2016, celebrating not only their iconic stature but their ability to stay relevant after four decades in the music industry. “It is extremely rare,” said iHeartRadio Programming President Tom Poleman, “to have a band that has spent decades not only changing music, but helping change the world with their tireless dedication to important social causes focusing on AIDS, poverty, cancer, the environment, Hurricane Katrina and much more. We’re thrilled to be able to honor U2 with the 2016 iHeartRadio Innovator Award.”

Lead singer Bono and band members Adam Clayton, Larry Mullen, Jr. and The Edge were also nominated for Best Tour in 2016, but the Innovator Award (and its accompanying montage) still proved the most special moment of the night. “They began as a punk band and that attitude still runs strong throughout their songwriting, albums and live performances,” said iHeartMedia President John Sykes, “They will never stop testing the limits, and that’s why we are honored to recognize them.”


4. Bruno Mars

Bruno Mars performs a tribute to Prince during The GRAMMY Awards on February 12, 2017. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty)

Bruno Mars performs a tribute to Prince during The GRAMMY Awards on February 12, 2017. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty)

Mars will become the fourth recipient of the award during tonight’s show. In a statement made by Sykes last month, he explained how iHeartRadio was “proud to have Bruno join Pharrell Williams, Justin Timberlake, and U2 in the elite group of iHeartRadio Innovators. From the start of his career Bruno has been fearless in his approach to all things creative.”

The praise was furthered by Tom Poleman, who feels that Mars has “raised the bar for both performers and musicians worldwide. Not only does he have incredible passion for his craft, but he has the talent to back it up. Bruno has reinvented music pop culture and we are honored to present him with one of the most prominent awards of the evening.”

Mars is scheduled to be the inaugural performance of the show when it airs at 8 p.m. EST on TNT, TBS, and TruTV. Learn how to stream the iHeartRadio Music Awards right here.