Celine Dion and Kesha received standing ovations and Madonna delivered a highly anticipated tribute to late musical legend Prince.
“LIVE from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas: It’s the Billboard Music Awards! “
On Sunday, viewers tuned in to the 2016 Billboard Music Awards as music’s biggest stars and celebrities graced the T-Mobile Magenta Carpet in Las Vegas. The show was opened by Britney Spears as she emerged out of fog in a shimmering red catsuit, to sing hits dating back to the early 2000s including “I’m a Slave 4 You” and “Womanizer”. Spears made history, as she received the Billboard Millennium Award; only two other artists have been recipients of the prestigious award.
The show was kicked off by hosts Ludacris and Ciara, who spent their opening dialogue complimenting each other on their accolades which was followed by Ludacris making reference to the diverse nominees which targeted the Oscar’s #OscarsSoWhite controversy. For the most part, the attempt at humor seemed to fly over the heads of audience members and when the camera panned around the arena, many seemed unamused.
As predicted, The Weeknd won big, winning more awards than any other nominee, including Top R&B Song, Top Hot 100 Artist, and Top R&B Album. Following The Weeknd, Justin Bieber came in close 2nd, as he snagged two of the most coveted awards: Top Male Artist and Top Social Artist. Though, Bieber’s performance left him disconnected with the audience, as he danced behind a screen that was practically concealed with fog for the majority of his performance.
Singer, Kesha made her first appearance following the ongoing legal battle between her and record label producer, Dr. Luke. The singer, decked in an all white suit, gave a somber performance of Bob Dylan’s “It Ain’t Me Babe,” which was followed by a standing ovation from audience members. This was a switch from her usual crowd hyping beats that fans are used to.
Another riveting moment was delivered by Celine Dion as she sang “The Show Must Go On” by Queen in her first on-air performance since the death of her late husband, Rene Angelil and brother, Daniel Dion. Dion’s son, Rene-Charles, presented her the Icon Award for Lifetime Achievement as she tearfully accepted.
As the show came to a close, the T-Mobile arena turned purple and Madonna appeared in a purple sequined suit and began her tribute to the late singer Prince. Stevie Wonder joined Madonna on stage as they sang a duet of Prince’s ‘Purple Rain’ as the entire crowd sang along.