Justin Bieber sang his hits Company and Sorry at the 2016 Billboard Music Awards (with the help of a backing track). He was named Top Male Artist at the show that aired live from the US city of Las Vegas, beating Drake, The Weeknd, Ed Sheeran and Fetty Wap.
“I’m not really a talker, but I’ll say thank you to my family. I want to thank God. I want to thank everyone that believed in me and believes in me,” Bieber said.
Britney Spears kicked things off, dazzling in a daring red outfit for a medley of her hits.
Canadian singer The Weeknd dedicated the first award to Prince, the Grammy-winning pop superstar who died last month at age 57.
“I want to dedicate this award to the late great Prince,” The Weeknd (real name Abel Tesfaye), said in accepting his Top Hot 100 Artist award. “I love him so much. I didn’t know him, but he was so close to me. He will always be an inspiration.”
Kesha delivered an emotional rendition of Bob Dylan’s classic It Ain’t Me, Babe in a much-anticipated performance that was nearly cancelled by her label in a legal dispute.
Kemosabe Records relented, saying Kesha had assured them she would not use her time as a platform to address her failed legal bid against Sony Music and producer Dr Luke. The singer stood by her word.
While several awards were handed out, including to British singer Adele who accepted the Top Artist award via video, it was performances by the likes of Ariana Grande, Celine Dion, and Rihanna that ruled the night.
Dion, making her first televised performance since the death of her husband, Rene Angelil, tearfully accepted the Icon Award for lifetime achievement. “I’m so sorry, I don’t want to cry in front of you,” Dion told the audience. She ended by holding her award aloft and declaring, “Rene, this one’s for you, the show must go on”, echoing the title of the Queen song she had just performed.
Other top prizes went to Rihanna in the fan-voted chart achievement award, Adele for both Top Female Artist and Billboard 200 album, and The Weeknd for R & B song The Hills.
One of the best performances of the night was Demi Lovato’s Cool for the Summer. She also made a statement by wearing a shirt featuring an inclusive bathroom symbol, taking a stance against the recent issue of LGBT rights and bathroom use by transgender people.
Pink also impressed with her performance – featuring her signature high-flying moves – while she sang her new song, Just Like Fire.
Girl group Fifth Harmony gave a captivating performance of their hit, Work from Home, while Meghan Trainor worked the crowd when she sang No.
Madonna ended the show with a Prince tribute that included Nothing Compares 2 U, before she was joined by Stevie Wonder for Purple Rain as the audience rose to its feet and sang along.
Top Artist: Adele
Top New Artist: Fetty Wap
Top Male Artist: Justin Bieber
Top Female Artist: Adele
Top Duo/Group: One Direction
Billboard Chart Achievement Award: Rihanna
Top Billboard 200 Artist: Adele
Top Hot 100 Artist: The Weeknd
Top Song Sales Artist: The Weeknd
Top Radio Songs Artist: The Weeknd
Top Streaming Songs Artist: The Weeknd
Top Social Media Artist: Justin Bieber
Top Touring Artist: Taylor Swift
Top R&B Artist: The Weeknd
Top Rap Artist: Drake
Top Country Artist: Luke Bryan
Top Rock Artist: Twenty One Pilots
Top Latin Artist: Romeo Santos
Top Dance/Electronic Artist: David Guetta
Top Christian Artist: Hillsong United
Top Gospel Artist: Kirk Franklin
Top Billboard 200 Album: Adele, “25”
Top Soundtrack: Pitch Perfect 2
Top R&B Album: The Weeknd, “Beauty Behind The Madness”
Top Rap Album: Meek Mill, “Dreams Worth More Than Money”
Top Country Album: Chris Stapleton, “Traveller”
Top Rock Album: Twenty One Pilots, “Blurryface”
Top Latin Album: Juan Gabriel, “Los Duo”
Top Dance/Electronic Album: Zedd, “True Colors”
Top Christian Album: Lauren Daigle, “How Can It Be”
Top Gospel Album: Kirk Franklin, “Losing My Religion”
Top Hot 100 Song: Wiz Khalifa ft. Charlie Puth, “See You Again”
Top Selling Song: Adele, “Hello”
Top Radio Song: Adele “Hello” Walk the Moon, “Shut Up And Dance”
Top Streaming Song (Audio): The Weeknd, “The Hills”
Top Streaming Song (Video): Silento, “Watch Me”
Top R&B Song: The Weeknd, “The Hills”
Top Rap Song: Wiz Khalifa ft. Charlie Puth, “See You Again”
Top Country Song: Thomas Rhett, “Die A Happy Man”
Top Rock Song: Walk the Moon, “Shut Up And Dance”
Top Latin Song: Nicky Jam & Enrique Iglesias, “El Perdon”
Top Dance/Electronic Song: Major Lazer & DJ Snake Featuring MØ, “Lean On”
Top Christian Song: Hillsong UNITED, “Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)”
Top Gospel Song: Kirk Franklin, “Wanna Be Happy?”