It was a night for comebacks, fashion, and Prince, at the 2016 Billboard Music Awards. In case you missed the show, here are a few highlights!
Britney Begins The Party
Britney Spears, the third person ever to win the Billboard millenium Award, kicked off the evening’s festivities with an epic performance. She reminded everyone how she earned that honor by polishing off a couple of numbers from her Las Vegas residency and spinning them into a mashup that took us back.
The pole routine was kind of cheap, but she quickly cleaned it up by busting out the old moves to the breakdown from “Slave For You.” She later posted on social media that all she wanted to do now that the performance was over was have a big ole’ cheeseburger.
Hey, Ciara and Luda
The opening was bit awkward at first because of a few long gaps, terrible jokes and not quite seamless delivery. But it’s possible that absolutely noone noticed because hosts Ludacris and Ciara looked amazing. More accurately, Ciara slaaayed as she sashayed onto the stage.
And once they did find their rhythm, Luda had a little shade for awards season, stating, “Unlike the Oscars, we actually have Black nominees.”
Ciara (and her endless legs) also did a little dance before getting back into the ceremony.
Ciara’s Costume Changes
While honoring the best music of the year was the focus of the evening, Ciara definitely snagged her fair share of the spotlight with all of her stunning costume changes. (BRB, we’re about to hit the gym)
The Weeknd Wins
The Weeknd won Top 100 Hot Artist, and he dedicated the award to Prince. He didn’t say much about himself (presumably because he’d be back on the stage a few more times), so he chose to give honor to Purple One. He made sure to thank his fans and his team when he snagged the award for Top R&B Artist.
Wiz Khalifa Takes A Prize
Wiz Khalifa won Top Hot 100 Song with “See You Again,” and not even he could believe it. He immediately gave a shoutout to the other nominees because he was up against some stiff competition. He also thanked his son, who he knew would be watching.
Fifth Harmony Makes Way For Meghan Trainor
The ladies of Fifth Harmony came out to perform “Work From Home” amongst the ivy-covered facades of an urban jungle. This inviting tune rolled right into Meghan Trainor, who had a simple answer for street harassers with “No.” As always, Meghan blew us away with her vocals, sassy lyrics, and catchy tune. BTW, we will be needing her dress.
Pink Burns It Down
Pink delivered another high-flying performance as she debuted her song “Just Like Fire.” Although she looked like a punk rock ballerina, she reminded everyone that she’s got a couple of bars in her bag by serving a little rap. Now as much as we love Pink, we’re also gonna need her to switch things up from the trapeze performance next time. It’s getting just a smidge old.
Get ‘Em, Gwen!
Gwen Stefani was the center of attention as she made her way into the spotlight for her duet with boyfriend Blake Shelton. She was glowing in her monochromatic makeup, but it could have been the look of love. She was definitely giving Blake the eyes as she sang along, paying not the least bit of attention to anybody in the crowd.
Adele Wins Billboard Top 200 Album Because Duh
Adele took home the award for Billboard Top 200 Album with 25. Although she wasn’t able to accept the award in person, she did send a video message, telling everyone, “I can’t believe I’ve won another one.”
Really, girl? we can! Adele’s just been snatching records and edges since 25 came out.
Since she couldn’t be there, Adele sent a treat to her fans in the form of her new video for “Send My Love To Your New Lover.”
Later, she also claimed the award for Top Artist. Again, no big surprise.
Ke$ha Returns To The Stage
While there had been conflicting reports as to whether Ke$ha would be performing tonight, she did show up. Instead of doing a huge showstopper, she went with a simple, soulful performance in tribute to Bob Dylan. Everyone was captivated, and she made the arena feel like an intimate club performance. All eyes and ears were on her, and she sounded beautiful.
Rihanna Brings The Love
Rihanna required little more than a scaffolding and some shredded curtains to command the stage when she performed “Love On The Brain.” Looking beautiful, she brought that song up from the bottom of her lungs (and the recesses of her spirit) to show that she belongs right there on that stage with the greats. As if we didn’t know.
Similarly, she kept it pretty short and sweet as she accepted the well-deserved award for Billboard Chart Achievement Award.
Celine Dion Makes Her Triumphant Return
Given the crushing personal tragedies she endured in January, many wonder how Celine Dion is still standing, let alone performing.
With her laundry list of chart-topping releases, awards, iconic songs, and sold out shows, Celine is undoubtedly one of the world’s top music stars.
Before accepting the honor, she delivered a poignant powerhouse performance of “The Show Must Go On.” It was a hard-won moment, and Celine couldn’t hold back her tears as her son presented her with the Billboard Icon Award.
Madonna And Stevie Wonder Pay Tribute To Prince
We were a little concerned when the only artist announced for Prince’s tribute tonight was Madonna. Now, to be fair, her costume was everything. Which was critical because the vocals … left something to be desired. Moreover, her song selection gave us pause and set Twitter ablaze with side-eye gifs and snarky comments. Of all of Prince’s incredible songs that Madonna could have chosen to sing, she did “Nothing Compares To You,” made famous by being sung by someone else.
Thankfully, Stevie Wonder came out to lead the crowd in sing-along of “Purple Rain.” We’re not sure if this was an attempt to save the set or not. We had been hoping for more of a mashup of his biggest, best-loved songs, but let’s face it, Madonna knew what she had taken on and probably knew she couldn’t pull it off. Best to get off stage as soon as possible.