Dion, Kesha bring real-life drama to Billboard Awards
Celine Dion and Kesha, both in the midst of drama in their personal lives, gave emotional performances at the 2016 Billboard Music Awards on Sunday.
Dion sang Queen’s “The Show Must Go On” in strong form Sunday, sporting a shiny dress and backed by a powerful orchestra. Dion lost her husband and brother in the same week in January, and her son presented her with the Billboard icon award after her performance.
“I’m so sorry. I’m sorry for crying. I want to be so strong for my family and kids … I don’t want to cry in front of you,” a teary Dion said to Rene-Charles Angelil. “Thank you very much …This is such a tremendous honor … Music has been my passion since before I can almost remember.”
Dion said her late husband will “continue to watch over me from up above.”
Kesha sang a heart-wrenching cover of Bob Dylan’s “It Ain’t Me Babe” at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. She stood still in a cream suit and was backed by a pianist and violinist, hitting all the right notes and growing teary-eyed near the end.
She earned a standing ovation from the audience — a welcome response after the performance was initially nixed by her former mentor, Dr. Luke. The hit-making producer and his record label reversed the decision after Kesha said she would not use the stage to discuss their ongoing lawsuit.
Demi Lovato’s performance of “Cool for the Summer” was among the night’s best. She also made a statement by wearing a shirt featuring an inclusive bathroom symbol, taking a stance against North Carolina’s recent law addressing LGBT rights and bathroom use by transgender people.
Madonna closed the show with a tribute to Prince, who died on April 21 at age 57. The icons collaborated on “Love Song” in 1989.
Leading nominee The Weeknd is nominated for the night’s big prize — top artist. His competition includes Adele, Taylor Swift, Bieber and Drake. The Weeknd won top R&B song for “The Hills” and top hot 100 artist, which he dedicated to Prince.
“I want to dedicate this award to the late, great Prince,” he said after accepting the first award of the night. “I love him so much. I didn’t know him, but he was so close to me. He will always be an inspiration.”
He lost top male artist to Bieber, who also beat out Drake, 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.
Adele’s best-seller “25” bested albums from Swift, Bieber, the Weeknd and Sheeran for top Billboard 200 album.
Winners of the 2016 Billboard Music Awards
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?"