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Timberlake, Dragons top winners Computer-generated MJ sings & dances in newly released song

LOS ANGELES, May 19, (Agencies): Justin Timberlake, hometown rockers Imagine Dragons and Robin Thicke were big winners at the Billboard Music Awards on Sunday in Las Vegas where a computer-generated Michael Jackson danced and sang a newly released song. The annual televised awards show, a main showcase for the music industry, honored Timberlake seven times, including top artist, top male artist and top Billboard 200 album for last year’s “The 20/20 Experience.” Timberlake, 33, who is on tour in Europe, accepted the awards in taped speeches with his touring band that numbers about 20 strong. “It’s not a competition, but if it was, I won. And guess what? I’m OK with that,” Timberlake said in a good-natured joke aimed at his competition, singers Miley Cyrus, Bruno Mars, Katy Perry and rockers Imagine Dragons. The late King of Pop Michael Jackson made an appearance as a hologram, performing his posthumously released song “Slave to the Rhythm” with a slew of dancers moving around his computer-generated image.

Emotional
The performance prompted an emotional standing ovation with some audience members shown wiping away tears. Imagine Dragons won five awards, including top Hot 100 artist for songs’ chart performance, top rock artist and top duo/group among others. The Grammy-winning Las Vegas band also performed their song “Tiptoe” on the show. R&B singers Thicke, Pharrell Williams and rapper T.I. scored four wins on the back of their megahit “Blurred Lines,” including awards for top Hot 100 song, digital song and radio song and R&B song. Seventeen-year-old pop sensation Lorde, dressed all in black with black feather fringes, captured the award for top new artist and top rock song for the hit “Royals,” which already landed her two Grammy Awards this year. The teen, who has also won fans with her thoughtfulness and upending traditional standards of Hollywood beauty, said she was grateful to be able to mature in the spotlight and for the “dialogue around my work and myself.”

The Billboard Music Awards — which measures honors by sales, radio airplay, touring, streaming and other metrics — is a top venue for artists to unveil new songs in time for the summer. Jennifer Lopez was honored with Icon Award for lifetime achievement, and country singer Carrie Underwood won the fan-voted Milestone Award. The show featured numerous performances, including from pop stars Shakira, Lopez, country duo Florida Georgia Line with country singer Luke Bryan, and Nickelodeon star Ariana Grande and Australian rapper Iggy Azalea.

Concerts
Perry and Cyrus recorded performances from concerts in Britain to be shown at the awards. Cyrus performed a cover of the Beatles’ 1967 song “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” with Wayne Coyne, the singer of rock group the Flaming Lips. Rapper Pitbull kicked off the show alongside Lopez and Brazilian singer Claudia Leitte from the MGM Grand Garden Arena with a performance of “We Are One (Ole Ola),” the theme to next month’s soccer World Cup in Brazil. A hologram of Jackson made its debut Sunday, mirroring the late icon’s signature dance moves as some members of the audience became emotional.  “All the other finalists, Miley, Imagine Dragons, Bruno, Katy, I love you guys, it’s not a competition, but if it is, I won!” Timberlake exclaimed, dancing with his band.

“We tried to do as best we could what we thought Michael would have loved, and those of us who knew Michael really well, we had a good perspective on it,” Epic Records CEO L.A. Reid said backstage. Reid worked on the album and released it. “ The night featured a number of collaborative performances, including an explosive duet from Carrie Underwood and Miranda Lambert, while double winner Luke Bryan and Florida Georgia Line were crowd favorites when they performed “This Is How We Roll.” “I have to of course thank all of my amazing fans. ... Thank you everybody for making this (expletive) possible — oops I’m on ABC, sorry,” she said when accepting top streaming artist, sticking out her tongue at the end. The New Zealand singer performed her new hit “Tennis Court” in her signature black — and showcased her signature twitchy dance moves. Other performers included John Legend, who sang his current No. 1 hit “All of Me” on piano, a semi-racy Ariana Grande.

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