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LAS VEGAS, May 22, (Agencies): Drake proved his dominance of the music industry once again by winning a record 13 Billboard Music Awards on Sunday night.
The music magazine’s televised gala in Las Vegas hands out awards based on the year’s chart performances, leaving little suspense about who will end the night well — unlike the more prestigious Grammys, which are based on voting by music professionals.
Drake — the Toronto hip-hop star who has commanded the charts with a string of catchy hits including “One Dance,” “Hotline Bling” and “Fake Love” — edged out the record of the English balladeer Adele, who won 12 awards in 2012 in the wake of her breakthrough song “Someone Like You.”
Taking the stage, Drake offered an analogy that could have come from a vulgar Forrest Gump.
“Life is like a roll of toilet paper. You’re either on a roll or taking…” he said, before his choice words were bleeped out on ABC television.
With the low drama over who will win prizes, the Billboard gala instead offers musicians a wide television audience months after the US entertainment industry’s awards season.
Hello, Drake has surpassed Adele’s record at the 2017 Billboard Music Awards on Sunday, picking up 13 awards.
Adele set a record at the show in 2012 with 12 wins. The rapper, who walked into the show Sunday with 22 nominations, won top artist, top male artist and top Billboard 200 album (“Views”), among others, at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
“I got my whole family up here,” said Drake, who stood onstage with nearly two dozen people, including his father, Lil Wayne and Nicki Minaj.
Drake was presented the top artist award by Prince Jackson, the late Michael Jackson’s eldest son. Drake beat out Beyonce, Justin Bieber, Rihanna, Adele, Ariana Grande, the Weeknd, twenty one pilots, Shawn Mendes and the Chainsmokers for the top prize. Of those nominees, only Drake and the Chainsmokers attended the Billboard Awards.
But other big names showed up.
Cher, who received the Icon award, sang her dance anthem “Believe” in a glittery number that included pasties and blonde hair with pink tips. She later changed to a huge, curly black ’do — and wore a black sheer bodysuit and leather jacket for “If I Could Turn Back Time.” Her performance had the audience on its feet, singing and dancing.
“I wanted to do what I do since I was 4 years old and I’ve been doing it for 53 years,” said Cher, who turned 71 on Saturday. “And I can do a five-minute plank. Just saying.”
“I think luck has so much to do with my success with a little bit of something thrown in,” she added.
Korean boy band BTS, who won top social artist, earned one of the night’s loudest ovations. Another highlight was Celine Dion.
In a beautiful, Met Gala-ready white gown, she belted out “My Heart Will Go On,” the Oscar-winning song from “Titanic.” The film is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. John Legend and Florida Georgia Line also had a shining moment when they sang a duet version of the country duo’s soft hit, “H.O.L.Y.”
Dan Reynolds of the rock band Imagine Dragons led a moment of silence for Chris Cornell, who died Thursday. He called the Soundgarden and Audioslave singer “a true innovator,” “a musical architect,” “a prolific songwriting” and “a legendary performer” — as a large photo of Cornell singing with his eyes closed was displayed behind him.
“We send our respects as well as our love to Chris’ family at this time,” Reynolds said.
Miley Cyrus sang her breezy new single, “Malibu,” delivering a sound and muted style that marked a departure from the hits that made her a pop star years ago. She was teary eyed at the end of the performance.
“And for the first time in years with pants on,” Noah Cyrus, standing next to father Billy Ray Cyrus, introduced her older sister, who was wearing white shorts and a cowboy hat.
Minaj kicked off the show with an explosive nine-minute performance of her hit songs alongside her mentor Lil Wayne and frequent collaborator David Guetta. She recently broke Aretha Franklin’s record for most songs placed on the Billboard Hot 100 chart by a female artist.
Co-host Vanessa Hudgens impersonated Minaj’s rap style at the top of the show, and it was the first of the many good moments for the actress and singer Sunday night. Hudgens, who hosted with Ludacris, also sang Dion’s “I’m Your Lady” and wowed with her fashion choices. Even Drake noticed her, saying she looked “incredible.”
Beyonce and twenty one pilots each won five awards, while the Chainsmokers — who tied Drake with 22 nominations — won four awards, including top Hot 100 song for “Closer” with Halsey.
“This feels good but it feels so wrong because I love Drake so much,” said Halsey (Drake’s “One Dance” was also nominated for top Hot 100 song).
The Chainsmokers performed “Young” with Andrew Taggart on vocals and Alex Pall behind the board (they were also backed by a drummer), and Drake performed from the Fountains of Bellagio. Ed Sheeran sang “Castle on the Hill” from Santiago, Chile, while Bruno Mars performed his silky new single, “Versace on the Floor,” from Amsterdam.
Other performers include Lorde, Sam Hunt, Halsey, Camila Cabello and Julia Michaels.
At the show, Diddy honored his former friend and artist Notorious B.I.G, who would have turned 45 on Sunday. Diddy also introduced CJ Wallace, B.I.G’s son, who spoke about his father’s legacy. Then Diddy showed the trailer of the documentary, “Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop: A Bad Boy Story,” which will be available on Apple Music on June 25.
Former One Direction singer Zayn was named best new artist, while Justin Timberlake’s Oscar-nominated “Can’t Stop the Feeling!” won top radio song and top selling song.
Blake Shelton won top country artist and showed love for his beau and fellow singer Gwen Stefani.
“I felt like the luckiest guy in the room ‘cause Gwen was here with me anyway,” he said.
Drake broke Adele’s record with 13 wins for the night as well as an eye-catching performance in the middle of famous Fountains of Bellagio. With the streams of water and fireworks timed to his song, “Gyalchester,” the Canadian rapper danced around a platform in the water.