Last night (May 22), some of music's most talented descended on the brand new T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas for one of the industry's biggest nights - the
Billboard Music Awards.
I have to admit, with a lot of award shows in the last few years, I've been pretty skeptical. They tend to receive a lot of hype, only to end up delivering 50% of the promised excitement, if that.
This year's BBMAs boasted a decent lineup - Justin Bieber, Britney Spears, Ariana Grande, Meghan Trainor, Lukas Graham, Shawn Mendes, and a Prince tribute performed by his good friend Madonna.
Here are some of the highlights:
Britney Spears diehards waited with bated breath for weeks after it was announced that the pop princess would be receiving the Millennium Award, while also performing a medley of her biggest hits.
The performance did have its entertaining moments--she has the theatric aspect of a live show down pat (which is, of course, why her Vegas residency has been so popular), but she didn't start to captivate me until "Toxic." Sadly, that was also her final song.
The Top Performances (in no particular order -- check out our definitive ranking of the performances to see where each lands!)
1. Justin Bieber continues to face a hailstorm of criticism--even as many of his self-professed haters are blasting "Sorry" from their smartphones--but thankfully, he delivered with this performance.
There were absolutely some rocky moments, but the vibe was electric. From the intricate light show to the dance moves to the few but wonderful times when his live vocals made an appearance during the "Company"/"Sorry" medley.
2. Ariana Grande started things with an electronically altered snippet of the "Dangerous Woman," which was a little...odd...but it transitioned into the first live performance of "Into You," which is one hell of a banger if I've ever heard one. Add that to the list of summer songs we'll be reminiscing on.
3. Celine Dion returned to the stage with a chilling, beautiful cover of "The Show Must Go On" by Queen, her musical tribute to her late husband, who passed away from cancer earlier this year. If ever there were a picture of talent and strength, it was the Canadian songstress, who tearfully accepted the Icon Award from her son and delivered a speech that left everyone at home bawling.
Rounding out the Top 5:
4. DNCE: They started an actual party with their debut "Cake By The Ocean." No surprise there! 5. Nick Jonas & Tove Lo: Short, simple, and fantastic. "Close" is a hit in so many ways. 6. Lukas Graham: As low-key as the track, the "7 Years" performance was spell-binding. Simple talent, none of the frills. It could've been out of place considering other artists were more over the top, but it was perfect and refreshing.
A Brand New Video
Adele, who took home two awards even while touring Europe, premiered her new music video, "Send My Love (To Your New Lover)." I wasn't sure what to expect, but it was beautifully simple. Adele shines in a flowered dress as duplicates of her overlap on the screen, fading in and out and shifting colors.
There couldn't be an award show for music without a tribute to Prince. The world was shocked last month when we learned that the iconic musician was gone at just 57. Madonna delivered his tribute, singing "Nothing Compares 2 U" before being joined by Stevie Wonder.
The beginning of the tribute was a bit unimpressive, but once Stevie joined in and the entire arena sang along to "Purple Rain"--glowing purple wristbands visible on the audience's wrists--I'm sure Prince was sitting in his elaborately decorated chair above, smiling down at the musicians he helped pave the way for.
Overall? The show was a solid 6/10.
What did you think of the BBMAs this year? Tweet us! @PopWrapped.