(AFP) – 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.
Cher — presented with the Icon Award for lifetime achievement — took to heart the title of her 1989 hit “If I Could Turn Back Time,” singing it in a black fishnet suit and leather jacket as in the original video.
The look came as a surprise to the crowd as Cher — who turned 71 the day before — had quickly changed after singing her hit “Believe,” which she performed in a platinum wig, high heels and a skimpy dress of necklace-like loops that revealed her skin-baring bra.
Cher thanked her late musical and romantic partner Sonny Bono in a speech, resisting the opportunity to talk politics, even though she is an outspoken critic of President Donald Trump.
Nicki Minaj opened the show with a nearly 10-minute hit medley as she sported a bondage-inspired suit of spikes and cuffs, while Celine Dion marked the 20th anniversary of the Hollywood blockbuster “Titanic” by singing its theme “My Heart Will Go On.”
Miley Cyrus sang her new song “Malibu,” a mid-tempo, jam-rock ballad about kindling love on the beach that marks a more mature sound for the former child star famous for her brazen sexuality.
“For the first time with pants on in years!” her sister Noah Cyrus said as she introduced Miley, who came out in jean-shorts.