The 10 Best Billboard Music Awards Performances

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The 10 Best Billboard Music Awards Performances

Like the Billboard charts themselves, the Billboard Music Awards has a history of celebrating a diverse cross-section of the music landscape. From the pitch-black rock of Metallica's "Unforgiven II" to the seductive pop of Britney Spears' "I'm a Slave 4 U" to the soulful R&B of Alicia Keys' "A Woman's Worth," the ceremony has collected music's biggest stars and let their hits shine in front of millions. Before the 2011 Billboard Music Awards brings artists like Rihanna, the Black Eyed Peas, Keith Urban, Lady Antebellum and Taio Cruz to the stage, take a look back at 10 of the show's most memorable performances, and tell us which one you think was the all-time best.

  next: Mariah Carey, 1999

Britney Spears, 2001

"I'm A Slave 4 U"


"I'm a Slave 4 U" was already one of Britney Spears' most seductive singles, but the pop star took the "Britney" track to an eruptive level when she performed the single in front of the Bellagio's famous fountain. Sporting a sleek black outfit accentuated by a navel-baring top, Britney was in the zone as she and her dancers flawlessly performed the sexy choreography.

  next: Mariah Carey

 

The 10 Best Billboard Music Awards Performances

previous: Britney Spears next: 'N Sync

Mariah Carey, 1999

"I Still Believe"


In one of a lifetime's worth of powerhouse performances, Mariah Carey took the Billboard Music Awards stage in 1999 to gracefully deliver her ballad "I Still Believe." Afterward, she was joined onstage by Queen Latifah and Stevie Wonder, the latter of whom told her, "We gotta sing together!

previous: Britney Spears, 2001 next: 'N Sync

 

The 10 Best Billboard Music Awards Performances

previous: Mariah Carey next: Metallica

'N Sync, 2000

"Just Got Paid"


'N Sync's 2000 performance of "No Strings Attached" hit "Just Got Paid" demonstrates everything to fondly remember about the boy band era: colorful costume, elaborate set pieces, lock-step dance moves, and of course, the harmless pop music. Watching Justin Timberlake and the rest of the guys shimmy in their pimp suits and play-fight with another group of dancers is a perfect snapshot for an entertaining music era.

previous: Mariah Carey next: Metallica

 

The 10 Best Billboard Music Awards Performances

previous: 'N Sync next: R. Kelly

Metallica, 1997

"The Unforgiven 2"


After being introduced by Wayne Newton and Busta Rhymes, Metallica performed "The Unforgiven II" with a sense of calculated anger and the command of the year's biggest rock act. James Hetfield led the slow build of the "Reload" highlight, and when Lars Ulrich was finished pounding away, the crowd went wild.

previous: 'Nync next: R. Kelly

 

The 10 Best Billboard Music Awards Performances

previous: Metallica next: Nelly

R. Kelly, 2005

"Slow Wind"


R. Kelly slowed things down when he gave a poolside performance at the 2005 ceremony, but his take on "Slow Wind" was one of the most passionate performances in Billboard Music Awards history. "You're a Jamaican queen, oh yeah!/I'm an American king," the king of R&B sang while staring down the camera and the end of the clip, after getting dozens of beautiful women to sway seductively in place.

previous: Metallica next: Nelly

 

The 10 Best Billboard Music Awards Performances

previous: R. Kelly next: Destiny's Child

Nelly, 2004

"N Dey Say"


After helping put St. Louis hip-hop on the map, Nelly helped bring some sharp storytelling to the 2004 Billboard Music Awards. During his performance of "N Dey Say," Nelly sat on a stool and recounted stories of single mothers, homeless men and street hustles that were played out by actors next to him. The payoff? A unified group clapping along to the beat at the end.

previous: R. Kelly next: Destiny's Child

 

The 10 Best Billboard Music Awards Performances

previous: Nelly next: Pink

Destiny's Child, 2000

"Independent Women Pt. 1"/"Say My Name"/"Jumpin' Jumpin'" Medley


At the time of the 2000 Billboard Music Awards, Destiny's Child was on such a hot streak with their singles that the R&B trio ended up performing three of them in an elaborate medley. After heating up the stage with "Independent Women Pt. 1," DC and their dancers seamlessly shifted gears for "Say My Name," which let Beyonce show off her dazzling voice, and then "Jumpin' Jumpin'," which became a kinetic onstage party.

previous: Nelly next: Pink

 

The 10 Best Billboard Music Awards Performances

previous: Destiny's Child next: Alicia Keys feat. Angie Stone & Eve

Pink, 2003

"God Is a DJ"


Before Pink remade her stage show into an acrobatic wonder, the pop star performed one of her most underrated singles, "God Is a DJ," at Billboard's 2003 ceremony. Turning the stage into her own personal turntable, Pink reached out to the disaffected, rocked out to a screeching guitar solo, and shoved one dancer's head into her crotch before writhing around on a giant record player.

previous: Destiny's Child next: Alicia Keys feat. Angie Stone & Eve

 

The 10 Best Billboard Music Awards Performances Of All Time

previous: Pink next: Shania Twain

Alicia Keys feat. Angie Stone & Eve, 2001

"A Woman's Worth"/"Brothers" Medley


Alicia Keys' 2001 performance united some of the biggest female stars in R&B, hip-hop and soul music, as Angie Stone and Eve took the stage to assist the rising singer on "Brothers." Before the trio traded lines and high notes, though, Keys hinted at the unparalleled talent she would eventually become while singing "A Woman's Worth" behind a piano.

previous: Pink next: Shania Twain

 

The 10 Best Billboard Music Awards Performances

previous: Alicia Keys feat. Angie Stone & Eve Back to the 2011 Billboard Music Awards Main

Shania Twain, 1995

"If You're Not In It For Love (I'm Outta Here)"


Shania Twain might have been flanked by a full band when she took the stage at the 1995 Billboard Music Awards, but she sang her hit "If You're Not In It For Love (I'm Outta Here)" as if dancing alone in her bedroom. The country star wiggled during the guitar solo, cooed each word in the verses, and belted out the song's chorus with a wide grin. She even lets out a celebratory "Woo!" at the end of the performance.

previous: Alicia Keys feat. Angie Stone & Eve Back to the 2011 Billboard Music Awards Main