Some of the top acts in music descended on Las Vegas yesterday (Dec. 5) as rehearsals for tonight's Billboard Music Awards rolled on. Ashlee Simpson, Toby Keith, Daddy Yankee, Pharrell, Gwen Stefani a
Some of the top acts in music descended on Las Vegas yesterday (Dec. 5) as rehearsals for tonight's Billboard Music Awards rolled on. First up was the team of Ashlee Simpson and up-and-coming hip-hop act Pretty Ricky, performing a medley of the latter's "Grind With Me" and the former's "L.O.V.E." The pairing was engineered by Simpson's father/manager Joe, who is a Pretty Ricky admirer.
"The song is about hanging with your girlfriends and loving them for being there," Simpson tells Billboard.com of "L.O.V.E.," the latest single from her sophomore album, "I Am Me" (Geffen/Interscope). "One of my girlfriends and I were listening to music and were like, there's not enough songs for your girlfriends for when you go out and leave your man behind and have a good time.
"Any situation I go through, I lean on my girlfriends," Simpson adds. "Like, when you get your heart broken, who do you go to? You go to your friends."
Toby Keith trotted out a 14-piece band, including a three-piece horn section, as he ran through "Let's Get Drunk and Be Somebody." The artist is a finalist for two country awards on tonight's Fox telecast: artist of the year and album of the year for "Honkytonk University" (DreamWorks Nashville).
Later in the afternoon, reggaeton superstar Daddy Yankee and Pharrell prepared to perform a blend of the former's "Rompre" and the latter's as-yet-unreleased "Mamacita" on a set decked out like a run-down warehouse, which was littered with rusty garbage cans and old ties. Pharrell freestyled on the mic while stagehands kept busy, rattling off lines from the Kermit The Frog-sung "The Rainbow Connection," Soundgarden's "Black Hole Sun" and Green Day's "Brain Stew."
While rehearsing the Isley Brothers-sampling "Luxurious," Gwen Stefani and Slim Thug debated the best options for their choreography. To match the song's video clip, the stage was outfitted with pinatas hanging from the rafters.
Green Day was the last band up for the day, offering up three runs through "Holiday" with a bonus performance of "St. Jimmy" for the lucky guests in the arena. Billboard.com understands this will be Green Day's last TV performance in support of its blockbuster album "American Idiot," which recently passed 11 million in worldwide sales, according to Reprise.