The 2016 Billboard Music Awards are on the books. The Weeknd took home a show-leading eight trophies, Adele debuted a new music video, Britney Spears gave a career-spanning performance and Céline Dion moved us with a passionate, tear-jerking moment in the spotlight.
The show was filled with highlights, but we’ve worked it down to the ten best moments from the evening.
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10. Fifth Harmony Brings It
Not all great award show performances need elaborate backdrops. Recent Billboard cover stars Fifth Harmony took the stage with little more than their own awesome selves and wowed the audience with a powerful rendition of “Work From Home.” Ty Dolla $ign came out to perform his verse (and even removed his sunglasses!) but it really was the ladies of 5H who raised the energy in T-Mobile Arena.
9. Justin Bieber Performs “Company” and “Sorry”
Even without his dreadlocks, Bieber did justice to two of the best tracks on Purpose.
8. Britney Breaks Out the Hits
Britney Spears was honored with Billboard’s prestigious Millennium Award and to open the show, we got to see her impressive catalog of hits come to life. “Work Bitch,” “Womanizer,” “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll,” “Breathe On Me,” “I’m a Slave 4 U,” “Touch Of My Hand,” and finally “Toxic” — bits of all them all made up one Britney megamix, which even featured her riding a giant guitar. Rock on, Britney.
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7. P!nk’s Performance Is Flames
P!nk has a long history of bringing it with her live performances, and tonight’s show was no exception. While belting “Just Like Fire” the singer flew through the air and came very, very close to some actual flames.
6. Adele Premieres Her New Music Video
Adele’s spunky new single “Send My Love (To Your New Lover)” is the latest track off 25 to get the video treatment. The Billboard Music Awards had the big premiere, as the world got to watch Adele dance in a Dolce & Gabbana gown in the Patrick Daughters-directed vid for the first time.
5. DNCE Brings the House Down
Joe Jonas is back in a big way. With his new band DNCE, “Cake By the Ocean” became a Hot 100 hit, and their charismatic performance of it was one of the night’s absolute best. Jonas ventured into the audience and worked the crowd like a pro, while Cole Whittle’s moves and look while rocking the bass guitar brought to mind Flea at his Flea-est. Sign us up for more.
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4. Kesha Triumphs
Embroiled in a legal battle with former mentor Dr. Luke, Kesha has stayed strong and remained an inspiration. There was some pre-show speculation she wouldn’t perform, but she most definitely did, and it was one of the night’s best moments. Kesha covered Bob Dylan’s 1964 song “It Ain’t Me, Babe” (along with Ben Folds on piano) and reminded everyone of her impressive vocal ability. The performance ended with perhaps the evening’s longest standing ovation.
3. Questlove Salutes Prince
Before Madonna performed her much-anticipated Prince tribute, Questlove paid tribute to Prince as only Questlove could. His speech was a special one.
2. Stevie Wonder’s Surprise Prince Tribute
After Madonna performed “Nothing Compares 2 U,” we got a big surprise. Stevie Wonder took the stage and wowed us with “Purple Rain” alongside Madonna.
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1. Céline Dion Inspires Us All
Just four months after losing her husband René Angélil, Celine Dion delivered a powerful, tear-jerking performance of Queen’s “The Show Must Go On,” first released by Queen in 1991 to celebrate frontman Freddie Mercury, who was dying of complications related to HIV/AIDS. Dion’s world-conquering vocals did it justice (and then some), backed by a majestic orchestra on the T-Mobile Arena stage. Just as Queen used the song to ease its pain, Dion paid tribute to her late husband and manager, and left the Las Vegas audience dazzled (and equally teary-eyed).
But that wasn’t all. In accepting the Icon Award, Dion was surprised by her own son, René-Charles, who came out to help present the honor. She thanked her fans, her team, her label, and lastly, René: “my beloved husband whom I know will continue to watch over me from up above.”