Earning a whopping nine awards, R&B veteran Mary J. Blige dominated the field at the 2006 Billboard Music Awards, held tonight (Dec. 4) at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. The 35-year-old singer nabbed a number of R&B/hip-hop honors, including album (“The Breakthrough”) and song (“Be Without You”) of the year, as well as Hot 100 airplay song of the year.
“American Idol” starlet Carrie Underwood and Atlanta rapper T.I. scored five statuettes each. T.I. dominated the rap category, winning artist and album (“King”) of the year. Underwood was presented with album of the year for her debut effort, “Some Hearts,” and artist of the year honors in both overall and country categories.
Newcomer and urban hitmaker Chris Brown won new artist of the year, as well as artist and male artist of the year. Rock troupe Nickelback also brought home three accolades: artist duo/group of the year, rock album of the year (“All the Right Reasons”) and Hot 100 artists duo/or group of the year.
The Fray swept the digital category with three awards, including digital album and digital songs artist of the year. Rihanna won female artist of the year, female Hot 100 artist of the year and Pop 100 artist of the year categories.
Nelly Furtado, Kenny Chesney, Three Days Grace and the soundtrack to Disney’s “High School Musical” bagged one award each. As previously reported, Tony Bennett was presented with the Billboard Century Award by longtime friend Stevie Wonder.
The broadcast featured performances by Janet Jackson, Fergie with Black Eyed Peas colleague will.i.am, Blige, Gwen Stefani, the Fray, Ludacris with Pharrell and Young Jeezy and a finale of Nickelback with ZZ Top’s Billy F. Gibbons and Kid Rock.