R&B vocalist R. Kelly took home six trophies at the 2001 Billboard Music Awards, held last night (Dec. 4) at Las Vegas’ MGM Grand, while Tim McGraw and Destiny’s Child secured five each. R. Kelly’s six-pack was confined to the R&B/hip-hop categories, including trophies for artist of the year and album of the year for “TP-2.com” (Jive). The event was broadcast live on Fox and hosted by actor/comedian Bernie Mac.
Destiny’s Child showed stronger crossover appeal, earning artist of the year honors for the second year running, as well as Hot 100 Singles artist of the year and soundtrack single of the year for “Independent Woman Part 1” from “Charlie’s Angels.” McGraw was named country artist of the year and country singles artist of the year and won country album of the year for his “Greatest Hits” set (Curb).
Alicia Keys, who led all finalists by contending in eight categories, won the overall female new artist of the year trophy and the same honor in the R&B/hip-hop category. Shaggy, Lil’ Romeo, Creed, and Lifehouse were also presented with multiple awards.
John Mellencamp was presented with Billboard’s annual Century Award for creative achievement. In his acceptance speech, which followed a personal and impassioned introduction from actor Matthew McConaughey, Mellencamp admitted, “my career has always been messy business — that’s probably because I’ve never planned anything in my life.” Touching on the joy he gets from making music, he said, “there’s not one person that you’ll ever see in your life that’s had as much fun in the music business as me.”
Introduced by Sean “P. Diddy” Combs, Janet Jackson was honored with the Artist Achievement Award, and after a vignette recapping her career, walked onstage to an extended standing ovation. Although gracious, she kept her comments brief, saying, “I’m truly honored to be recognized for doing what I love,” and thanking Billboard, her fans, “and especially God for making this possible.”
But along with the awards, it was the many varied performances that held the audience’s attention, particularly the show-closing rendition of Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On.” Joining Jermaine Dupri to recreate the recent benefit recordings of the song that he orchestrated were Angie Stone, Combs, Mary J. Blige, Gwen Stefani, Jill Scott, Jamie O’Neal, Destiny’s Child, Eve, Shaggy, ‘N Sync, and Alicia Keys. Earlier in the show, Keys was joined by Eve and Stone for a dynamic version of the latter’s “Brotha.”
Britney Spears kicked off the show with a performance of her single “I’m a Slave 4 U” on a stage inside the fountains of Las Vegas’ Bellagio Hotel. Also not content with a run-of-the-mill performance was ‘N Sync, whose version of “Gone” began with the group being lowered from the rafters in a lighted platform which slowly made its way to the stage. Other artists who performed during the show were Pink, Incubus, Shaggy, No Doubt, and McGraw.
One truly humorous moment came when Vegas stalwart Wayne Newton uttered the phrase “pop a cap in your ass” while he and members of Blink 182 presented the rap artist of the year award to Lil’ Romeo. “Next year, Wayne will be doing the Source Awards,” Mac joked.
The show was dedicated to late Beatles lead guitarist George Harrison, which was noted to the viewing audience with an on-screen memoriam early in the evening. Later, before Sugar Ray frontman Mark McGrath introduced No Doubt’s performance of “Hey Baby,” he explained that the Beatles’ Capitol compilation “1” had won the album of the year award, and remarked that even though Harrison is gone, his music endures.
The awards are based on Billboard’s year-end charts, which will appear in the Dec. 29 issue of the magazine.
Here are the winners of the 2001 Billboard Music Awards:
Artist of the year: Destiny’s Child
Male artist of the year: Shaggy
Catalog artist of the year: Creed
Artist of the year – duo/group: Destiny’s Child
New artist of the year: Lifehouse
Female new artist of the year: Alicia Keys
Album of the year: the Beatles, “1” (Capitol)
Male albums artist of the year: Shaggy
Catalog album of the year: Creed, “My Own Prison” (Wind-Up)
HOT 100 SINGLES
Hot 100 Singles artist of the year: Destiny’s Child
Hot 100 Single of the year: Lifehouse, “Hanging by a Moment”
Soundtrack single of the year: Destiny’s Child, “Independent Women Part 1” (from “Charlie’s Angels)
Hot 100 Singles artist of the year – duo/group: Destiny’s Child
R&B/hip-hop artist of the year: R. Kelly
R&B/hip-hop albums artist of the year: R. Kelly
Female R&B/hip-hop artist of the year: Jill Scott
New R&B/hip-hop artist of the year: Alicia Keys
R&B/hip-hop album of the year: R. Kelly, “Tp-2.Com” (Jive)
R&B/hip-hop singles artist of the year: R. Kelly
R&B/hip-hop single of the year: R. Kelly, “Fiesta” featuring Jay-Z
R&B/hip-hop songwriter of the year: R. Kelly
Country artist of the year: Tim McGraw
Male country artist of the year: Tim McGraw
Country albums artist of the year: Tim McGraw
New country artist of the year: Jamie O’Neal
Country album of the year: Tim McGraw, “Greatest Hits” (Curb)
Country single of the year: Brooks & Dunn, “Ain’t Nothing ‘Bout You”
Country single artist of the year: Tim McGraw
Rock artist of the year: Godsmack
Modern rock artist of the year: Linkin Park
Modern rock single of the year: Incubus, “Drive”
Rap artist of the year: Lil’ Romeo
Rap single of the year: Lil’ Romeo, “My Baby”
Adult contemporary single of the year: Lee Ann Womack, “I Hope You Dance”
Century Award: John Mellencamp
Artist Achievement Award: Janet Jackson
Biggest one-week sales for an album in 2001: ‘N Sync, “Celebrity” (Jive)
Special award for first four albums debuting at No. 1: DMX