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2012 Billboard Awards: Justin Bieber on Top

By Rhonda D. Stanford

The 2012 Billboard Music Awards took place May 20 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Justin Bieber was the first winner of the night, grabbing the Top Social Artist award for his enormous online presence. Bieber made his way to the stage with so much emotion and wisdom, saying, “I just want to say how much of a blessing it’s been … the past three or four years, growing up in front of everybody. … I want to thank all my fans because the Internet is where I got my start, and all my fans have helped me get to this position.”

Co-host of the ceremony Julie Bowen made sure not to forget to pay tribute to the late Bee Gees member Robin Gibb, who died earlier Sunday after a long battle with cancer. Tribute was also given to recently passed disco queen Donna Summer by Natasha Bedingfield as well as a segment devoted to Ms. Whitney Houston, a music legend. Medleys of Houston’s unforgettable hits were performed by John Legend and Jordin Sparks. Whitney Houston’s daughter, Bobbi Kristina, accepted the Billboard Millennium Award on behalf of her late mother. “I just really want to say thank you to everyone who supported us through it all,” she said. “Not just when it was good, but when it was bad too … thank you so much for showing that much love because she deserved it.”

For the women, Katy Perry landed the Spotlight Award for tying the record set by Michael Jackson of five #1 hits from the same album for her bag full of smashes from Teenage Dream. Taylor Swift was honored with the Billboard Woman of the Year award as she acknowledged tons of impressive credits, including a place as the only woman in music history to score three #1 albums in a row, each of which has sold more than 5 million copies. Lady Gaga scooped up Top Dance Artist.

The men were on a roll as the Top New Artist trophy was handed over to Wiz Khalifa. Lil Wayne, who was not present at the ceremony, beat Chris Brown, Drake, Bruno Mars and Justin Bieber for Male Artist of the Year. Hot 100 Song of the Year went to LMFAO for Party Rock Anthem, Brown made out with a win in the R&B Artist of the Year category, Coldplay were named Top Rock Artist, an Icon Award went to Stevie Wonder, Foster the People took Top Rock Song for “Pumped Up Kicks” and U2 gained Top Touring Act. A full list of Sunday night’s winners can be found at Billboard.com.

The night’s performers included Kelly Clarkson, Brown, Usher, Justin Bieber, Carly Rae Jepsen, Carrie Underwood, Linkin Park, Nelly Furtado, Alicia Keys with Wonder, Katie Perry, Cee Lo Green and Goodie Mob, joined by a one-legged Cirque du Soleil break dancer, and a stage full of dancing kids for a cover of the Beastie Boys in remembrance of recently-passed MCA.

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