The biggest stars in pop prepare for the Billboard Music Awards


Madonna will pay tribute to Prince at the Billboard Music Awards, despite calls for other artists to be involved in the homage.

Purple Rain star Prince, who died suddenly last month aged 57, will be honoured at the ceremony in Las Vegas, which marks one of the biggest nights on the US music calendar.

Adele leads the British charge with eight nominations, while David Bowie is up for a posthumous award for his album Blackstar.

David Bowie (Yui Mok/PA)

Organisers have defended their decision to choose Madonna to pay tribute to Prince after an online petition called for more musicians to be included.

The petition, which has been signed by more than 8,000 people on, claimed Prince was "more than worthy of a better choice as a main performer".

But Mark Bracco, executive producer of the awards show, said Madonna's tribute would be "very intimate and very respectful".


Celine Dion will be presented with the Icon Award, Billboard's lifetime achievement honour, after a traumatic start to 2016 for the singer.

Her husband Rene Angelil and brother Daniel both died from cancer just days apart in January. Celine, 48, will perform Queen's The Show Must Go On at the ceremony.

Britney Spears is to receive the Billboard Millennium Award for her "career achievements and influence on the music industry".

The Baby One More Time singer, who will perform a medley of her biggest hits, is only the third person to receive the accolade after Beyonce in 2011 and Whitney Houston in 2012.

Kesha will also perform at the awards after her ex-producer's record label overturned its refusal to approve her performance.

It followed concerns she would refer to her legal dispute with Dr Luke, who she accused of drugging, sexually abusing and emotionally tormenting her. He vehemently denies the allegations.

Bowie, who died in January aged 69, will compete against Coldplay, Mumford & Sons, Alabama Shakes and Twenty One Pilots for the top rock album prize.

Fans of Adele - who is up for top artist, top female artist and top Billboard 200 album among her eight nominations - will be able to watch the new video for her single Send My Love (To Your New Lover) for the first time.

Singer The Weeknd leads the nominations with 16 nods, while Bieber is nominated in 11 categories and Taylor Swift in eight.

Boyband One Direction, who are currently on an extended hiatus, are nominated for the top duo/group award, as well as the top touring artist prize.

The star-studded line-up of artists performing at the ceremony includes Rihanna, Justin Bieber, Pink, Ariana Grande, Meghan Trainer, Gwen Stefani and Blake Shelton.


The Billboard Music Awards are based on album and digital songs sales over the last year, radio airplay, streaming, touring and interactions on social media.

The awards show, which is being hosted by rapper Ludacris and singer Ciara, takes place at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.