Adele scoops top Billboard award amid star tributes to Prince


Stevie Wonder and Madonna have led tributes to Prince at an emotional Billboard Music Awards, where Adele was named Top Artist as she continued her domination of the music world.

Wonder was a surprise performer at the show in Las Vegas when he joined Madonna on stage for a rendition of Purple Rain after Prince's sudden death last month.

The duet came after Madonna, wearing a purple sequinned suit and holding a cane and cross symbols, sang another Prince-penned track, Nothing Compares 2 U.

"Thank you Prince Rogers Nelson for all you have given us," she said following her performance.

Organisers had defended their decision to choose Madonna to honour Prince after an online petition which called for other artists to be involved in the homage attracted more than 8,000 signatures.

Celine Dion broke down in tears as her son presented her with the Icon Award, Billboard's lifetime achievement honour, after a traumatic start to 2016 for the singer.

She sang Queen's The Show Must Go On in her first televised performance since her husband Rene Angelil and brother Daniel died from cancer just days apart in January.

After receiving her award from 15-year-old Rene Charles, Dion said: "I want to be strong for my family and my kids. I didn't want to cry. They make me so happy.

"Music has been my passion since before I remember. So many people have helped me get here today. Most importantly, my beloved husband who I know will continue to watch over me from up above.

"Rene - this one's for you. The show must go on."

Adele - who did not attend the ceremony as she continues her world tour - beat Justin Bieber, Drake, Taylor Swift and The Weeknd to win the Top Artist award.

She also received the Top Billboard 200 Album award for 25 - ahead of Bieber's Purpose, Sheeran's x, Swift's 1989 and The Weeknd's Beauty Behind The Madness.

In a pre-recorded video message, the British star said: "I can't believe I won another one. This record was quite a mission to make. I had to overcome ... my own emotional battles. Have a drink for me."

The world premiere of the music video for Adele's single, Send My Love (To Your New Lover), was also shown during the ceremony.

Kesha received a standing ovation for her rendition of Bob Dylan's It Ain't Me Babe after her former producer's record label had initially refused to approve the 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.

US star Demi Lovato made an apparent reference to North Carolina's controversial "bathroom law" during her performance, as she wore a shirt featuring a symbol combining both male and female toilet signs.

Lovato, who is touring with Nick Jonas, recently cancelled shows in the US state in protest of its law which requires transgender people to use bathrooms corresponding with the gender on their birth certificate rather than their gender identity.

The Weeknd hailed Prince as his "inspiration" as the Canadian singer won the Top Hot 100 Artist award.

"I want to dedicate this award to the late, great Prince. Rest in peace," he said. "I love him so much. I didn't know him but he was very close to me. He'll always be an inspiration."

David Bowie's album Blackstar lost out in the Top Rock album category to twenty one pilots' Blurryface.

Britney Spears opened the show at the T-Mobile Arena she received the Billboard Millennium Award for "career achievements and influence on the music industry". She is only the third person to receive the award after Beyonce in 2011 and Whitney Houston in 2012.

Wearing a red sequinned bra and red knee-length boots, Spears performed a medley of her hits including Womaniser, I'm A Slave 4 U and Toxic.

Justin Bieber, who was named Top Male Artist, also took to the stage as he sang Company and Sorry from his best selling album Purpose.

The star-studded line-up of artists performing at the ceremony also included Rihanna, Pink, Ariana Grande, Meghan Trainor, Gwen Stefani and Blake Shelton.

Meanwhile, Rapper Ludacris, who hosted the show with singer Ciara, poked fun at the recent Academy Awards, which featured all-white acting nominees.

"Unlike the Oscars we actually have black nominees," he said.

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.


Adele also won awards for Top Female Artist, Top Billboard 200 Artist and Top Selling Song for Hello.