The Billboard Music Awards (or BBMAs), which were revived last year after a four-year hiatus, are the real People's Choice Awards — with the exception of the occasional editorial call, winners are selected based on hard data mined from Billboard's charts over a year period. In other words, you bought this music, people, and last night at Las Vegas' MGM Grand, the artists reaped the prizes. That means it's no surprise that Adele, who also led the pack when finalists were announced, snagged the most, taking home 12 of the 18 she was up for, including Top Artist. Her impressive haul doubled the second-place finisher, LMFAO, partially because the British singer, like Coldplay, dominated more than one genre's categories (pop and alternative, whereas Chris Martin and Co. also hit the alternative and rock formats).
With the winners sort of a fait accompli, the real drama at the BBMAs came from tributes and performances by basically every charting artist imaginable, including, controversially, Chris Brown. Stevie Wonder received the Billboard Icon Award and performed alongside Alicia Keys, while Taylor Swift was awarded the Woman of the Year prize, which Billboard totally has never done before. Whitney Houston was remembered with a Millennium Award (the one Beyoncé won last year) and honored with a performance by John Legend and Jordin Sparks:
Beastie Boys' Adam "MCA" Yauch was honored by Cee-Lo and Goodie Mob with "Fight to Win" and "Fight for Your Right":
Surprise performers Linkin Park (who, incidentally, also paid tribute to MCA with a cover of "Sabotage" at their L.A. show Friday night) returned to the limelight as the only rock act of the night, with their dancey new track "Burn it Down" from their new album Living Things (which they chatted about with SPIN recently):
Kelly Clarkson sang an elegant, chill-worthy "Dark Side," from last year's Stronger:
The show was opened by LMFAO, because obviously:
Katy Perry turned out a (slightly terrified-looking) cloud princess performance of her new song "Wide Awake":
Carly Rae Jepsen provided a bubblegum-pop performance of "Call Me Maybe," which we'd like to think took cues from the colored balloons of Arcade Fire's unforgettable 2011 Coachella set:
Usher gave us an über-theatrical, Kingdom Hearts-y presentation of the second single from his forthcoming record Looking 4 Myself, "Scream":
And of course Justin Bieber blessed us with a crotch-grabby (?!), Kanye-meets-boyband performance of "Boyfriend":
Nelly Furtado brought a bizarre, abrasive, Native-American-rave-meets-Cirque-du-Soleil performance of "Big Hoops (Bigger The Better)":
The full list of chart-based winners, via Billboard's website:
Top Artist: Adele
Top New Artist: Wiz Khalifa
Top Male Artist: Lil Wayne
Top Female Artist: Adele
Top Duo/Group: LMFAO
Top Billboard 200 Artist: Adele
Top Hot 100 Artist: Adele
Top Digital Songs Artist: Adele
Top Radio Songs Artist: Adele
Top Touring Artist: U2
Top Social Artist: Justin Bieber
Top Streaming Artist: Rihanna
Top Digital Media Artist: Adele
Top Pop Artist: Adele
Top R&B Artist: Chris Brown
Top Rap Artist: Lil Wayne
Top Country Artist: Lady Antebellum
Top Rock Artist: Coldplay
Top Alternative Artist: Coldplay
Top Latin Artist: Shakira
Top Dance Artist: Lady Gaga
Top Christian Artist: Casting Crowns
Top Billboard 200 Album: Adele, 21
Top Pop Album: Adele, 21
Top R&B Album: Beyonce, 4
Top Rap Album: Lil Wayne, Tha Carter IV
Top Country Album: Jason Aldean, My Kinda Party
Top Rock Album: Coldplay, Mylo Xyloto
Top Alternative Album: Coldplay, Mylo Xyloto
Top Latin Album: Romeo Santos, Formula Vol. 1
Top Dance Album: Lady Gaga, Born This Way
Top Christian Album: Casting Crowns, Come To The Well
Top Hot 100 Song: LMFAO Feat. Lauren Bennett & GoonRock, "Party Rock Anthem"
Top Digital Song: LMFAO Feat. Lauren Bennett & GoonRock, "Party Rock Anthem"
Top Radio Song: Pitbull Feat. Ne-Yo, Afrojack & Nayer, "Give Me Everything"
Top Streaming Song (Audio): Adele, "Rolling in the Deep"
Top Streaming Song (Video): Nicki Minaj, "Super Bass"
Top Pop Song: LMFAO Feat. Lauren Bennett & GoonRock, "Party Rock Anthem"
Top R&B Song: Kelly Rowland Feat. Lil Wayne, "Motivation"
Top Rap Song: LMFAO Feat. Lauren Bennett & GoonRock, "Party Rock Anthem"
Top Country Song: Jason Aldean, "Dirt Road Anthem"
Top Rock Song: Foster The People, "Pumped Up Kicks"
Top Alternative Song: Adele, "Rolling In The Deep"
Top Latin Song: Don Omar & Lucenzo "Danza Kuduro"
Top Dance Song: LMFAO Feat. Lauren Bennett & GoonRock, "Party Rock Anthem"
Top Christian Song: Laura Story, "Blessings"