Last night saw the 2006 Billboard Music Awards, broadcast not quite live (a few suspect silences suggested some FCC-safe delay at work) from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Since winners for these awards are determined by their success or failure on the actual charts, there were no real shocking winners and little sense of anticipation. The biggest winner was Mary J. Blige, who went home with nine awards in all, including Album of the Year (The Breakthrough) and Song of the Year (“Be Without You”). Atlanta MC T.I. and country star (by way of American Idol) Carrie Underwood scored second in overall awards with five each, while Chris Brown and Nickelback had a none-too-shabby haul of three awards apiece.
While presenters gently reminded audiences that physical albums were far from dead, the existence of digital categories seemed to disagree. The Fray swept all digital categories, and played their hit “How To Save a Life” live. Other winners included Rihanna, Nelly Furtado, Kenny Chesney, Three Days Grace, and the soundtrack to Disney’s High School Musical. Tony Bennett received a Billboard Century Award from friend and fan Stevie Wonder. Other live performances featured many a medley, including one each from Janet Jackson, Ludacris (with Pharrell and Young Jeezy helping out), and Mary J. Blige. Fergie and will.i.am from Black Eyed Peas played live too, as well as Gwen Stefani (and her numerous Harajuku girls). For the finale, standing in for the Killers (Brandon Flowers had lost his voice, audience members were told by Courtney Love), Nickelback performed with help from Kid Rock and ZZ Top’s Billy F. Gibbons. This crew did a rendition of ZZ Top’s hit “Tush” while the three girlfriends from the E! network’s Girls Next Door gyrated nearby. The Billboard Music Awards have been in existence since 1990.
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On the Web:
Complete list of winners at billboard.com