New York — Celine Dion and Kesha, both in the midst of drama in their personal lives, gave emotional performances at the 2016 Billboard Music Awards on Sunday.
Dion sang Queen's The Show Must Go On in strong form on Sunday, sporting a shiny dress and backed by a powerful orchestra.
Dion lost her husband and brother in the same week in January, and her son presented her with the Billboard icon award after her performance.
"I'm so sorry. I'm sorry for crying. I want to be so strong for my family and kids ... I don't want to cry in front of you," a teary Dion said to Rene-Charles Angelil. "Thank you very much ...This is such a tremendous honour ... Music has been my passion since before I can almost remember."
Kesha sang a heart-wrenching cover of Bob Dylan's It Ain't Me Babe at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. She stood still in a cream suit and was backed by a pianist and violinist, hitting all the right notes and growing teary-eyed near the end.
She earned a standing ovation from the audience — a welcome response after the performance was initially nixed by her former mentor, Dr. Luke.
The hit-making producer and his record label reversed the decision after Kesha said she would not use the stage to discuss their ongoing lawsuit.
Other performances were not as strong: Justin Bieber sang his hits Company and Sorry with the help of a backing track as bright laser lights beamed throughout the performance. He walked from side to side, performing a few dance moves but didn't match the energy of his backup dancers.
Britney Spears — clearly lip syncing — kicked off the show in a shimmery red number with a performance that featured several of her hits, from I'm a Slave 4 U and Toxic, and some of her signature dance moves.
Demi Lovato's performance of Cool for the Summer was among the night's best. She also made a statement by wearing a shirt featuring an inclusive bathroom symbol, taking a stance against North Carolina's recent law addressing LGBT rights and bathroom use by transgender people.
Lovato, who is on tour with Nick Jonas, recently cancelled shows in North Carolina in protest of the state's law.
Pink also impressed with her performance — featuring her signature high-flying moves — while she sang her new song, Just Like Fire. Rihanna was also a highlight with strong vocals when she sang Love on the Brain.
Madonna paid homage to Prince by wearing his signature colour and bringing another icon — Stevie Wonder — onstage to sing the classic Purple Rain.
Sitting atop a purple throne, Madonna kicked off the tribute with a version of Nothing Compares 2 U, which Prince wrote and Sinead O'Connor recorded. She as teary-eyed as she sang the song, videos and photos of Prince projected behind her.
Wonder, in a purple scarf, later joined her for Purple Rain as the audience at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas sang along.
"Most of all, thank you Prince Rogers Nelson for all that you've given us," Madonna said after the performance.
The Weeknd, the night's big winner with eight, dedicated an award to Prince and told the audience, "I love him so much. I didn't know him, but he was so close to me. He will always be an inspiration." However, The Weeknd lost the night's big award — top artist — to Adele.
He also lost top male artist to Bieber, who also beat out Drake, Ed Sheeran and Fetty Wap.
"I'm not really a talker, but I'll say thank you to my family. I want to thank God. I want to thank everyone that believed in me and believes in me," Bieber said.
Adele's best-seller 25 bested albums from Swift, Bieber, the Weeknd and Sheeran for top Billboard 200 album.
"I can't believe I've won another one," Adele said in a video message. "This record was quite a mission to make."
Adele didn't attend the show because she is on tour, but the awards show premiered her music video for Send My Love (To Your New Lover).
Ciara and Ludacris hosted the show, and the rapper opened by poking fun at this year's Academy Awards, which featured all-white acting nominees.
"Unlike the Oscars, we actually have black nominees," Ludacris said to laughs.
Here is the full winners list:
Top Artist: Adele
Top New Artist: Fetty Wap
Top Male Artist: Justin Bieber
Top Female Artist: Adele
Top Duo/Group: One Direction
Billboard Chart Achievement Award: Rihanna
Top Billboard 200 Artist: Adele
Top Hot 100 Artist: The Weeknd
Top Song Sales Artist: The Weeknd
Top Radio Songs Artist: The Weeknd
Top Streaming Songs Artist: The Weeknd
Top Social Media Artist: Justin Bieber
Top Touring Artist: Taylor Swift
Top R&B Artist: The Weeknd
Top Rap Artist: Drake
Top Country Artist: Luke Bryan
Top Rock Artist: twenty one pilots
Top Latin Artist: Romeo Santos
Top Dance/Electronic Artist: David Guetta
Top Christian Artist: Hillsong United
Top Gospel Artist: Kirk Franklin
Top Billboard 200 Album: Adele, "25"
Top Soundtrack: Pitch Perfect 2
Top R&B Album: The Weeknd, "Beauty Behind The Madness"
Top Rap Album: Meek Mill, "Dreams Worth More Than Money"
Top Country Album: Chris Stapleton, "Traveller"
Top Rock Album: twenty one pilots, "Blurryface"
Top Latin Album: Juan Gabriel, "Los Duo"
Top Dance/Electronic Album: Zedd, "True Colours"
Top Christian Album: Lauren Daigle, "How Can It Be"
Top Gospel Album: Kirk Franklin, "Losing My Religion"
Top Hot 100 Song: Wiz Khalifa ft. Charlie Puth, "See You Again"
Top Selling Song: Adele, "Hello"
Top Radio Song: Adele "Hello" Walk the Moon, "Shut Up And Dance"
Top Streaming Song (Audio): The Weeknd, "The Hills"
Top Streaming Song (Video): Silento, "Watch Me"
Top R&B Song: The Weeknd, "The Hills"
Top Rap Song: Wiz Khalifa ft. Charlie Puth, "See You Again"
Top Country Song: Thomas Rhett, "Die A Happy Man"
Top Rock Song: Walk the Moon, "Shut Up And Dance"
Top Latin Song: Nicky Jam & Enrique Iglesias, "El Perdon"
Top Dance/Electronic Song: Major Lazer & DJ Snake Featuring MØ, "Lean On"
Top Christian Song: Hillsong UNITED, "Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)"
Top Gospel Song: Kirk Franklin, "Wanna Be Happy?"
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