Billboard Music Awards 2012: The Best (and Worst) Moments (Video)
UPDATED: THR lists the high and low notes of Sunday's musical honors on ABC.
The 2012 Billboard Music Awards kicked off Sunday night’s show on ABC with a booming performance from LMFAO. Hosted by Modern Family stars Ty Burrell and Julie Bowen, the ceremony honored the biggest chart-toppers of the year across several categories.
Adele was the night’s biggest winner with 12 awards that included Top Female Artist, Top Hot 100 Artist, Top Pop Album, for 21, and Top Alternative Song, for "Rolling in the Deep." Billboard named Taylor Swift its Woman of the Year, handed Katy Perry the Spotlight Award and honored Stevie Wonder with the Icon award.
In memory of the music industry’s biggest losses, the show served up touching tributes for Milennium Award winner Whitney Houston, Donna Summer and Adam Yauch. Hosts Burrell and Bowen also recognized Bee Gees member, Robin Gibb, after news of his death broke just hours before the ceremony.
Among the more than 15 performances, Katy Perry and Kelly Clarkson each debuted their next singles. Perry performed "Wide Awake" and Clarkson sang “Dark Side.”
Here are THR's picks for the best (and worst) highlights from the event.
1. Taylor Swift gets down. Toward the end of LMFAO’s rockin’ opening, Swift broke out into the retro-90s running man right along with the beats.
2. Ty Burrell and Julie Bowen show off their bleeping musical talents. After making fun of themselves for playing the whitest, most suburban people on TV, the hosts shared some music videos in the rap, country and children’s music genres. Innocent enough -- until one realized that they had to be censored extensively for their foul lyrics.
3. What’s that, Julianne Hough? We can’t hear you. The Dancing With the Stars alum gave the night a precarious start. Someone forgot to give her a microphone, so no one could hear a word she was saying. Clearly, her dance training kicked in: The show must go on and she pulled herself together as if the foible never happened.
4. Katy Perry’s 91-year-old grandma gets a rave review. The recipient of the Spotlight Award, the newly divorced singer’s date was her grandmother. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. The 91-year-old Las Vegas native cheered for her granddaughter heartily with her arms up. That revealed that she was wearing a ring with a blue light on it like the ones used at concerts or raves. Perry must’ve gotten her showmanship from somewhere.
5. Natasha Bedingfield honors Donna Summer. It takes a lot of courage to sing an icon’s song while she’s alive. But to do it so soon after her death and as the world is remembering the best of Summer’s work is difficult. Bedingfield pulled it off with her rendition of "Last Dance." But, was cutting Bedingfield off before she finished the song a smart move?
6. All hail the boys of R&B pop. Whether you groove on their music or disapprove of their past mistakes, cough, Chris Brown, Usher and Justin Bieber know how to deliver an energetic, intricately choreographed and visually stimulating stage production. That’s golden when watching a three-hour-long awards show.
7. John Legend and Jordin Sparks do Houston family proud. Whoopi Goldberg began the tribute by recounting a humorous story of her run-in with Houston’s bodyguards and how the diva told them to leave her alone, “That’s Whoopi and she’ll cut you.” Then, Legend sang a stirring rendition of “Greatest Love Of All” followed by Houston’s Sparkle co-star performing “I Will Always Love You.” And just in case there was still a dry eye in the house, Houston’s daughter, Bobbi Kristina Brown, and best friend, sister-in-law Pat Houston, accepted the Millennium award for the late singer.
8. Cee Lo Green and Goodie Mob’s one-legged dancer. The funk singer and his Atlanta crew’s performance was just as big as one would expect. But, did you catch the dancer that appeared to have only one leg? Now, that was a sight to behold and hard to tear yourself from. They then went into a performance of Beastie Boys’ "(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (To Party)" in a tribute to the late Adam Yauch.
9 . Stevie Wonder gets what he wants. A very giddy Icon Award honoree, Stevie Wonder, turned the tables on presenter Alicia Keys, when he asked her to perform the chorus from “Empire State of Mind” a capella. Of course, one doesn’t say no to Wonder. That was a good moment, but how about the irony of the blind singer saying, “I’m looking good, too.”
10. Nelly Furtado borrows Cee Lo's specs. Forget the fact that Furtado decided a whole song around the power she derives from wearing big hoop earrings would be her comeback song, but what about those awkwardly oversized red glasses? Cee Lo should check his bags.
What were your favorite and least favorite moments of the awards show?