Rihanna, Britney kick off Billboard Awards
After five years of dormancy, the Billboard Music Awards were revived Sunday with a major dose of star power.
Rihanna got the show off to a steamy start, wearing a skimpy leather outfit for her hit song "S&M," and was joined at the end of the number by Britney Spears, who appears on a remix on the track.
Taylor Swift won the evening's first award, as top album artist, behind the multimillion sales for "Speak Now."
"The impact of an album is all determined by the fans," she told the audience. "You've just given me another reason to be completely in love with you."
Other award winners included Justin Bieber (digital artist) and the Black Eyed Peas (top duo/group).
Beyonce received a special Millennium Award for her career achievements: The 29-year-old phenomenon was lauded in a video by an array of legends and luminaries, including Stevie Wonder, Barbara Streisand, Bono, Lady Gaga and First Lady Michelle Obama.
"This is a moment I have to soak in because it's gonna be — and it is — one of the best moments of my life," said Beyonce after getting the award from her mother, Tina Knowles. Beyonce also performed her new song, "Run the World (Girls)."
This year marks the Billboard Awards' rebirth. The Billboard Awards had been a staple since 1989, but gave out what appeared to be its last award in 2006. This year, the show was brought back.
It was held in Las Vegas, broadcast live on ABC and hosted by "The Hangover 2'" star Ken Jeong.
The Billboard Music Awards are given out to music's most popular artists. The finalists and winners are determined by their rank on the Billboard charts and their "social and streaming activity."
Rihanna is the top finalist, competing in 18 categories. Among the awards she's up for include top artist, top female artist, and top radio songs artist.
Eminem's name appears in 16 categories, including top artist. He's also vying for top male artist as well as top social artist.