By Radio.com staff
He wasn’t in attendance, but that didn’t stop Justin Timberlake from having a pretty solid night at the Billboard Music Awards.
While on tour abroad, the singer nabbed seven awards at the ceremony Sunday night (May 18) in Las Vegas, including the distinction of the year’s top album for The 20/20 Experience and top artist overall.
For his televised acceptances, Timberlake didn’t just give thanks — he sang them. He composed a quick little ditty with his backing band each time, running down the thanks to “everybody on earth… except Donald Sterling.” He proceeded to walk off camera shaking his head.
Timberlake was rivaled only by local Vegas rockers Imagine Dragons, who earned the distinction of top group and won multiple awards for songs from breakthrough album Night Visions, including top Hot 100 artist and top rock album. The band was actually in the building, adding a performance of “Tiptoe.”
Other big winners included Lorde, whose “Royals” took home the top rock song distinction along with top new artist, and Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines,” which swept many of the song categories, including top Hot 100 song.
Since the Billboard Music Awards are tendered mostly via chart results, making them somewhat easily monitored, the biggest intrigue of the evening lay in performances. A rendition of Michael Jackson’s new single “Slave to the Rhythm” done completely by a Jackson hologram has already been documented, but in all, many genres were represented in a melting pot of performances from the year’s biggest artists.
As rumored in the week leading up to the ceremony, Thicke debuted a new song, “Get Her Back,” that references his relationship — or lack thereof– with estranged wife, Paula Patton. The performance was subtle and low-key, letting the words like “All I wanna do is keep you satisfied” take center stage.
Lorde was also took the stage to make the live debut of her song “Tennis Court,” wearing a hat that would make Pharrell proud.
As did Katy Perry, showing off her green hair to make the live debut of her song “Birthday” via satellite from United Kingdom. Perry donned a skintight bodysuit for a performance that featured Cirque du Soleil-like acrobatics, confetti and a special serenade for a young girl in the crowd who was celebrating her actual birthday. To top it off, Perry got to ride off into the rafters thanks to some very special balloons.
Carrie Underwood took home the Milestone Award telling the crowd, “I truly have the best fans in the world,” and then took the stage with Miranda Lambert on “Something Bad” off Miranda’s upcoming album, Platinum.
Other big performances included a pre-taped duet between Miley Cyrus and the Flaming Lips‘ Wayne Coyne of “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” (off the Lips’ upcoming Beatles tribute album), Ariana Grande teaming with Iggy Azalea for “Problem,” and Jennifer Lopez, who earned one of the night’s biggest distinctions — the Icon Award.
After performing “First Love,” the second single from her upcoming new album AKA, the singer tearfully accepted her award, thanking everyone from her family to the “little ones” sitting by the TV, telling them to follow their dreams like she did.