The Billboard Music Awards may not be known for scandalous surprise girl-on-girl kisses like the VMAs or interesting collaborations like the Grammys, but the 2012 Billboard Music Awards is offering performances by the hottest artists of today. Carrie Underwood, Linkin Park, Nelly Furtado and Kelly Clarkson are only a few of the A-listers hitting the stage this Sunday at MGM in Las Vegas. We’re curious to find out if BMA can pull off a tribute to the Queen of Disco, Donna Summer, in just three days. Watching how artists bring their songs to life at a major award show is always exhilarating, but here’s the five singers we’re most excited to see and why.
Finally, a full Whitney Houston tribute. Jennifer Hudson did an amazing job at the Grammy Awards, but we were left wanting so much more. Thanks to Billboard, our wish came true in the form of John Legend and Jordin Sparks (who actually co-starred with Houston in the remake of Sparkle). It’s no easy feat to cover The Voice’s songs for even the best vocalists in the business. We’d love to hear the two sing “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” or “How Will I Know” as they are Houston’s earlier songs that are light and fun. It was announced that Bobbi Kristina and Cissy Houston are making special guest appearances to accept awards on Houston’s behalf. Will the gospel legend sing and take everybody to church? A lot is riding on this tribute, we’re hoping they nail it.
2. Katy Perry performing “Wide Awake”
Katy’s performances are usually some type of intergalactic, out of this world awesome. She gets in full character with bright hair or flies through the air on a harness. When the news of her performing “Wide Awake” off the Teenage Dream: The Complete Confection track came out, album we absolutely squealed (and we’re not ashamed to admit it). As a slower song, we’re not sure how she can pull this off with a theatrical performance in a way she could with one of her more pop dance tracks. But Perry is all about going big or going home. We think she’s going to do it way big.
3. Usher Raymond moonwalking
Before the world knew Chris Brown, Usher Raymond was the cat being hailed as the new Michael Jackson. His performances were water cooler chatter the next day at work or school because they were just that good. His footwork was untouchable at the time. Now, Usher is back with an upcoming album Looking 4 Myself with hits like “Climax” and “Scream.” If his performance is anything close to what he did with Fuerza Bruta, he’s going to have one of the most electrifying acts of the night.
4. Justin Bieber wants to be someone’s “Boyfriend.”
Biebs and his mentor Usher cover the current issue of Billboard , so the two have to have something cooking for this performance. Right, right? Officially an adult, Biebs has to do some 18-year-old swag surfing to his new record “Boyfriend.” Perhaps he’ll debut another single from his upcoming Believe. In all honesty, we’re hoping for a Justin Bieber freestyle. A singing and rapping performance from Biebs would totally rock.
5. Cee-Lo has to top his Grammy performance.
We’re not sure anyone remembers Cee-Lo from the Atlanta group Goodie Mob. But you most certainly remember him for his hit song “F*** You.” And how could we forget his 2011 GRAMMY performance with him dressed as a mix between an ostrich and something you’d see at Mardi Gras. As if that wasn’t enough shock value, Cee-Lo played the piano while Muppets sang along. How does he top that? We’re not so sure, but as long as his performance is even more over the top than the last, we can’t wait.
[Photo: Getty Images]