Last night’s Billboard Music Awards was an exhausting extravaganza, one that lasted for three full hours and still managed to feel a bit incomplete. Of course, it didn’t help the show’s cause that many of the biggest names in the music world — Adele, Rihanna, Beyoncé, Jay-Z, Kanye West, and Lady Gaga, to name just a few — decided that they had better places to be last night than at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, and the show caught some Twitter backlash for last-minute(ish) tributes to Donna Summer and Adam “MCA” Yauch that fell flat.
That said, there were certainly more than a few memorable moments at last night’s show (which we hope you watched while following our @VH1Music Twitter feed). Here are our Top 5 Moments from the 2012 Billboard Music Awards! (Apologies in advance to all the Beliebers, for young Justin’s mostly lip-synced performance of “Boyfriend” did not make the cut.)
5. Kelly Clarkson’s live television debut of “Dark Side”
Presenter Robin Thicke introduced Kelly’s performance of her new single, “Dark Side,” by stating that she was performing the song “for the first time ever.” Of course, that was not entirely accurate, as Kelly performed an AMAZING version of “Dark Side” on VH1 Storytellers last fall. Still, Kelly looked incredibly gorgeous and, not surprisingly, used her powerhouse vocals to blow the roof off the place.
4. Alicia Keys teaming up with Stevie Wonder for “Overjoyed” (and an ad-libbed “Empire State Of Mind”)
Stevie Wonder was honored with the Billboard Icon Award last night, and as a result, got to close out the show with a mini-medley of his hits (“Higher Ground”, “Overjoyed”) with Alicia Keys accompanying him. Being the gracious guy that he is, he diverted the attention away from himself with a special birthday wish he asked of Miss Keys — a speical (and seemingly impromptu) version of “Empire State of Mind.” (WATCH VIDEO)
3. Usher makes everyone “Scream”
Yyyyyyeah mannnnnnnn! This is the third time we’ve seen Usher perform “Scream” on television in the last week — first on SNL, then on the Today Show — but this one was the best of the bunch. He showed Breezy that it IS possible to perform an elaborate dance routine AND sing live at the same time. (WATCH VIDEO.)
2. Katy Perry‘s aerial performance of “Wide Awake”
When the curtains opened on Katy Perry suspended in mid-air, many people —including us— thought we were in for a retread of P!nk’s acrobatic 2009 VMA performance of “Sober.” However, it quickly became apparent that Katy was not attempting to match P!nk’s athleticism, as her performance instead utilized the flowy sashes to represent the ups and downs of her marriage to Russell Brand. It was a powerful and beautiful moment in the show, one that only seems more and more impressive with subsequent viewings. (Also, we should mention that while her live vocals don’t deliver in quite the same way as her studio tracks, we commend her effort to rely solely on a backing track, especially while dangling some 20 feet up in the air.)
1. Bobbi Kristina Brown watching Jordin Sparks perform “I Will Always Love You”
In the words of the immortal Randy Jackson, John Legend‘s performance of “The Greatest Love Of All” was a bit pitchy, dawg. He and the orchestra behind him seemed to be playing the song at slightly different tempos, which robbed the song of its emotional firepower. However, when Jordin came out to sing “I Will Always Love You” with Whitney Houston’s daughter, Bobbi Kristina Brown, looking on, there was nary a dry in the house. You might be able to make the case that Jennifer Hudson’s version of “IWALU” at the Grammys was a more vocally satisfying performance, but the emotion of this particular moment will never be forgotten.
What was your favorite performance? Let us know in the comments!