Billboard Music Awards: Best Moments
The highlights of this year's show included dance-heavy routines and timely tributes to music icons.
(The Root) -- Given the deaths of several music icons in recent months, the 2012 Billboard Music Awards could have easily turned into a somber, staid affair. But the three-hour show, broadcast live on Sunday night from the MGM Grand hotel in Las Vegas, managed to be an upbeat celebration of the music industry's current crop of chart-topping talent, such as Adele, LMFAO and Chris Brown, without letting the mood sour during respectful and mostly rousing tributes to Robin Gibb of the Bee Gees, Donna Summer, Whitney Houston and Adam "MCA" Yauch of the Beastie Boys.
LMFAO kicked off the night's performances with a medley of their biggest hits ("Party Rock Anthem," "Sorry for the Party Rocking" and "I'm Sexy and I Know It") that ended in rappers Redfoo and Skyblu (sporting a new haircut) stripping to their boxer briefs. The duo accepted two (Hot 100 Song of the Year, for "Party Rock Anthem," and Top Duo or Group) of their six awards during the televised portion of the event. "This is a dream come true ... Dance music is back, baby!" shouted Redfoo during their Song of the Year acceptance speech, as the camera caught his father, Motown Records founder Berry Gordy, smiling and applauding. (For a complete list of winners, see here.)
Shortly after that Justin Bieber won the award for Social Artist of the Year for his predominance on various social media networks, and Katy Perry won a Spotlight Award for being the first woman to have five No. 1 Hot 100 hits, tying a record held by the late King of Pop, Michael Jackson.
During his acceptance speech for taking Top New Artist honors, Pittsburgh MC Wiz Khalifa nervously thanked God (natch), his label, his fans and his fiancée -- and Kanye West's ex-girlfriend -- the blonde, buzz-cut-sporting Amber Rose, for "putting up with my crazy butt."
Speaking of statement hairdos, Brandy rocked inky black curls when she introduced Chris Brown. He performed his "Turn Up the Music" flanked by background dancers, while BMX bike riders did stunts on a half-pipe ramp behind them. The bare-chested and leather bomber- and foxtail-wearing Brown, who appeared to be lip-synching, showed off some incomparable dance moves in a routine that was like the X-Games meets The Warriors. Later in the evening, he scooped up the R&B Artist of the Year Award.
But where Brown's routine succeeded in showcasing perhaps his best asset -- his energetic dancing -- Natasha Bedingfield's tribute to Donna Summer failed to display her considerable vocal chops. She struggled with the first verse of "Last Dance" before the show faded to a commercial break.