Justin Bieber and Katy Perry Among Early Winners.
The 2012 Billboard Music Awards was kicked off at the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas on Sunday, May 20 at 8/7c with a live performance of “Party Rock Anthem” / “Sexy and I Know It” by LMFAO. “Modern Family” stars Ty Burrell and Julie Bowen hosted the event, showing footage of their rapping a song which was bleeped out a lot and cracking a joke about Taylor Swift doing the running man.
Invited to the stage as the first winner of the evening was Justin Bieber. The Canadian teen star was announced by Julianne Hough as a recipient for Top Social Artist, beating such competitors as Eminem, Lady GaGa, Rihanna and Shakira. “First of all, I just want to say how much of a blessing it’s been the past three or four years, just growing up in front of everybody,” he said.
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Bieber continued, “I just want to thank all my fans because, you know, the internet is where I got my start and all my fans have helped me get to this position.” He also gave shout-out to his manager Scooter Braun and thanked his mentor Usher “for not only saying, ‘Okay, I can sign him and just let him be’ but instead he takes the time to really care.”
After having a moment of silence to remember Bee Gees’ Robin Gibb who just passed away, the awards show continued by announcing the next winner. Lisa Marie Presley took the stage to present Katy Perry with Spotlight Award. “This is cool! They told me the only other person who’s received this award is Michael Jackson, so I feel incredibly honoured to be in the same category – although I don’t compare at all!” she gushed.
Kelly Clarkson and The Wanted performed their respective singles before Miley Cyrus appeared on stage revealing who this year’s Billboard best new artist was. Wiz Khalifa won the title over Bad Meets Evil, Big Sean, Foster the People and Scotty McCreery. “I gotta thank God first, cause God is amazing – so amazing,” the rapper said. He also thanked his parents, his “beautiful fiancee” Amber Rose and his fans.
Miley Cyrus - Credit: Kevin Mazur/WireImage.com
Billboard.com reported that a tribute for Whitney Houston has been planned for months. But the unexpected deaths of Donna Summers and Adam Yauch forced organizers to re-arrange this year’s show a little bit.
Billboard Music Awards co-executive producer Richard Beckman said that the Whitney Houston tribute will feature performances from John Legend and Jordin Sparks. The award show also gave Houston the Millenium Award, which was accepted by Bobbi Kristina.
“I was at the Grammys, and what a curveball they were thrown when Whitney passed away [the day before the show]. They did a good job with Jennifer Hudson, but obviously we had a bit more time, so we wanted to do something honoring such a remarkable performer. “
Beckman said that MCA and Summers will also be honored during tonight’s show, but did not give any details.
“We’re going to do something for Adam, and for Donna too — given that it only happened yesterday, there’s not a lot of room to get too creative, but they’re both great influences in music and they deserve to be respected.”
AceShowbiz.com & Billboard.biz contributed to this report.