Teen superstar and rapper each won six trophies at Sunday night's show.
By Gil Kaufman
Justin Bieber tied with Eminem as the top winner at Sunday night's Billboard Music Awards with six trophies. But it was his embrace of reported sweetie Selena Gomez that set the Internet on fire after a night that saw splashy performances from Rihanna, an upside-down Cee Lo Green, Nicki Minaj, Ke$ha, Mary J. Blige with Lil Wayne, Taio Cruz, the Black Eyed Peas and Pitbull.
Bieber's awards included trophies for Top New Artist, Top Social Artist, Top Streaming Artist, Top Digital Media Artist, Top Pop Album and Top Streaming Song at his first-ever trip to the show. Meanwhile, veteran Eminem (who was not in Las Vegas for the show) nabbed Top Artist, Top Male Artist, Top Billboard 200 Album, Top Rap Artist, Top Rap Song and Top Rap Album for his smash comeback, Recovery.
Six artists were just behind with three wins each, including Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Taylor Swift, Usher, Mumford & Sons and Cruz. Though Bieber and Gomez have kept their relationship under wraps for months, the "Baby" singer kissed and hugged Gomez before taking the stage to accept an award.
The show featured a number of performances, two of which included surprise appearances from a lip-synching Britney Spears. The pop diva literally popped up out of the floor to join Rihanna for "S&M," writhing on a stripper pole while brandishing a pair of diamond handcuffs. The two finished things off with a pillow fight and a kiss. She also topped off a performance of Minaj's "Super Bass" with a bit of her own "Till the World Ends."
Weezy teamed up with Blige for the remix of "Someone to Love Me (Naked)." Green wore a sparkly outer-space outfit while playing piano and singing a medley of his hits ("Crazy," "Bright Lights Bigger City" and "Forget You"); he levitated over the stage and pounded the keys of his silver piano while hanging upside down at one point.
But perhaps the biggest moment of the night was when Beyoncé was presented with the prestigious Billboard Millennium Award, which was preceded by a video honoring her with testimonials from First Lady Michelle Obama, Bono, Lady Gaga, Bey's parents and sister Solange, Stevie Wonder, The-Dream and Barbra Streisand.
She accepted the award after an eye-popping performance of her new single, "Run the World (Girls)," which was highlighted by a breathtaking digital background featuring a shifting array of effects that produced a legion of virtual backup dancers and CGI-like movie effects.
Out of breath from her performance, Beyoncé thanked her mother and father for teaching her about hard work, as well as former Destiny's Child members Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams, past DC members and, in a break with their usual low-key nature, husband Jay-Z.
"I'd also like to thank my best friend, and I don't want to put you on the spot because I know they're probably putting a camera in your face right now, but I love me some Jay-Z," she said with a smile.
A number of artists also took home two awards apiece, including Katy Perry, Shakira and Train.
Complete List of Winners:
Top Artist: Eminem
Top New Artist: Justin Bieber
Top Male Artist: Eminem
Top Female Artist: Rihanna
Top Duo/Group: The Black Eyed Peas
Top Billboard 200 Artist: Taylor Swift
Top Hot 100 Artist: Katy Perry
Top Digital Songs Artist: Katy Perry
Top Radio Songs Artist: Rihanna
Top Touring Artist: U2
Top Social Artist: Justin Bieber
Top Streaming Artist: Justin Bieber
Top Digital Media Artist: Justin Bieber
Top Pop Artist: Lady Gaga
Top R&B Artist: Usher
Top Rap Artist: Eminem
Top Country Artist: Taylor Swift
Top Rock Artist: Train
Top Alternative Artist: Mumford & Sons
Top Latin Artist: Shakira
Top Dance/Electronic Artist: Lady Gaga
Millennium Award: Beyoncé
Touring Award: U2
Icon Award: Neil Diamond
Top Billboard 200 Album: Eminem, Recovery
Top Pop Album: Justin Bieber, My World 2.0,, Katy Perry, Teenage Dream
Top R&B Album: Usher, Raymond v. Raymond
Top Rap Album: Eminem, Recovery Top Country Album: Taylor Swift, Speak Now
Top Rock Album: Mumford & Sons, Sigh No More
Top Alternative Album: Mumford & Sons, Sigh No More
Top Latin Album: Enrique Iglesias, Euphoria
Top Dance/Electronic Album: Lady Gaga, The Fame
Top Christian Album: Skillet, Awake
Top Hot 100 Song: Taio Cruz, "Dynamite"
Top Digital Song: Taio Cruz, "Dynamite"
Top Radio Song: Bruno Mars, "Just the Way You Are"
Top Streaming Song (Audio): Nelly, "Just a Dream"
Top Streaming Song (Video): Justin Bieber featuring Ludacris, "Baby"
Top Pop Song: Taio Cruz, "Dynamite"
Top R&B Song: Usher featuring will.i.am, "OMG"
Top Rap Song: Eminem featuring Rihanna, "Love the Way You Lie"
Top Country Song: Lady Antebellum, "Need You Now"
Top Rock Song: Train, "Hey, Soul Sister"
Top Alternative Song: Neon Trees, "Animal"
Top Latin Song: Shakira featuring Freshlyground, "Waka Waka (This Time for Africa)"