The 2012 Billboard Music Awards were heavy on performances, but only a handful of actual trophies were handed out during the show.
Ty Burell and Julie Bowen of ABC’s Modern Family hosted the three-hour ABC broadcast and kicked off the show with profanity-laced spoofs of R&B, country and children’s videos. Ty and Julie paid tribute to the Bee Gees‘ Robin Gibb, who died earlier on Sunday.
LMFAO opened the show with a medley of their hits “Party Rock Anthem,” “Sorry for Party Rockin'” and “Sexy and I Know It.” They later accepted the Hot 100 Song of the Year trophy for “Party Rock Anthem” and the Duo/Group award.
Justin Bieber took the first award of the night, taking the Social Artist of the Year trophy. He spent more than 50 weeks on Billboard‘s Social 50 chart. Justin thanked everyone for their support over the last five years as he’s grown up in the public eye. Justin delivered his latest hit, “Boyfriend,” later in the show using neon pops of color to accentuate his big production performance.
Lisa Marie Presley presented the Spotlight Award to Katy Perry, who scored five #1s on the Billboard Hot 100 from her album Teenage Dream. Michael Jackson is the only other artist to pull that off. Katy said she was honored to be in that company, but added she didn’t feel she compared to Michael though.
Katy took her 91-year-old grandmother as her date. Her grandmother actually lives in Las Vegas, and Katy said she couldn’t wait to do shots with her after the show.
Katy returned later in the show to sing her new single “Wide Awake,” which will be featured in her new concert movie, Katy Perry: Part of Me, later this summer. She called the song the most personal, intimate song she’s ever released. There’s little doubt it was inspired by her failed marriage to Russell Brand. Katy performed the song while flying above the stage in a Cirque du Soleil-inspired production number.
A newly svelte Kelly Clarkson took the stage to sing her brand-new single, “Dark Side.” She was introduced by Robin Thicke — her fellow mentor on ABC’s upcoming music competition series, Duets.
UK boy band The Wanted were on hand to sing “Chasing the Sun” before moving on to their new big hit “Glad You Came.”
Miley Cyrus wore a white and very revealing man’s suit jacket as a dress to present the New Artist award to Wiz Khalifa. Wiz admitted he was shaking as he accepted the trophy. He later paid tribute to the late Adam Yauch, better known as M.C.A. of the Beastie Boys. Wiz also presented the Duo/Group trophy to LMFAO.
Chris Brown sang his new hit, “Turn Up the Music,” after an introduction from Brandy. The performance featured Chris dancing with a group of backup dancers and people riding bikes with lighted spokes on a ramp behind him. Chris later accepted the R&B Artist trophy, thanking his fans and the radio stations that played his records.
Natasha Bedingfield gave the evening’s tribute to the late Donna Summer with a performance of “Last Dance.”
Whoopi Goldberg was on hand to introduce the Whitney Houston tribute portion of the show. John Legend kicked it off by singing “Greatest Love of All,” and Whitney’s Sparkle co-star Jordin Sparks delivered the late legend’s signature hit, “I Will Always Love You.”
Whitney’s daughter Bobbi Kristina Brown and sister-in-law Pat Houston were in the audience for the tribute and later came onstage to accept the Billboard Millennium Award on Whitney’s behalf.
Kris Kristofferson opened the tribute to Billboard‘s Woman of the Year, Taylor Swift, who was honored for her record breaking career. Zooey Deschanel came out to recognize Taylor’s philanthropic efforts too and introduce her to accept her Woman of the Year trophy.
Taylor thanked her fans for the trophy saying, “I’m so humbled and honored by this.”
Usher opened his performance of “Scream” in a top hat and tuxedo, dancing with a masked woman in red dress and cape. The woman suddenly disappeared, and a man who looked just like Usher wearing the same outfit appeared onstage. They performed the same dance routine side-by-side before the real Usher finished out the song in command of the stage.
Carly Rae Jepsen gave the first big awards show performance of her big hit “Call Me Maybe.”
Luke Bryan introduced Carrie Underwood‘s dramatic performance of “Blown Away,” the title cut from her bestselling new album.
Linkin Park delivered a fiery performance of their new single, “Burn It Down,” from their upcoming album Living Things.
Cee Lo Green reunited with his group Goodie Mob to sing “Fight to Win” before launching into the Beastie Boys‘ “Fight for Your Right” in tribute to the group’s late member Adam Yauch, also known as M.C.A.
Taio Cruz introduced the winner of the Billboard Battle of the Band contest, Patent Pending, for their performance on the show.
Gavin DeGraw introduced Nelly Furtado to perform her new single “Big Hoops (Bigger the Better).”
Alicia Keys honored Stevie Wonder with Billboard‘s Icon Award, teaming up with him for a medley of his hits “Higher Ground” and “Overjoyed.” Stevie celebrated his birthday last week and asked Alicia to sing “Empire State of Mind” as his birthday present. After a speech asking for worldwide unity, Stevie sang a new song called “Join Our Love” before closing out the night with “Superstition.”
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
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