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By Patty Fantasia

On Sunday May 19th, The Annual Billboard Music Awards Show took place live from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.  Shooting up in the ratings from last year’s ceremony, the televised event gave ABC a win for the evening with 9.5 million total viewers.  Launched in 1989, the awards signify special industry honors bestowed by Billboard, which remains the preeminent publication covering the music business.  During the first two years the awards took place at the Barker Hangar in Santa Monica, CA before moving to The Universal Amphitheater in Los Angeles.  From there it was held at The Coliseum in New York City before moving to the Center for Performing Arts and the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas in 1996.  In 1997 it shifted to the MGM until the show was suspended from 2007 through 2010.  In 2011 it returned to the MGM.  Paul Shaffer was the first host, followed by Phil Collins, Chris Rock, Kathy Griffin and LL Cool J among others before NBC’s “30 Rock” star Tracy Morgan assumed those responsibilities for this year’s show, which was Executive Produced by Don Mischer.

Singer/songwriter Taylor Swift was the 2013 big winner taking home a total of 8 awards.  Dressed in a short, glittery dress by Zuhair Munrad, the 23-year old Swift thanked her fans during her Top Artist acceptance speech adding that her relationship with them is the best and longest one she has ever had.  Taylor won the Top Female Artist, Top Billboard 200 Artist, Top Digital Songs Artist (tie), Top Country Artist, Top Billboard 200 Album (Red), and for Top Country Album and Song.  

There was some booing from the audience after Justin Bieber was announced as the winner of the new fan-driven Milestone Award presented by Chevrolet with many believing the nineteen-year old is too young to be receiving such an honor, especially after making a comment about how he should be taken seriously. This Award was determined by who won the most votes from fans for demonstrating the most musical ingenuity and innovation with Justin beating out Taylor Swift and Bruno Mars.  Bieber also took home Top Male and Top Social Artist Awards. The unstoppable Madonna won the highly coveted Top Touring Artist Award for having the top grossing music tour plus added two other wins for Top Dance Artist and Album.

Perhaps the most exciting award and performance, however, was offered by the recipient of Billboard’s Icon Award - Prince.  After an introduction by Janelle Monae and a video montage featuring some of his career milestones, the Prince took the stage wearing green along with his trademark high heels and launched into a revamped version of his classic hit “Let’s Go Crazy.”  Next he performed a mean guitar solo before collaborating with lady collective 3rdeyegirl for their single titled “FixUrLifeUp.”  Prince continued rocking the house by wrapping up his stint with flames shooting up behind him leaving the audience wishing for more.

Other Billboard Music Award winners included: One Direction for Top New Artist, Top Duo Group and Top Pop Artist; Rihanna for Top Radio Songs Artist, Top R&B Artist, Top R&B Song, and Top R&B Album; Maroon 5 for Top Hot 100 Artist; Nicki Minaj for Top Streaming Artist, Top Rap Artist and Top Rap Album; fun for Top Rock Artist; Jenni Rivera for Top Latin Artist and Top Latin Album; David Cuetta for Top EDM Artist; Gotyi featuring Kimbra for Top Hot 100 Song, Top Radio Song, Top Streaming Song (Audio) and Top Rock Song; tobyMac for Top Christian Artist and Top Christian Album; Carly Rae Jepsen for Top Digital Song and Top Pop Song; PSY for Top Streaming Song; Adele for Top Pop Album; Baauer for Top Dance Song and Top EDM Song; Mumford & Sons for Top Rock Album; Macklemore & Ryan Lewis featuring Wanz for Top Rap Song; Michael Telo for the Top Latin Song; Matt Redman for the Top Christian Song; and Skrillex for Top EDM Artist.

Bruno Mars kicked off the evening’s solo acts with “Treasure” followed by Justin Bieber doing “Take You”, Chris Brown performing “Fine China”, Selena Gomez singing “Come and Get It”, Icona Pop with “I Love It”, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis doing “Thrift Shop”, Miguel singing “Adorn”, Kacey Musgraves performing “Merry Go Round”, The Band Perry with “Better Dig Two”, Ed Sheeran doing “Lego House” and Taylor Swift presenting a big rousing version of her hit “22”.

One mishap that did occur during the show happened when R&B singer Miguel tried to jump over a pit of fans during his performance of "Adorn."  He miscalculated the jump and accidentally landed on one of his fans while kicking someone else in the arm. The singer met one of the fans named Khyati after the show and tweeted thanks that she was okay after he got caught up in the moment.

Unique on stage collaborations were performed by Christina Aguilera with special guest Pitbull singing “Feel This Moment” and a dazzling Jennifer Lopez pairing up with Pitbull for “Live It Up.”  Justin Bieber joined Will.i.am for “#thatPOWER” Nicki Minaj and Little Wayne peformed “High School” and David Guetta, Ne-Yo and Akon entertained with “Play Harder.”

Aside from presenters known in the music industry there were many others on the show hailing from television. Those bestowing honors included: Shania Twain, Celine Dion, Miley Cyrus, Kid Rock Ke$ha, Stana Katic, Hayden Penettiere, Alyssa Milano, Jenny McCarthy, Jennifer Morrison, Jennifer Nettles and CeeLo Green.

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Here I am with my fiance event producer Jeff Grinstein at the Billboard Music Awards 2013 After Party in the Marquee Nightclub at the Cosmopolitan Hotel.

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