Every awards show producer craves moments, the things they’d love for us to spend our Monday mornings talking about and marveling over. The Billboard Music Awards had a fair number Sunday night — some funny, some weird, some kind of creepy even.
We start with Justin Timberlake …
The Man: Top winner JT proved he doesn’t even have to be in the building to steal the show. The 33-year-old singer won two on-air awards, including top artist, the show’s biggest honour. Timberlake’s on tour and couldn’t attend, but he sent video acceptance speeches filmed with his band crowded in the frame. They sang a thank you song in their first appearance, then danced with Timberlake in the second as he listed his fellow nominees: “I love you guys. It’s not a competition, but if it was, I won!” Timberlake then aimed his sense of humour at the embattled Los Angeles Clippers owner: “I want to thank everybody on earth, everybody on earth … except Donald Sterling.” He then strutted out of the frame.
Michael 2.0: It took a court order to clear the way for an appearance by the Michael Jackson hologram, but the range of reactions in the crowd was more interesting to watch than the reanimated pop king, truth be told. Some were moved to tears. Some were clearly astonished. Others scowled. The holographic image of a younger Jackson, singing “Slave to the Rhythm” from his second posthumously released album “Xscape,” was effective for the most part. It appeared to interact with living dancers on stage after stepping down from a golden throne. The illusion was unexpectedly powerful when the hologram was alone on stage, so lifelike it was a little creepy. How long till these sorts of reconstructions are common place?
They Said What?: We wonder if Mark Cuban’s Dallas Mavericks will ever sign a player represented by rapper-turned-sports agent Jay Z after Sunday’s show. Cuban had the night’s biggest zinger, teaming with “Shark Tank” co-star Kevin O’Leary to capitalize on Jay Z’s recent elevator escapade with sister-in-law Solange. “We just spent $3.2 billion to buy a hot new company called Beatdowns By Solange,” they joked. It was one of the show’s most memorable moments. And one Jay Z probably won’t soon forget.
I’m Sorry, So Sorry: While most celebrities fight to keep their relationship problems private, Robin Thicke enlisted the public during the show to help him convince estranged wife Paula Patton to give him a second chance. The two are separated and Thicke used his appearance to gain Patton’s attention. After winning top R&B song, he thanked Patton “for her love and support and for putting up with me all these years.” A little later he debuted “Get Her Back,” a new song aimed at Patton’s heart. “I never should have raised my voice or made you feel so small,” Thicke sang. “I never should have asked you do to anything at all. … I’ll wait forever for you to love me again.” He finished the song on his knees.
Boy Band Bungle: To be honest, there are so many boy bands it can be hard to keep them straight. So it would be easy to forgive television personality and Kardashian satellite Kendall Jenner for getting confused when she appeared to nearly introduce British Boy Band One Direction in error. Except for one thing: It’s hard to explain the mistake when the 5 Seconds of Summer’s name was written down for her to read. Jenner had a simple excuse: “Guys, I’m the worst reader.”
Miley in the Sky: You can say one thing for Miley Cyrus: She’s not repeating herself. Cyrus managed to pull off another oddly affecting awards show performance, joining with The Flaming Lips on a version of The Beatles’ ‘Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.” Cyrus and Lips lead singer Wayne Coyne, performing from the United Kingdom where Cyrus is on tour, were dressed in shiny coats that appeared to be made of Christmas tree tinsel. They slowed the song down, making it even more trippy than the original — if that’s even possible.
Dark Pop Angel: Lorde sure looked like a rebel, dressed in a black suit with feathered angel wings attached, and flashing devil’s horns at one point while winning two on-air awards. Yet her speeches, including one devoted to the apparently tireless workers at her record label, couldn’t have been more forthright and earnest. She actually read her first from her phone, something she called “kind of embarrassing … I really don’t want to screw it up.”