Janet Jackson rocks Billboard Music Awards with performance and speech

Icon award winner Janet Jackson performs a medley at the Billboard Music Awards at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on Sunday, May 20, 2018, in Las Vegas. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

JANET Jackson rocked the 2018 Billboard Music Awards with an energetic and powerful performance of her past hits in an epic week that included her 52nd birthday and the 25th anniversary of her groundbreaking “janet.” album.

In a glittery gold sweater-dress and thigh-high boots, Jackson sang “Nasty,” “If” and “Throb” as audience members such as Ciara and Tyra Banks danced along at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.

Bruno Mars made a surprise appearance to introduce the singer, who earned the Icon Award on Sunday.

Jackson used her speech to pay tribute to powerful women.

“Women have made it clear that we no longer will be controlled, manipulated or abused.

I stand with those women and with those men equally outraged by discrimination who support us in heart and mind,” she
said onstage as she accepted the honor.

Jackson also thanked God heavily in her speech, ending with: “And I thank God for giving me the precious energy that lets me live my life as an artist.”

The audience, which included her mother, Katherine Jackson, and sister Reebie Jackson, chanted “Janet” loudly while she tried to give her speech.

An emotional Kelly Clarkson opened the Billboard Awards in tribute to the recent school children and teachers who died in Texas, barely able to speak as she urged the audience and the world to do more to prevent deadly shootings from happening.

Clarkson, who is hosting the show, said she was asked to hold a moment of silence for the 10 victims who died Friday at Santa Fe High School, but chose instead to call for “a moment of action.”

Another touching moment during the show came when Shawn Mendes and Khalid were joined onstage by the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Show Choir  for the song “Youth.”

In February, 17 people were killed at the school in Parkland, Fla.

Mendes and the choir members wore sweaters that read “Youth,” while Khalid’s shirt read “Protect Our Guns Children” with “Guns” crossed out.

The mood wasn’t all somber at the show, as Ariana Grande and Maren Morris hit the stage with upbeat performances, while
Taylor Swift, Sam Hunt and Post Malone won awards.

Swift, who is on a sold-out tour, won top female artist and top selling album for “reputation.”

She said that before she created “reputation.” she “felt really misunderstood by a lot of people.”

“Thank you for making me feel understood again,” Swift told fans.

Luis Fonsi was passionate when he picked up top Hot 100 song for “Despacito,” the biggest hit of the last year which also included Daddy Yankee and Justin Bieber.

“Thank you, guys, so much for embracing a mostly Spanish song,” he said. “This goes out to my Latino brothers, the immigrants … to all of those when they say ‘Speak English,’ this goes out to you.”

Before presenting the award to Fonsi, the Chainsmokers and Halsey remembered Avicii, the DJ-producer who died last month at age 28.

The Chainsmokers also paid tribute to Avicii when the duo won top dance/electronic artist.

“We want to dedicate this award to Avicii,” said Andrew Taggart, adding that the Swedish musician “inspired all of us, influenced our music.”

“He will be missed,” Taggart said. “I hope you found peace.”

K-pop group BTS, who earned rousing and screeching applauses from fans each time the camera panned to them, won top social artist.

Kendrick Lamar, Bruno Mars and Ed Sheeran tied for the most nominations with 15 each.

They were up for the night’s biggest award–top artist–along with Swift and Drake.

Lamar won six awards including top rap artist and top 200 Billboard album for “DAMN,” which won him the Pulitzer Prize for music earlier this year.

List of winners in the top categories

Top Hot 100 song: “Despacito” by Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee featuring Justin Bieber
Top Billboard 200 album: “DAMN.” by Kendrick Lamar
Top artist: Ed Sheeran
Top new artist: Khalid
Top female artist: Taylor Swift
Top male artist: Ed Sheeran
Top streaming songs artist: Kendrick Lamar
Top song sales artist: Ed Sheeran
Top radio songs artist: Ed Sheeran
Top duo/group: Imagine Dragons
Top R&B artist: Bruno Mars
Top rap artist: Kendrick Lamar
Top country artist: Chris Stapleton
Top rock artist: Imagine Dragons
Top Latin artist: Ozuna
Top dance/electronic artist: The Chainsmokers
Top Christian artist: MercyMe
Top gospel artist: Tasha Cobbs Leonard
Top social artist: BTS
Top touring artist: U2
Chart achievement award: Camila Cabello
Icon award: Janet Jackson

TAGS: Billboard Music Awards, Janet Jackson, performance, rocks, speech
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