LAS VEGAS, NV (AP) – The Billboard Music Awards will feature a mix of emotional and explosive performances.
Madonna will pay tribute to Prince, who died last month; Kesha will now sing live Sunday after her performance was initially canceled by her former mentor; and Celine Dion – who recently lost her husband and brother – will perform Queen’s “The Show Must Go On.”
The show, airing live from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, will open with a 7-minute medley from Britney Spears, and other high energy performances from Justin Bieber, Pink and Rihanna will take place during the three-hour event.
“It’s going to be a big, huge show and it’s got something in there for everybody. It’s going to have a lot of fun, but it’s going to have a lot of emotion and heart this year,” executive producer Mark Bracco said.
Madonna was met with criticism online after Billboard and dick clark productions announced she would pay homage to Prince, who died on April 21 at age 57. The icons collaborated on “Love Song” in 1989. Kesha was also in the heat of drama after Dr. Luke rescinded his decision to let her perform at the show. The hitmaking producer and his record label reversed the decision after Kesha said she would not use the stage to discuss their ongoing lawsuit.
Kesha will sing a cover of Bob Dylan’s “It Ain’t Me Babe.” Other performers include Blake Shelton, Gwen Stefani, Ariana Grande, Meghan Trainor, the Go-Go’s, Nick Jonas, Demi Lovato, Tove Lo, Troye Sivan and Lukas Graham.
The Weeknd, who is attending the show, is the top nominee. He’s nominated for the night’s big prize – top artist – and his competition includes Adele, Taylor Swift, Bieber and Drake. Swift and Adele – who is premiering her new music video for “Send My Love (To Your New Lover)” at the awards show – won’t attend. It was unclear if Drake would attend.
Adele, Swift, Bieber and the Weeknd are also nominated for top Billboard 200 album, along with Ed Sheeran’s “x.” The Weeknd is a double nominee for top 100 song with “Can’t Feel My Face” and “The Hills.” His competition includes Adele’s “Hello,” Fetty Wap’s “Trap Queen” and Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth’s “See You Again.”
Ciara and Ludacris will host the 2016 Billboard Music Awards.
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