Billboard Music Awards 2016 Performance Reviews: Rihanna wins!

Rihanna Billboard 2016

Rihanna rules Billboard Music Awards with flawless vocals
Last night, Billboard handed out its Music Awards during an annual show full of performances by contemporary pop artists. This year, the line up was exceptionally strong with names like Britney Spears, Rihanna, Madonna, Stevie Wonder, Celine Dion, Kesha and Justin Bieber. Of course all of them gave it their all to be te talk of the town after the show finished, but Rihanna truly impressed with the best vocals we have ever heard from her.

Britney Spears, who went home with the Millennium Award, opened the show with a medley of some of her biggest hits and most popular album tracks. Although fans and entertainment platforms praised the performance by the Princess of Pop, who ran around in a revealing red bikini, it was heavily criticized as well for the fact she didn’t sing live (no surprise there really). Although some of the dance routines she did, were very much on point, half of the show she looked sort of helpless in the middle of her dancers. It was her first televised performance in forever and it could have been way worse, but still the spark of the Britney we knew before 2007, simply was not there.

Luckily there were some other performers who did sing live and excelled at it. Yes, we are talking about you Rihanna. The vocal abilities of RiRi have long been doubted, but last night she managed to shut down all her critics. Like a true soul diva, she sang the outstanding bluesy ballad ‘Love On The Brain’ from her most recent album Anti. It is a challenging tune to perform live but she gave it her everything and convinced the whole crowd. Who would have thought she had this soulful sound hidden somewhere!

Kesha also showed a different side of her musical abilities to the Billboard crowd. The pop star who is still in a legal battle with Sony Music and Dr. Luke, did get permission to perform in the end, and she did a vocally impressive ode to her hero Bob Dylan. She sang her heart out on ‘It Ain’t Me, Babe’ and her rendition tells us a lot about the musical direction Kesha herself wants to follow, if it wasn’t for Dr. Luke and his label preventing her from doing that.

Another vocal powerhouse performance was delivered by an emotional Celine Dion. She went through a lot in the past couple of months after both her husband and brother died, but she made clear tonight that ‘The Show Must Go On’, with a vocally flawless cover of the Queen classic, with help of violinist Lindsey Stirling. She received the Icon Award out of the hands of her son after the performance and gave an emotional speech. What a strong woman she is!

Ariana Grande performed her new single ‘Into You’, taken from her Dangerous Woman album and with a little help of a backing track she sounded flawless from start to finish. She looked stunning with the right amount of attitude. Demi Lovato started her ‘Cool For The Summer’ by over singing (girl, we know you can sing, no need to push it), but sounded great throughout the rest of the summer hit. Also, a big thumbs up for her equal rights for transgenders shirt! Both Nick Jonas and Tove Lo sounded a little insecure on the duet ‘Close’, but managed to deliver a decent performance. The same goes for Nick’s brother Joe who is the lead singer of the band DNCE. Their live rendition of ‘Cake By The Ocean’, wasn’t all that memorable, but not bad either. Justin Bieber sang a nice enough medley of his world wide hit ‘Sorry’ and the new single ‘Company’. Troye Sivan performed his hit ‘Youth’ on TV once more and cemented his status as one of the biggest revelations in pop music of the past year. Real life couple Blake Shelton and Gwen Stefani performed their duet ‘Go Ahead and Break My Heart’, but the country ballad fell a little flat in all its sugary sweetness.

Another act that did not truly convince was P!nk, who sang her soundtrack for the new Alice in Wonderland movie. She performed ‘Just Like Fire’ while flying through the building again and although it is great how she is able to sing so well during these acrobatic acts, she has done this a million times before and it starts to get old. Lukas Graham‘s ‘7 Years’ was once again emotional and vocally flawless, while Meghan Trainor did not manage to make her single ‘No’ any less annoying in a live setting.

Madonna and Stevie Wonder closed the show with a tribute to the recently deceased pop icon Prince. They performed ‘Nothing Compares To You’, made famous by Sinéad O’Connor and Prince most iconic track, ‘Purple Rain’. The performance was met with a lot of criticism online. Mainly Madonna’s vocals were a point of disucssion, but a lot of the comments seem a little harsh for a woman honouring a friend who just passed away. It was not the most interesting musical tribute, but definitely a moving performance.

Long story short, Rihanna came and slayed.

Watch the performances over here.


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