British Ed Sheeran led the Billboard Awards with six awards, including the main award of the night, artist of the year, in a ceremony where rapper Kendrick Lamar won six other awards, including Luis Fonsi’s "Despacito".
Sheeran, who performed during the gala from Ireland, also won the awards for best male artist, Top Hot 100 Artist, top song sales artist and lead artist on radio songs.
Lamar took home the trophies to the Top Album 200, best rap album ("Damn") and best rap artist, among others, while Bruno Mars, of Puerto Rican origin, added five prizes in the R&B categories, including the best song ("That's What I Like"), best artist and best album ("24K Magic").
Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee’s smash hit “Despacito", featuring Justin Bieber, won the award for the best Latin song. Fonsi also won the trophies for Top 100 song, the top selling song and the most played song.
"Thank you guys, so much for embracing a mostly Spanish song, thank you for dancing to it, singing to it and learning it, this is for my Latino brothers, for immigrants, for Puerto Rico and for those who laugh at those we speak in Spanish," Fonsi said from the stage of the MGM Grand Arena, in Las Vegas (Nevada).
It was an allusion to lawyer Aaron Schlossberg, of New York, who became popular by a video in which he criticized the employees of a restaurant for speaking in that language.
Also, Puerto Rican artist Ozuna won the statuettes for the best Latin artist and the best Latin album ("Odisea").
The event, mostly dedicated to musical performances, chose to announce almost all the winners moments before the show began, and reserved a few categories for the live gala.
Awards were announced such as top new artist (Khalid), top female artist (Taylor Swift), top dance/electronic album (The chainsmokers), top social group (BTS), best rap song (Post Malone), top selling album (Taylor Swift, for "Reputation"), top country song (Sam Hunt, for "Body Like a Back Road") and chart achievement award, for Cuban Camila Cabello.
The most outstanding moment came from the hand of Janet Jackson, recipient of the Icon award. The artist, the first black woman to receive this award, performed some of her greatest hits and gave a speech where she mentioned the Me Too movement.
"I believe that for all our challenges we live at a glorious moment in history; we will no longer be controlled, manipulated or abused. I stand with those women," she said.
The gala, which lasted three hours, featured the performances of Ariana Grande, Kelly Clarkson, Dua Lipa, Shawn Mendes, Normani and Khalid, John Legend, Christina Aguilera and Demi Lovato, Ed Sheeran and Jennifer Lopez, who performed their new single, "Dinero".
Also sang Maren Morris, Macklemore and Kesha, Camila Cabello, the South Korean band BTS, Salt-N-Pepa and Shawn Mendes performed; the latter chose to go on stage with the school choir Marjory Stoneman Douglas (scene of a shooting in February) in an allegation against violence by firearms.
There were a lot of speeches during the ceremony.
In fact, Clarkson, the host of the event, opened the gala with a speech about the recent shooting occurring at a school in Santa Fe (Texas), and asked viewers to, instead of remembering the victims with a moment of silence, carry out "a moment of action".
"I’m a Texas girl and my home state has had so much heartbreak over the past year and once again y’all we’re grieving for more kids that have died for an absolute no reason at all. They wanted me to do a moment of silence and I’m so sick of moment of silence,” said the popular artist.
At least 10 people died and another 13 were injured after a gunman opened fire at Santa Fe Texas School, becoming the 22nd school shooting in the US in 2018.
The Billboard Awards recognize the most successful artists of the year in the US based on album sales, singles, radio broadcasts, tours and use of social networks.