Best and Worst Moments at 2015 Billboard Music Awards
If you missed the 2015 Billboard Music Awards on Sunday (May 17), then you need to catch up on Jennifer Lopez's glamorous gown on the red carpet, Pharrell Williams' G I R L honor and Nicki Minaj taking on the night with David Guetta. But that was just a sampling of the celebration, which brought out the biggest and brightest stars across many genres.
Largely based on the charting-success of artists, songs and albums, the show is one of the biggest musical events of the year and always gets the people talking. This year was no different and featured its share of highlights, as well as a few lesser moments that had us shaking our heads. So if you didn't catch one of the many moments during show that turned into a Trending Topic on Twitter by chance, no need to worry because we've got you covered.
Check out the Best and Worst Moments at the 2015 Billboard Music Awards that made us smile, laugh, tear up or even cause a side-eye or two.
Best: 50 Cent and Rita Ora's Chemistry Onstage Heats Up
50 Cent is usually in control of his emotions and very calculated, but the rapper-turned-mogul was caught a bit off guard during the Billboard Music Awards. Tapped to present the award for Top Hot 100 song with Rita Ora, she managed to make one of the biggest gangster rap artists of all-time blush like a schoolboy after getting his first kiss by simply saying "Hi, Fiddy" in her seductive British accent. Despite quickly regaining his composure, all it took was that split second to translate into one of the best moments of the night. Their stage time together likely even got a rise out of 50 Cent himself, who may have made the situation even better afterward, if you know what we mean.
Best: Imagine Dragons Deliver Solid Ben E. King Tribute
One of the most endearing highlights of the awards show was also one of the most bittersweet. Imagine Dragons gave a tribute performance in honor of Ben E. King, who died earlier this month at the age of 76. The group chose to honor his legacy with his hit "Stand By Me." The solo breakdown by Imagine Dragons guitarist Wayne "Wing" Sermon is especially touching and brings to mind the superb artistry of the late soul singer. King's daughter and granddaughters looked on from the front row and sang along, as well as the other artists in attendance, as they paid homage to a true musical icon.
Worst: Iggy Azalea and Britney Spears' 'Pretty' Awful Performance
Iggy Azalea was a big winner at the Billboard Music Awards. The Aussie import took home an award for Top Rap Song, Top Streaming Artist and Top Rap Artist, in turn getting her fair share of air time, but she was also part of the most over-the-top performance of the night. We understand Britney Spears is attempting to make a comeback and who better to give the former pop princess a little bit of edge while still playing it safe than Iggy Azalea, but this stage show deserved a big thumbs down.
When you put together Britney's blatant lip-syncing, Iggy's ill-advised hairdo and what appeared to be a hipster-inspired sideshow, the end result is a disaster. The song may sound good in the studio but isn't the best look when brought on the grand stage.
Best: John Legend's 'All of Me' Wins Top Radio Song
Of all of Kanye West's greatest accomplishments, one that doesn't get spoken about enough is his discovery of R&B star John Legend. And a large part of that is due to the fact that the singer has managed to forge his own path in the industry and evolve into one of the most beloved stars across the board. Already critically acclaimed after his Common-assisted song "Glory" earned him an Oscar, Legend was recognized for his commercial success for his song, "All of Me," which won the award for Top Radio Song. He accepted his award and immediately thanked his wife, Chrissy Tiegen, who was hosting the ceremony along with Ludacris. "I was inspired to write this by a beautiful intelligent, dynamic woman and I'm so proud that we won this award together tonight," he said. Those words likely guaranteed himself a happy ending on his Vegas trip. Damn, it's so hard not to like a class act like John Legend.
Best: Billboard Meets 'Empire'
The awards show may be centered around established musicians that have already dominated in their genre, but an exception was made this time around and for good reason. Empire, an addicting hip-hopera, received some major shine with the help of Estelle. After being introduced by Taraji P. Henson, actors Jussie Smollet and Yazz performed songs from the Empire soundtrack.
Dressed in a red velvet suit, Smollet assisted Estelle with her True Romance track "Conqueror." The songstress, donning a navy dress, worked the stage like the veteran she is. Then Yazz appeared sporting a black sleeveless top and was backed by a bevy of attractive dancers as he performed the standout song "No Apologies." Smollett jumped in for an assist and displayed his promise as a performer. All three entertainers managed to make the most of this opportunity.
Worst: Nicki Minaj Receives Strange Shout Out From Van Halen's David Lee Roth
Iggy Azalea may have been the female rapper with the most nominations at the show, but Nicki Minaj got the most love at the Billboard Music Awards on Sunday. Tearing down the house alongside David Guetta with what was arguably the best all-around performance of the night, Nicki showed once again that she definitely has the juice and a reason to be cocky when she wants.
But having the juice often means a ton of thirst thrown your way, which is what happened earlier in the night during the performance of legendary rockers Van Halen. At the tail-end of their set, David Lee Roth, the band's leader, unexpectedly shouted out the MC that left us saying "WTF?" "I'm gonna reach down between my legs and I'm gonna get Nicki Minaj to help me ease my seat back," Roth said. While any warm-blooded male has probably fantasized about Nicki Minaj toying with their "Anaconda," the thought of her playing with anything on Roth's body is a bit off-putting to put it kindly.
Best: Kendrick Lamar Appears in Taylor Swift's 'Bad Blood' Video
The 2015 Billboard Music Awards kicked off with a world premiere courtesy of Taylor Swift, who just so happens to be the biggest pop star on the planet at this moment. A week prior to the awards show ceremony, she revealed a major surprise with the news that Kendrick Lamar would appear in the video for "Bad Blood" as a character named Welvin Da Great. But the most interesting tidbit that was left out was the fact that K. Dot would actually rap in the visual. When the kick-ass video debuted, he didn't have a quick eight-bar rhyme, but two verses, virtually making it a Kendrick Lamar song featuring Taylor Swift. Kanye West finally came around to embracing the talents of Swift and now Lamar is doing songs with her. Seems like the next thing we know she'll be announcing a baby by Drake and delve wholeheartedly into hip-hop culture.
Worst: Kanye West's Performance Was a Censor-Filled Nightmare
Many people in the hip-hop community tuned in to the Billboard Music Awards solely to see Kanye West perform. And after nearly three hours of waiting, it was Yeezy's time to close out the show and the Chicago deity immediately made all of the waiting worth it. West tore into his performance with extreme vigor, hitting his new track "All Day" at the jump. The only problem was, we could hardly hear a darn thing he was rapping nor could we really see him through all of the pyrotechnics onstage. Even though censorship is something rap artists are used to, this instance was a little over the top and made the performance more grating than enjoyable. While the fans were majorly disappointed and they didn't get the show they deserved, we think a good ol' Kanye West rant will more than make up for the letdown.
Best: Sam Smith Accepts Top Male Artist Award in Innovative Way
British crooner Sam Smith usually steals the show with his vocals, but this time he charmed the crowd without uttering a single word. Although the singer won the award for Top Male Artist, he couldn't be in attendance -- let alone speak -- due to recently having surgery on his vocal chords. But that didn't stop him from thanking his fans and management, which he did via handwritten signs during a video acceptance "speech" during the show. From telling Taylor Swift to "Put 100 on black for me :)" and marveling at the size of Nicki Minaj's "bum," Sam Smith definitely placed his stamp on the festivities, which made for one of the most humorous moments of the night.
Worst: J. Cole's Top Rap Album Win Doesn't Get Televised
Mainstream award shows have been giving hip-hop the cold shoulder with little sign of remorse for quite some time. Despite recent studies crowning hip-hop as the most influential genre, many of the bigwigs continue to slap the culture's supporters in the face by failing to place the art right alongside pop darlings like Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran when it comes to face time. This year was no different and let hip-hop heads cursing the Billboard Music Awards for giving the rap categories little to no shine on TV. J. Cole's 2014 Forest Hills Drive earned the Top Rap Album award, beating out projects from the likes of Drake, Nicki Minaj, Iggy Azalea and Eminem, but he was unable to bask in the glory with an acceptance speech in-person or by video for the world to see. Being the man he is, we doubt Cole would be the type to throw a hissy fit over the matter, but that's what we're here for.