Usher, Britney Highlight Billboard Awards
The Grammys may have given Kanye West the advantage with a leading 10 nominations this week, but on Wednesday night the 2004 Billboard Music Awards were dominated by Usher, who racked up 11 wins.
These include artist of the year and R&B/hip-hop album of the year for his blockbuster Confessions and Hot 100 single of the year for "Yeah!" featuring Lil Jon and Ludacris. Last month, Usher (real name: Usher Raymond), 26, swept the American Music Awards and the MTV Europe Awards. He is now in the running for eight Grammys.
"It's been about 10 years since we started, and we knew this would happen," Usher said at the ceremony, according to Reuters. "We don't put out a record without a number one record, do we?"
Also notable about the show was the first public appearance by Britney Spears since she married Kevin Federline in September. The newlywed, wearing a tight-fitting mini-dress, presented West his rap artist of the year award and drew cheers from the crowd – which is more than can be said of Ashlee Simpson, whose reception was mixed.
Simpson, named female new artist of the year, was cheered as well as jeered. She concluded her acceptance speech saying that if people ever feel nervous they can do a "Texas jig," referring to her impromptu dance during an October appearance on Saturday Night Live, when it became clear she had been lip-synching.
Other winners included Alicia Keys, whose seven awards included those for female artist of the year, R&B/hip-hop single of the year ("If I Ain't Got You") and Hot 100 songwriter of the year. All told, West picked up four awards, including rap artist of the year, while 50 Cent took home a new award, ringtone of the year, for the dance hit "In Da Club."
Stevie Wonder received the century award, and Destiny's Child, the artist achievement award.
Winners of the Billboard Awards, which were broadcast from Las Vegas on FOX and hosted by Ryan Seacrest, are determined by the music trade publication's year-end chart listings, which in turn are based on record sales and airplay.
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