The 2017 Billboard Music Awards wrapped up with a bang Sunday night as Drake took home the coveted Best Artist award — and called Nicki Minaj the “love of his life,” much to Twitter’s delight.
The star-studded night featured performances from Minaj, Miley Cyrus and the one-and-only Celine Dion, who stole the show with a rendition of her iconic “My Heart Will Go On.” The performance elicited a much-deserved standing ovation from the crowd — except for the notably absent Zayn Malik, who won Top New Artist but unexpectedly cancelled his appearance just hours before the show.
Hello! Drake has surpassed Adele’s record at the 2017 Billboard Music Awards on Sunday, picking up 13 awards. Adele set a record at the show in 2012 with 12 wins. The rapper/singer, who walked into the show Sunday with 22 nominations, won top artist, top male artist and top Billboard 200 album, among others, at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
“I got my whole family up here,” said Drake, who stood onstage with nearly two dozen people, including his father, Lil Wayne and Nicki Minaj. Drake was presented the top artist award by Prince Jackson, the late Michael Jackson’s eldest son. Drake beat out Beyonce, Justin Bieber, Rihanna, Adele, Ariana Grande, The Weeknd, twenty one pilots, Shawn Mendes, and The Chainsmokers for the top prize. Of those nominees, only Drake and The Chainsmokers attended the Billboard Awards. But other big names showed up. Cher, who received the Icon award, sang her dance anthem “Believe” in a glittery number that included pasties and blonde hair with pink tips. She later changed to a huge, curly black ‘do — and wore a black sheer bodysuit and leather jacket for “If I Could Turn Back Time.” Her performance had the audience on its feet, singing and dancing.
“I wanted to do what I do since I was 4 years old and I’ve been doing it for 53 years,” said Cher, who turned 71 on Saturday. “And I can do a five-minute plank. Just saying.”
Korean boy band BTS, who won top social artist, earned one of the night’s loudest ovations. John Legend and Florida Georgia Line also had a shining moment when they sang a duet version of the country duo’s soft hit, “H.O.L.Y.” Dan Reynolds of the rock band Imagine Dragons led a moment of silence for Chris Cornell, who died Thursday. He called the Soundgarden and Audioslave singer “a true innovator,” ”a musical architect,” ”a prolific songwriting” and “a legendary performer” — as a large photo of Cornell singing with his eyes closed was displayed behind him. “We send our respects as well as our love to Chris’ family at this time,” Reynolds said.