The Weeknd takes top prize at the Billboard Music Awards

Drake, P!nk and Pop Smoke were among the stars honoured during the ceremony.
The Weeknd takes top prize at the Billboard Music Awards

Keiran Southern, PA Los Angeles Correspondent

The Weeknd claimed the biggest prize of the night at the Billboard Music Awards as he was named top artist.

The ceremony, which celebrates chart success, took place at the Microsoft Theatre in Los Angeles and was hosted by Nick Jonas.

Canadian R&B star The Weeknd was honoured with 10 awards for his chart-topping album After Hours and single Blinding Lights.

As well as top artist, The Weeknd, whose real name is Abel Tesfaye, also won prizes including top Hot 100 song, top Hot 100 artist and top male artist.

Accepting the ceremony’s biggest prize, which he won over Drake, Juice Wrld, Pop Smoke and Taylor Swift, The Weeknd delivered a brief speech for the masked, in-person audience and said: “I do not take this for granted. Thank you.”

Success at the Billboard Music Awards followed a surprise snub at the Grammys for The Weeknd, who did not receive a single nomination at that ceremony.

Late rapper Pop Smoke won top Billboard 200 album for his debut effort Shoot For The Stars, Aim For The Moon.

He was shot and killed in Los Angeles last year aged 20. Pop Smoke’s mother, Audrey Jackson, accepted the award on his behalf and paid tribute to a “warrior”.

2021 Billboard Music Awards
Audrey Jackson, the mother of the late rapper Pop Smoke, accepts the top billboard 200 album award for Shoot For The Stars, Aim For The Moon on his behalf  (Chris Pizzello/AP)

K-pop group BTS won top-selling song for Dynamite, Bad Bunny was named top Latin artist and DaBaby took home the prize for top rap song for Rockstar, his collaboration with Roddy Ricch.

Machine Gun Kelly was named top rock artist and kissed actress girlfriend Megan Fox before accepting the honour.

Some of the industry’s biggest names performed with a mix of live and pre-recorded segments.

Alicia Keys, H.E.R., Migos, Duran Duran and The Weeknd all appeared, while BTS performed from Seoul.

The Jonas Brothers closed the show with a performance of their songs Leave Before You Love Me, Sucker and Only Human.

Drake was joined by three-year-old son Adonis as he was named artist of the decade.

The Canadian superstar was recognised for his remarkable chart dominance since 2010, including nine number one albums in the US and six number one singles.

His parents and friends were on stage while a video looking the 34-year-old’s career so far was played.

“I’m really bad at taking compliments,” Drake, wearing a light-coloured three-piece suit, told the audience.

2021 Billboard Music Awards
Drake was joined on stage by son Adonis at the Billboard Music Awards (Chris Pizzello/AP)

“I’m really self-conscious about my music and even if I do a good job I always wonder how I could have done it better.

“I rarely celebrate anything and just for anyone watching this wondering how this happened, that’s really the answer – it’s being so unsure of how you’re getting it done you kind of keep going in the hopes of figuring out the formula.

“Feeling so lucky and blessed that the fear of losing it keeps you up at night.”

Drake added: “I know I’ve spent an incalculable amount of hours trying to analyse all the things I did wrong,  but tonight for once I’m sure as hell we did something right.”

He dedicated the award to his friends, family, collaborators, peers and Adonis, who was crying.

Pop star P!nk performed a medley of her biggest hits as she accepted the Billboard icon award.

2021 Billboard Music Awards
Icon award recipient Pink performed with her daughter Willow Sage at the Billboard Music Awards (Chris Pizzello/AP)

The US singer, 41, took to the stage with daughter Willow Sage, nine, and performed aerial acrobatics to their song Cover Me In Sunshine.

She ended the performance with three of her biggest songs – Who Knew, Just Like A Pill and Just Give Me A Reason.

Accepting the award, P!nk said: “I love what I do and I love the people I get to do it with. And we’re pretty good at what we do but it wouldn’t matter if no-one came to see us and play with us, so all you guys out there and around the world, thank you for coming out, thank you for letting us all heal together, I cannot wait until we can do it again, until we can just sweat all over each other.

“This is an absolute honour – dream big, because what if it comes true?”

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