Adele swept the 2012 Billboard Music Awards, winning 12 of her 18 nominations, but you wouldn’t have ever guessed it if you tuned into the telecast. Last night’s live show, held at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas, wasn’t so much an awards ceremony as it was a tribute special sandwiched in between a teenybopper concert. To wit: only five of the 46 awards were handed out during the show, and there were 17—17!!—live performances.
Who actually won the awards? Following Adele’s massive cleanup of statues (which included Top Artist and Top Billboard 200 Album), LMFAO took home six awards, while Lil Wayne and Coldplay took home four each. Only one of Adele’s categories was featured during the telecast, presumably because she wasn’t in attendance and it would be pretty boring for presenters to accept awards on her behalf. She was bested by LMFAO for Top Hot 100 Song, though, which went to the club-ready duo’s “Party Rock Anthem.”
The music world lost several beloved artists this year—two in the last week alone—so the telecast was generous with its performance tributes. In addition to the highly anticipated Whitney Houston tribute, there was a performance honoring the Beastie Boys’ Adam “MCA” Yauch, who passed away earlier this month. The great ‘Queen of Disco’ Donna Summer and the Bee Gees’ Robin Gibb were both given rushed tributes, snuck into the already tight schedule of back-to-back performances.
As for the actual hosting of the show, Modern Family’s Ty Burrell and Julie Bowen were a particularly enjoyable surprise. Their onscreen chemistry translated to the stage, and they were actually, genuinely funny; “Who better to host than America’s whitest suburban pretend couple?” Burrell asked the audience.
How did the rest of the show fare? We take a look at some of the best and worst moments from last night’s show.