R&B/hip-hop Lead Billboard Music Awards

R&B/hip-hop artists reigned supreme last night at the Billboard Music Awards, where Usher walked away the big winner with 11 trophies. Alicia Keys netted seven awards during the ceremony at Las Vegas’ MGM Grand Garden Arena, with OutKast grabbing five and Kanye West four.

Usher, who opened the Fox broadcast with a performance of “Bad Girl,” was named as the overall artist of the year, and took that honor in Billboard 200, Hot 100 and R&B/hip-hop categories. His Arista release “Confessions” was named The Billboard 200 and R&B/hip-hop album of the year, while his single “Yeah!” featuring Lil Jon and Ludacris was named the Hot 100 single of the year.

Introduced by Quincy Jones, Stevie Wonder was honored with Billboard’s highest honor, the Century Award, while Destiny’s Child was recognized with the special Artist Achievement Award, presented by the members of Earth, Wind & Fire.

Diana Ross paid tribute to Wonder, performing pieces of “My Cherie Amour,” “I Just Called To Say I Love You” and “For Once in My Life,” while Mary J. Blige turned out a rendition of “As” and Destiny’s Child contributed a version of “Livin’ for the City.”

The band vamped to the strains of “Higher Ground” as Wonder ascended the stage, hugging Jones and others, then surprised and delighted the packed arena by singing the chorus and prompting the band to pick up the beat again. “I

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