The Latest: Taylor Swift kicks off Billboard awards


LAS VEGAS (AP) — The Latest on the 2019 Billboard Music Awards being presented Wednesday at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas (all times local):

8 p.m.

Dancer and singer Paula Abdul has brought out her tap shoes to close out the Billboard Music Awards with a performance of songs from her debut 1988 album “Forever Your Girl.”

Starting with her tap performance from “Straight Up,” she strolled through her hits “The Way that You Love Me,” ”Cold Hearted” and even brought out the dancing cartoon cat from her music video for “Opposites Attract.”

Abdul proved she still has the moves, leading host Kelly Clarkson to declare “that was insane.”

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7:50 p.m.

Drake is giving thanks to his mom for driving him to all his music lessons and acting jobs after winning the Billboard Top Artist award.

He says she was always there to take him to piano classes, hockey games and even to “Degrassi,” the Canadian teen drama that launched his career.

He said no matter how long it took for him to figure out what he wanted to do, she was always there to give him a ride.

Drake had a big night, winning three awards during Wednesday’s telecast and became the winningest artist in the awards show history.


7:40 p.m.

Pop singer Halsey kept up with impressive choreography by K-pop boy band BTS for their performance of “Boy With Luv” at the Billboard Music Awards.

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The passionate BTS army of fans treated the performance at the MGM Grand Arena like the biggest of the night as the global superstars shimmied and danced across the stage to ear-piercing screams.

The song, which is primarily sung in Korean, broke a record for most views in the first 24 hours on YouTube.


7:08 p.m.

Pop star Mariah Carey has demonstrated her icon status at the Billboard Music Awards with a medley of her hits across the decades and showed off her five-octave range.

Covering hits like “Always Be My Baby,” ”Emotions,” ”We Belong Together,” and “Hero,” fans at the MGM Grand Arena waved their arms in the air and sang along with the global star, who accepted the ceremony’s Icon Award.

Dabbing her eyes with tissue, she shouted out to her children in the crowd. She acknowledged both her mistakes and the memes she inspired, but said the fans carried her through the highs and lows.

She accepted the award from presenter Jennifer Hudson.


6:35 p.m.

Madonna has brought virtual versions of herself to the Billboard Music Awards as she performed with Colombian singer Maluma.

The two singers danced together in real life to the Latin-flavored collaboration, but also with holograms of Madonna in different outfits for a performance of their song “Medellin.”

The song is from Madonna’s 14th album “Madame X,” out June 14.


6:04 p.m.

The Jonas Brothers have reunited at the Billboard Music Awards after a nearly six-year break by celebrating their solo work and their new single together.

Nick Jonas kicked off their performance with his solo song “Jealous” and was joined by his brother Joe for a version of DNCE’s “Cake By the Ocean.” Brother Kevin came out for a fiery performance of their new single “Sucker.”

The trio, who also just announced a new tour, had the crowd on their feet dancing and screaming along, including “Game of Thrones” star Sophie Turner, who is engaged to Joe Jonas.


5:45 p.m.

Drake has won Billboard’s Top 200 Album for his chart-topping album “Scorpion,” at the Billboard Music Awards and in the process gave a shout out to a heroic “Game of Thrones” character in his acceptance speech.

The rapper said he always dreamed of doing a double album, which featured hit singles “God’s Plan” and “Nice for What,” but said he will never do it again.

As a parting comment, he applauded “Thrones” character Arya Stark for “putting in that work,” but kept from spoiling the show for those who haven’t seen the latest episode.


5 p.m.

Taylor Swift has kicked off the start of her next musical era with a pastel-colored performance of her new upbeat single “ME!” at the Billboard Music Awards.

The pop star was joined by Brendon Urie of Panic! at the Disco, who dropped in from above, along with aerialists hanging from umbrellas, drummers and dancers during the song’s debut at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.

Swift, a 23-time Billboard Award winner, could continue her run as the most decorated winner in the show’s history.


8:50 a.m.

Taylor Swift is set to kick off the Billboard Music Awards with the debut performance of her new song “ME!” and she could continue her run as the most decorated winner in the show’s history.

Swift, a 23-time Billboard Award winner, will open Wednesday’s show in Las Vegas alongside Brendon Urie of Panic! at the Disco. Swift is also nominated for top female artist and top touring artist.

Cardi B is the leading nominee with 21 and will attend. She will compete for top artist along with Drake — who will also attend — Post Malone, Ariana Grande and Travis Scott.

Kelly Clarkson will host and perform at the show, airing live on NBC at 8 p.m. Eastern. Other performers include Madonna, Maluma, BTS, Paula Abdul, and Mariah Carey.



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