Wearing a sea foam green fur stole and shades, Rihanna wowed the 2016 Billboard Music Awards tonight (May 22) with a standout rendition of “Love on the Brain.”
The Barbadian singer seemed to savor the performance of the throwback lounge cut, drawing out high notes and swaying with emotion during the song’s chorus.
She drew uproarious applause and cheers from the audience as the stage lights signaled the song’s end, illuminating the artfully torn stage design surrounding her.
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Adele won the biggest honor of the evening, Top Artist, accepting in a pre-recorded video from overseas, while Justin Bieber (Top Male Artist) and Rihanna (the fan-voted Chart Achievement Award) also walked away happy. But this was a show defined by moments and performances, both celebratory and somber, throughout the evening.
Britney Spears kicked off proceedings with a medley of her hits that began with “Work Bitch,” “Womanizer” and “I Love Rock and Roll” — delivered while gyrating on a giant guitar — and culminated with “Toxic,” showcasing both her well-known hits (“I’m a Slave 4 U” was also included) and some deeper cuts. And Madonna’s tribute to Prince put an exclamation point on the evening — she began singing “Nothing Compares 2 U” on a purple throne and brought out Stevie Wonder to assist her on a powerful rendition of “Purple Rain” that had Rihanna dabbing and The Weeknd singing along.