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Britney lip syncs Billboard performance

Associated Press 23/05/2016

Britney Spears kicked off the 2016 Billboard Music Awards - clearly lip syncing - with a performance that featured several of her hits and some of her signature dance moves.

Spears performed songs like I'm a Slave 4 U and Toxic in a shimmery red number, removing her jacket to reveal her toned body. She walked from stage to stage, grinding on top of a large guitar during I Love Rock N Roll at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Ciara and Ludacris are hosting the show, and the rapper opened the show by poking fun at the recent Academy Awards, which featured all-white acting nominees.

"Unlike the Oscars we actually have black nominees," Ludacris said to laughs.

The first award of the night - for top hot 100 artist - went to The Weeknd, the night's top nominee.

"I wanna dedicate this award to the late, great Prince," he said after accepting the award. "I love him so much. I didn't know him, but he was so close to me. He will always be an inspiration."

Though Spears' performance was full of energy, the three-hour show will feature emotional performances, too.

Madonna will pay tribute to Prince, who died last month; Kesha will now sing live Sunday after her performance was initially canceled by her former mentor; and Celine Dion - who recently lost her husband and brother - will perform Queen's The Show Must Go On.

Madonna was met with criticism online after Billboard and dick clark productions announced she would pay homage to Prince, who died on April 21 at age 57. The icons collaborated on Love Song in 1989.

Kesha was also in the heat of drama after Dr. Luke rescinded his decision to let her perform at the show. The hitmaking producer and his record label reversed the decision after Kesha said she would not use the stage to discuss their ongoing lawsuit.

Kesha will sing a cover of Bob Dylan's It Ain't Me Babe. Other performers include Rihanna, Fifth Harmony, Blake Shelton, Gwen Stefani, Ariana Grande, Meghan Trainor, the Go-Go's, Nick Jonas, Demi Lovato, Tove Lo, Troye Sivan and Lukas Graham.

The Weeknd is nominated for the night's big prize - top artist - and his competition includes Adele, Taylor Swift, Bieber and Drake. Swift and Adele - who is premiering her new music video for Send My Love (To Your New Lover) at the awards show - won't attend.

Adele, Swift, Bieber and the Weeknd are also nominated for top Billboard 200 album, along with Ed Sheeran's X. The Weeknd is a double nominee for top hot 100 song with Can't Feel My Face and The Hills. His competition includes Adele's Hello, Fetty Wap's Trap Queen and Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth's See You Again.

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