Beyonce, R. Kelly among top winners at Billboard Awards
Thursday, December 11th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6
LAS VEGAS (AP) _ Sultry singer Beyonce and crooner R. Kelly each took home four awards from the 2003 Billboard Music Awards.
Beyonce, who appeared at the ceremony Wednesday in a sequined Versace dress, won new female artist of the year, new R&B artist, Hot 100 female artist and a special Hot 100 award for most weeks at No. 1.
The Destiny's Child frontwoman, who went solo this year with her album ``Dangerously in Love,'' told reporters before the show that she was nervous about the possibility of making an acceptance speech.
``I don't know what to say. I completely blank out,'' she said.
In the end, she told the crowd after winning the Hot 100 female artist award: ``This is amazing. This has been an incredible year.''
R. Kelly, whose album ``Chocolate Factory'' sold more than two million copies despite a looming child pornography case against him, was the night's other big winner. He took home awards for Hot 100 producer, R&B producer, Hot 100 songwriter and R&B songwriter _ and closed the show with a flamboyant performance that had him riding down the aisle in a horse-drawn chariot.
No Doubt opened the nationally televised show, hosted by Ryan Seacrest of ``American Idol,'' with a performance of their hit single ``It's My Life.''
Singers Nick Lachey and Jessica Simpson, featured on the MTV reality show ``Newlyweds,'' presented the first award for duo/group of the year to 3 Doors Down. Simpson _ now famous for her dippy blonde moments on the show _ turned to her husband and said, ``Don't say anything dipsy or stupid. I keep telling myself the sex is worth it.''
Triumph the Insult Comic Dog provided additional comic relief, saying he and Michael Jackson had a lot in common: ``We're both partly made of rubber.''
Rapper 50 Cent had a leading six nominations heading into the show at the MGM Grand hotel-casino. By the end of the night, he won three awards _ for top artist, R&B artist and rap artist.
Stevie Wonder presented Sting with the Century Award for creative achievement. The Grammy Award-winning singer has sold 100 million albums and singles with The Police and as a solo artist.
But Sting said album sales didn't matter: ``If you play music with passion and love and honesty, then it will nourish your soul, heal your wounds and make your life worth living.''
For the first time, the Billboard Awards recognized the sales of legally downloaded music tracks, honoring ``Hey Ya!'' by OutKast as the digital track of the year.
The Billboard Awards honor the year's chart-topping artists. Winners are determined by the magazine's year-end chart listings, which are based on record sales and airplay.