Thu | Jul 19, 2018

Dion back on screen after double tragedy

Published:Tuesday | May 24, 2016 | 12:00 AM
Celine Dion performs 'The Show Must Go On' at the Billboard Music Awards at the T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas, on Sunday.

Celine Dion's first television appearance since her husband, RenÈ Angelil, and her brother, Daniel Dion, died in January was among the most anticipated moments at Sunday's Billboard Music Awards at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, USA.

The international star turned her tragedy into a triumphant display of strength and resilience as she performed Queen's The Show Must Go On. Backed by an orchestra and talented violinist Lindsey Stirling, Dion raised her hands to the sky and even did a little hip shake.

After accepting the Billboard Icon Award, Dion was surprised by her son and apologised for crying, which no one would fault her for. She thanked her legions of fans for being with her through good times and bad and dedicated the award to her late husband, who she said will "continue to watch over me from up above".

Billboard took some criticism when Madonna was chosen to pay tribute to the late great Prince, but together with Stevie Wonder, her heartfelt performance to the musical icon, who died on April 21 at age 57, was touching.

After being introduced by Roots leader Questlove who skilfully articulated the impact of the musical genius, the tribute started with a recording of Prince's Let's Go Crazy, as all the lights in the venue turned purple.

Madonna appeared seated on a purple velvet throne in a lacy glittery suit with a cane and sang a tender version of Nothing Compares 2 U, as images of Prince played on a screen behind her.

Stevie Wonder joined her in a rousing Purple Rain duet. It became a crowd singalong with artistes like Rihanna singing and dancing as the arena lit up with thousands of purple wristbands.




But not everyone was as touched. The tribute received some negative feedback from fans on social media, and BET stoked the fire: Soon after the show ended, the network responded on Twitter with a video promoting their own upcoming Prince tribute at the BET Awards. The response said, "Yeah, we saw that. Don't worry. We Got You."

Questlove later took to Twitter to defend the tribute.

Britney Spears' opening medley of her nearly two decades of hits started off stiff, but by the end of the performance, she finally warmed up.

The singer, who received the Billboard Millennium Award, came out of the smoke joined by more than a dozen dancers and quickly disrobed into a red bikini. But her robotic dancing and lip-syncing made the performance feel like an unemotional overview of her Las Vegas show.

However, after straddling a giant guitar for a cover of I Love Rock n' Roll she finally loosened up. She danced and gyrated across multiple stages to the soundtrack of her greatest hits, such as Slave for U and Toxic.