Expect the unexpected as comic Tracy Morgan hosts the 2013 Billboard Music Awards live from Las Vegas at the MGM Grand on Sunday, May 19, on ABC. The event promises to be a star-studded evening with performances by Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift, Bruno Mars, Pitbull, Nicki Minaj, Christina Aguilera, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, Selena Gomez, The Band Perry, Chris Brown, Ed Sheeran, Akon, Ne-Yo, David Guetta, Icona Pop, Kacey Musgraves, and critically acclaimed R&B stylist Miguel, who have all topped the Billboard 200 in the past year. The one-and-only Prince will be honored with the Billboard Icon Award and is set to deliver what will likely be an unforgettable performance during the broadcast, produced by Don Mischer. The “Purple Rain” singer-songwriter-musician follows the 2012 Icon recipient, Stevie Wonder, who received a multi-tiered tribute led by Alicia Keys.
In addition, Madonna will be honored with the Top Touring Artist award, an achievement earned by the worldwide success of her “MDNA” tour. The sold out 88-date run was 2012’s top-grossing tour with $305 million. It’s the pop icon’s latest chart landmark in a career full of them, including records for Hot 100 top 10 singles (38 of her overall 56 Hot 100 hits) and Dance Club Songs No. 1s (43). Madge’s “MDNA” album entered at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 — her eighth trip to the penthouse — with sales of 359,000.
Taylor Swift, fun. and Maroon 5 lead the finalists for the 2013 Billboard Music Awards. While all three artists are competing in a whopping 11 categories this year, Swift and Maroon 5 will also vie for the coveted Top Artist prize at this year’s ceremony. Swift is coming off of another blockbuster year in which her album “Red” notched the biggest debut sales week of any album in 2013, while Maroon 5 added more hits to its arsenal with songs like “Payphone,” “One More Night” and “Daylight.” fun., which scored its first No. 1 single with the anthem “We Are Young,” will contend in the Top Hot 100 Artist and Top Duo/Group categories, among others. After scoring 18 category appearances in 2011 and 13 more in 2012, “Diamonds” superstar Rihanna once again lands double-digit finalist slots by competing in 10 categories, including Top Artist. Meanwhile, Carly Rae Jepsen’s breakout year — marked by last year’s song of the summer, “Call Me Maybe” — landed the Canadian pop singer nominations in nine categories this year, including Top Hot 100 Song, Top Pop Song, Top Digital Song and Top Radio Song. And don’t forget about One Direction, which released two albums in the U.S. in 2012 and racked up eight spots as a finalist at the 2013 BBMAs. 1D will compete against Swift, Maroon 5, Rihanna and Justin Bieber for the Top Artist prize, and the boy band will square off against Jepsen, Gotye, PSY and the Lumineers for Top New Artist. The show will air live at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.