The Weeknd wins 8 Billboard awards, Celine Dion gives emotional speech

The Weeknd and Justin Bieber took home Billboard music awards while an emotional Celine Dion received a lifetime achievement award presented by her son.

Canadians including winner Justin Bieber and Shawn Mendes rock stage with electrifying performances

The Weekend won Billboard awards for Top Songs Sales Artist award, Top Radio Song award for Can't Feel My Face, Top Hot 100 Artist award, Top Radio Songs Artist award, Top Streaming Song (Audio) award for The Hills, Top R&B Artist award, and Top R&B Song award for The Hills. (David Becker/Getty Images)

The Canadian presence was fierce at the 2016 Billboard Music Awards, with The Weeknd, Justin Bieber and Drake winning trophies while Céline Dion took home a lifetime achievement award.

The Weeknd, who's real name is Abel Tesfaye, won eight awards, more than any male artist in the last decade.

The sweep included Top R&B song for The Hills, Top Hot 100 Artist and Top R&B album for Beauty Behind the Madness.

The pop star from Toronto dedicated one of his wins to Prince, who died last month, saying the late artist will still help him "push the envelope."
Toronto's The Weeknd accepts the Top Hot 100 Artist award onstage during the 2016 Billboard Music Awards Sunday. ( Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

"I love him so much. I didn't know him, but he was so close to me. He will always be an inspiration."

Bieber, who performed the songs Company and Sorry from his latest album Purpose, took the award for Top Male Artist and thanked his family and those who "believe" in him.
Justin Bieber performed Company and Sorry before winning Top Male Artist. (Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Bieber and The Weeknd lead a strong contingent from Canada, which included a Top Rap Artist award for Drake and a nomination for Here by R&B songstress Alessia Cara.

The awards are based on sales, downloads, streaming, touring, radio airplay and chart performance.

'The Show Must Go On'

Céline Dion, who's husband Réne Angélil died in January, performed Queen's The Show Must Go On beautifully before receiving a lifetime achievement award presented by her son, René-Charles.
Celine Dion accepts the Billboard Icon-Award from her son and gives an emotional speech after performing Queen's The Show Must Go On. (Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

"I want to be so strong for my family and my kids," she said with tears in her eyes. "I don't want to cry in front of you."

Dion thanked her supportive fans and at the end of her speech, said she believed her late husband "will continue to watch over me from up above."

"René, this one's for you," she said, also speaking in French. "The show must go on."

Electrifying performances

Toronto-born Shawn Mendes, who took the stage after The Weeknd's first win, did an acoustic version of his song Stitches with strong vocals while playing both the guitar and piano during the performance.
Canadian Shawn Mendes performs an acoustic rendition of his song Stitches, playing guitar and piano. ( Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Britney Spears opened the show with a lip-synced medley of her hits, including I'm a Slave 4 U and Womanizer.
Britney Spears opened the awards with a high-energy medley of her hits. ( Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
Another highly-anticipated performance came from Kesha, whose record label had refused to let her perform before eventually giving in under the condition she not mention her ongoing legal battle with them while on stage.
Kesha performed a rendition of Bob Dylan's It Ain't Me Babe after a controversial battle with her record label to take the stage. (Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Kesha got a standing ovation after singing a rendition of Bob Dylan's It Ain't Me Babe.

Madonna, Stevie Wonder honour Prince

Madonna, dressed in a metallic purple suit and holding a cane, sang one song in her tribute to Prince, Nothing Compares 2 U, before bringing out surprise guest Stevie Wonder.
Stevie Wonder joined Madonna for a tribute to the late musician Prince. (Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Together, they had the audience on their feet singing along to Purple Rain, which closed the evening.

Who else took the stage at Sunday's Billboard Music Awards? Check out the star-studded photo gallery below to find out.


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