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December 15, 2017

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2013 Billboard Music Awards preview: Prince, Madonna, Bieber and Swift at MGM Grand


Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

Madonna performs at MGM Grand Garden Arena on Saturday, Oct. 13, 2012.

Justin Bieber at MGM Grand Garden Arena

Justin Bieber performs at MGM Grand Garden Arena on Sunday, Sept. 30, 2012. Launch slideshow »

Madonna's MDNA Concert at MGM Grand

Madonna performs at MGM Grand Garden Arena on Saturday, Oct. 13, 2012. Launch slideshow »

It’s a network TV war of music stars this weekend and Las Vegas is the site of the battle, with Prince and Madonna leading the charge at the 2013 Billboard Music Awards at MGM Grand Garden Arena on Sunday. As we posted earlier today, Tim McGraw has a host of country kings and queens for his “Tim McGraw’s Superstar Summer Night” special on CBS.

Directly opposite it on ABC, the big guns of pop will fire at the BBMAs, with Justin Bieber and Taylor Swift on the list (Taylor, in fact, is part of Tim’s special, too). Before I report all the superstar performances, let’s take a look at the presenters led by our Caesars Palace headliners Celine Dion and Shania Twain.

Kid Rock, who is here for Tiger Woods’ weekend activities for Tiger Jam, also will present an award, as will CeeLo Green, Miley Cyrus, Kelly Rowland, Psy, Carly Rae Jepsen, Ke$ha, Jennifer Nettles, Sky Blu of LMFAO, Alanis Morrisette, Wiz Khalifa and Florida Georgia Line. We’ll post my exclusive interview from Wednesday with Shania Twain on Monday, but she did tell me that she’ll be presenting the Rap Artist Award(!).

“I love rap,” she confided. “You will catch me singing like that around the house. I love those artists, what they create and the lyrics of urban poetry.” Hollywood will be represented by Hayden Panettiere (“Nashville”), Chloe Grace Moretz (“Dark Shadows”), Alyssa Milano (“Mistresses”), Jennifer Morrison (“Once Upon a Time”), Gabriel Mann (“Revenge”), Stana Katic (“Castle”) and Emmy Rossum (“Shameless”).

Prince will be onstage to perform and accept the Billboard Icon Award, and Madonna will receive the Top Touring Artist Award for her MDNA tour. Other performers: Taylor, Justin, Lil Wayne, Nicki Minaj, Bruno Mars, Miguel, Pitbull, Christina Aguilera, Selena Gomez, The Band Perry, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Chris Brown, Ed Sheeran, Akon, Ne-Yo, David Guetta and Icona Pop.

It would be so ironic if Taylor, The Band Perry and our Las Vegas R&B star Ne-Yo were actually competing with their own appearances simultaneously on the taped “Superstar Summer Night.”

Taylor and Maroon 5 top the finalists at the awards, with each included in 11 categories. Rihanna competes in 10 categories, including Top Artist against Taylor, Maroon 5, Justin Bieber and One Direction, while a pair of younger artists — Carly Rae Jepsen and One Direction — are finalists in nine and eight categories, respectively.

The BBMAs will be hosted by comedy actor Tracy Morgan of “30 Rock” fame. Las Vegas DJ residents David Guetta, Calvin Harris, Deadmau5 and Skrillex are all nominated in the EDM category.

I’ll be backstage Sunday reporting via Twitter @robin_leach. We’ll have video and photo coverage from the red carpet and will post a photo gallery Sunday evening and then wrap up the entire superstar night Monday.

Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.

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