Wednesday, December 6, 2006


Mary J. Blige won big at this year's Billboard Music Awards as her chart-topping comeback album "The Breakthrough" landed the R&B diva a leading nine honors.

Among the awards the 35-year-old singer claimed Monday night were R&B/Hip-Hop artist of the year, female R&B artist of the year and R&B/Hip-Hop album of the year.
"The Breakthrough" shot to No. 1 after it debuted on the Billboard charts in December 2005 and has sold 2.6 million copies since.

Chris Brown, a 17-year-old r/b singer who calls his music "Hip-Hop with a swagger," won new artist of the year, male of artist of the year and artist of the year awards.

Newcomers Rihanna and idol-turned-country star Carrie Underwood also walked away with high honors.The 18-year-old from Barbados edged out Blige and Beyonce for the top songstress honor.

The telecast did not, however, feature Tinseltown's duo du jour — heiress Paris Hilton and mom-gone-wild, Britney Spears. After their recent binge of late-night partying, it was reported that the new best friends would be co-hosting the show. But neither appeared and the show went on without a host, a lineup of presenters filling in to move things along.

Atlanta rapper T.I. took home rap artist of the year and rap album of the year for his fourth solo album, "King," which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard albums chart in March.

Canadian rockers Nickelback's "All the Right Reasons," won rock album of the year and artist-duo/group of the year. The band closed the show jamming to "Looking for some Touch," with Kid Rock and ZZ Top.

Crooner Tony Bennett was honored with the Billboard Century Award, a lifetime achievement award.

The Billboard Awards are given to 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.

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