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Drake No Time for Billboard Music Awards ... I'm Golfing with the Homies

5/23/2016 11:27 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

Drake blew off the Billboard Music Awards, even though he was in Las Vegas ... and opted instead for a few rounds of golf with his friends.

Actually, it was golf with a tech spin -- at the brand new Topgolf in Vegas. We got this video of Drake and his pal, Jas Prince, teeing off Sunday night ... just a few blocks away from T-Mobile Arena ... where the award show was going down.

It's bizarre ... Drizzy was up for 11 BMAs ... and won for Top Rap Artist -- but for some reason he obviously wasn't feeling it.

On the other hand, both guys take decent strokes -- at least in this video. Y'know how golf goes.

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Ciara Half-Off Special

5/23/2016 6:45 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

0523-ciara-billboard-pricetag-shoe-GETTY-01Ciara chic is awesome ... a blend of a sexy physique, amazing threads and super expensive shoes, which is evident from the price tag.

We're guessing this isn't a humble brag ... just an oversight.

Oops. 

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Celine Dion Shocked by 'Package' at BMAs

5/23/2016 8:42 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Exclusive Details

0523-celine-dion-and-son-billboard-awards-GETTY-01Celine Dion had no clue her 15-year-old son would be presenting her ICON Award at the Billboard Music Awards ... even though producers talked about it right in front of her.   

That's because they used a code word for Rene-Charles during rehearsals. Our production sources tell us Celine's son was referred to as "the package" all weekend. This was the first time he had been to one of his mother's award shows ... which added to the surprise for Celine, we're told. 

For keeping the secret, the teenager scored an awesome reward -- a backstage pic with Rihanna.

Oh, and Mom was really happy. That was good too.  

What a night! #billboards2016

A photo posted by Rene Charles Angelil (@pavdarawse) on

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Madonna & Stevie Wonder Makin' It 'Purple Rain'

5/22/2016 8:17 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

Madonna just paid respect to the Purple One in epic fashion ... bringing out Stevie Wonder for a duet of Prince's famous track.

With the Billboard Music Awards dripping in purple ... Madge and Stevie would've made him proud.

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Kesha 'Statement' Act Set For Billboard Music Awards

5/11/2016 12:40 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

0510-kesha-tmz-01Kesha is prepping for a "statement performance" at the Billboard Music Awards and Dr. Luke will be the prime focus ... TMZ has learned.  

Sources close to Kesha tell us the singer is gearing up for a marquee performance during the live May 22 show on ABC from Las Vegas. We're told she's planning to make direct references to her ongoing legal battle with Dr. Luke ... and might even include images of him. 

She might have already given us a taste of what's to come after a not-so-subtle reference to the Sony producer when she covered Lady Gaga's "Til It Happens To You" last week.

Considering she's going to have a network TV audience ... it's a bold move, and one you know Dr. Luke will be watching closely.  

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Kanye West I Didn't Curse THAT Much! Billboard Unfairly Censored Me

5/19/2015 3:35 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

0519_kanye_west_performing_getty3_no-arrowKanye West is pissed off at the Billboard Awards for heavily censoring his performance of "All Day" and "Black Skinhead" because he says they cut his audio even when he wasn't dropping profanities. 

Kanye's mostly-silenced closing act was the talk of the award show -- but sources close to the rapper tell us producers knew when he was going to curse because he gave them the lyrics exactly as he performed them ... and yet they yanked his audio for up to 15 seconds at a time. 

Our sources point out that during "Black Skinhead" a lot of clean lyrics were censored. For instance, the lines -- "My leather black jeans on" ... and "Middle America" were dropped. In other cases, it appears the censor had an itchy trigger finger, and pulled the audio several seconds early.

As we reported ... Kanye did not attend final rehearsal -- but we're told that's because doctors had him on vocal rest. He even needed a cortisone shot over the weekend. Still, he did 2 rehearsals in L.A. earlier in the week for Billboard.

As for the fact you couldn't see Kanye -- we're told he gave producers a specific note about changing lighting and camera angles so he was more visible. We're told Yeezy's a perfectionist when it comes to his final product, and feels like they screwed him.

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Jennifer Lopez Smartphone Disses Mariah's BMA Performance

5/18/2015 8:02 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

Jennifer Lopez threw a ton of shade at Mariah Carey ... by burying her head in her smartphone while MC was hitting high notes onstage at the Billboard Music Awards -- and the video is epic.

You've gotta see it -- while Mariah was singing "Infinity" ... J. Lo was casually scrolling through her phone, barely even glancing at the stage.

Even as Taylor Swift and the rest of the audience burst into applause for Mimi ... J.Lo chatted up Casper Smart from their front row seats. Jennifer's no fool though -- when the house lights went up at the end of Mimi's act, then and only then did she give her a hand. 

It's hysterical -- you get the feeling Mariah could have been on fire and J.Lo wouldn't give a crap.

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Billboard Music Awards 'He's Kanye! What Are We Supposed to Do?'

5/18/2015 6:42 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

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Kanye West totally blindsided Billboard Music Awards producers when he performed the n-word laced version of his hit, "All Day" ... and forced the censors to stand on the audio dump button. 

Production sources at the award show tell TMZ ... Kanye never did a dress rehearsal of the song, so they just expected him to be on his best behavior, and perform a clean version. One source said, "He knew it was national TV." 

We're guessing that's exactly the point, and Kanye knew exactly what he was doing.

Think about it ... his closing act is the one everyone's talking about -- even though they couldn't hear or see most of it.

The production source told us ... "He's Kanye. What are we supposed to do?"

By the way, Kanye not doing a dress rehearsal isn't THAT odd. Mariah Carey also skipped hers ... and several sources told us that's just what happens for top of the A-list acts. 

Kanye West Sound of Silence ... Censors Forced to Dump BMA Performance

5/17/2015 8:38 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Breaking News

Kanye West gave ABC censors a collective heart attack Sunday night at the Billboard Music Awards -- because the rapper dropped so many n-words ... most of his act was dead silence.

Kanye closed the show with his hit, "All Day" -- but about all you could hear on TV was the song's title. Censors killed the audio for so much of the song ... you're really left wondering -- why bother? The censoring went as long as 15 solid seconds at times.

Plus, you could barely SEE Yeezy through all the fireworks and smoke. Again ... why bother?

One thing you could hear clearly -- the boos for Kylie and Kendall Jenner as they introduced their bro-in-law.

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One Direction We Won an Award ... That's NUTS!!!

5/17/2015 7:30 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

Harry Styles paid tribute to 1D, as in ... DEEZ NUTS ... in Las Vegas.

One Direction won the Billboard Music Award for Top Duo/Group, and Harry celebrated by slyly grabbing a hold -- playfully and gently, we hope -- of bandmate Niall Horan's balls.

Watch ... Niall plays it off pretty good.

Not sure Harry even asked him to cough first. So rude.

Taylor Swift Ok, Calvin Harris ... You Can Sit With Us

5/17/2015 6:45 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

Taylor Swift and Calvin Harris are a lot closer than expected at the Billboard Music Awards -- and he got the full GFE after she won an award.

Ok, Calvin wasn't the first person she hugged after winning Top Billboard 200 Album -- but he IS the only one who got an extended hug combined with a neck snuggle. They haven't exactly been undercover, but this qualifies as a full couple coming out.

As we showed you earlier ... the seating chart called for Taylor to sit with 2 friends between herself and her BF.  Nice decoy, T Swizzle. 

Mariah Carey Blows Off 'BMA' Rehearsal ... Because She's Mariah

5/17/2015 2:13 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

0517-mariah-carey-billboard-awards-TMZ-01update_graphic_red_bar5:55 PM PT -- Crisis averted. Mariah performed 2 songs -- "Vision of Love" and her new hit, "Infinity." Not only did she show up ... she NAILED one of the closing notes. Like, old school Mariah ... nailed it.

update_grey_gray_barMariah Carey knows how to cause a mass panic -- she bailed on her final rehearsal before the Billboard Music Awards, which air LIVE in a few hours -- but Mimi's got one word for the haters ... CHILL. 

TMZ has learned BMA producers are scrambling because they don't know what's going on with Mariah -- especially on the heels of her bronchitis issues earlier this week. Our BMA sources say the other reason for concern is ... it's been 17 years since she was last on the award show. 

But our Mariah sources are laughing off the panic, because producers shouldn't be shocked at all. As one source put it, "Nobody does dress [rehearsal]. WTF?? No big stars go ... ever."

It's true, you'd think award shows are old hat for a vet like Mariah. Plus, she performed as scheduled last night at Caesars Palace, and seemed fine.

As for what happens tonight on live TV? Stay tuned ... 


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Taylor Swift I Want Calvin Close at Billboard Awards Just Not THAT Close

5/17/2015 11:04 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

0517-taylor-swift-calvin-harris-billboard-music-awards-seats-GETTY-01Taylor Swift's playing the old music game -- make your fans think you're single, 'cause it's good for business -- and that may be why she'll sit 2 seats away from her boo at Sunday's Billboard Music Awards.

Taylor and Calvin Harris have been seen together in public showing lots of affection, but we're told Taylor requested that several of her friends form a human barrier between her and the famous DJ.

Apparently she wants to have interaction without reaction.

And that's why they call it the music game.

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