Minaj wins, Mars performs at Billboard Awards
Taylor Swift arrives at the Billboard Music Awards at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on Sunday, May 19, 2013 in Las Vegas. (Photo by John Shearer/Invision/AP)
Bruno Mars — and his band — kicked off the Billboard Music Awards in silky red suits that matched their silky dance moves, with bright gold disco balls hanging above them.
Mars performed his new single, the upbeat and old-school flavored "Treasure."
Nicki Minaj, who is set to perform with Lil Wayne, won the first award for top rap artist, beating out Drake, Flo Rida, Pitbull and Psy.
"I definitely did not expect this one," she said, wearing a bright red dress.
Today's biggest stars — from Taylor Swift to fun. to Maroon 5 — are the key finalists at Sunday's awards show, airing live from MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on ABC. Those acts are up for 11 awards each; Rihanna, Carly Rae Jepsen and One Direction are up for 10, nine and eight trophies, respectively.
Casper Smart, left, and Jennifer Lopez arrive at the Billboard Music Awards at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on Sunday, May 19, 2013 in Las Vegas. (Photo by John Shearer/Invision/AP)
Most of the top stars will also blaze the stage, too, including Swift, Justin Bieber, Miguel, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Chris Brown, Selena Gomez and others.
Prince, who will receive the icon award, will also hit the stage, and Madonna, to be named top touring artist, will make an appearance.
Jepsen, whose nine nominations include top Hot 100 song for the ubiquitous "Call Me Maybe," top female artist and top new artist, will also present an award.
"The Billboard Awards is kind of a nostalgic one for me because it was the first awards show I attended outside of Canada," the 27-year-old recalled in an interview. "I had never really done anything quite so big. And to be going back a year later, and to be nominated, and then to also being doing all the fun stuff like pick a dress, and see the party, and watch the show — I feel just lucky to be involved."