Rihanna, Britney kick off Billboard Awards

Associated Press
FILE - In this Feb. 13, 2011 file photo, Rihanna, left, and Eminem perform at the 53rd annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles. Rihanna and Eminem are among the top competitors at the Billboard Music Awards on Sunday May 22.  (AP Photo/Matt Sayles, file)

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FILE - In this Feb. 13, 2011 file photo, Rihanna, left, and Eminem perform at the 53rd annual Grammy …

After five years of dormancy, the Billboard Music Awards were revived Sunday with a major dose of star power.

Rihanna got the show off to a steamy start, wearing a skimpy leather outfit for her hit song "S&M," and was joined at the end of the number by Britney Spears, who appears on a remix on the track.

Taylor Swift won the evening's first award, as top album artist, behind the multimillion sales for "Speak Now."

"The impact of an album is all determined by the fans," she told the audience. "You've just given me another reason to be completely in love with you."

This year marks the Billboard Awards' rebirth. The Billboard Awards had been a staple since 1989, but gave out what appeared to be its last award in 2006. This year, the show was brought back.

It's being held in Las Vegas, broadcast live on ABC and hosted by "The Hangover 2'" star Ken Jeong.

The Billboard Music Awards are given out to music's most popular artists. The finalists and winners are determined by their rank on the Billboard charts and their "social and streaming activity."

Rihanna is the top finalist, competing in 18 categories. Among the awards she's up for include top artist, top female artist, and top radio songs artist.

Eminem's name appears in 16 categories, including top artist. He's also vying for top male artist as well as top social artist. Other nominees include Swift, Ke$ha, and Nicki Minaj.

Lady Gaga is in 12 categories, while Bruno Mars and Justin Bieber are in 11 categories.

Beyonce is due to receive a special Millennium Award for her career achievements.

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