R Kelly and Beyonce Knowles picked up four awards each at the annual Billboard Music Awards in Las Vegas.
Beyonce admitted she was nervous about making a speech
Kelly - who was indicted on child pornography charges in the US last year - won two songwriting awards and two production awards.
Destiny's Child star Knowles won New Female Artist of the Year, New R&B Artist, Hot 100 Female Artist and an award for most weeks at number one.
Rap star 50 Cent, who was nominated in six categories, picked up three awards.
Absent from the ceremony, his haul included Top Rapper and Top Artist.
The awards are determined by Billboard magazine's chart listings, based on record sales and airplay.
British rock star Sting was handed the Century Award for
Creative Achievement by Stevie Wonder.
Stevie Wonder handed Sting his creative achievement award
The accolade marked 100 million album and single sales during his time with The Police and as a solo artist.
"You can sing for millions of people in your career or
maybe just one. You can sell millions of records or none at
all. ... It doesn't really matter," Sting said.
"If you play music with passion and love and honesty, then it will nourish your soul, heal your wounds and make your life
Knowles, who scored her biggest hit with Crazy in Love, told the audience she was nervous about making an acceptance speech.
"I don't know what to say. I completely blank out," she
R Kelly's popularity has not been hit by his legal troubles
She added: This is amazing. This has been an incredible year."
Performers at the ceremony included No Doubt, Evanescence, Shania Twain and Pink.
Twain collected three awards on the night, including Top Country Artist and Country Album.
American Idol runner-up Clay Aiken received the award for Bestselling Single for his debut This is the Night/Bridge Over Troubled Water.
And the Black Eyed Peas were given the mainstream top 40 track award for Where is the Love.
For the first time, the Billboard Awards recognised sales of legally downloaded music, with OutKast picking up Digital Track of the Year for Hey Ya.
The awards are held to honour the year's top-selling artists.