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Last Updated: Tuesday, 5 December 2006, 08:34 GMT
Singer Blige sweeps music awards
Mary J Blige
Blige said she has never received so many awards in her career
Soul singer Mary J Blige has swept the Billboard music awards in the US, collecting nine trophies, including female R&B artist of the year.

The 35-year-old, whose latest album The Breakthrough topped the US charts, was among the performers at the ceremony held in Las Vegas.

But Blige lost out to Barbados-born singer Rihanna in the female singer of the year category.

Veteran performer Tony Bennett won a lifetime achievement honour.

'Phenomenal'

The 80-year-old's latest album, a series of duets with stars including Barbra Streisand and Stevie Wonder, has become the best-selling collection of his 50-year career.

Teenage hip-hop artist Chris Brown won best newcomer and male gongs, while Canadian band Nickelback walked off with rock album and group of the year.

Stevie Wonder and Tony Bennett
Stevie Wonder presented Tony Bennett with his award

Rihanna, who picked up three awards in total, said after her best female win: "I really can't feel my legs. This is phenomenal. That was a really tough category."

Nelly Furtado won the pop single of the year award for Promiscuous, while the cast of High School Musical were honoured with soundtrack of the year.

Britney Spears and Paris Hilton were expected to host the awards ceremony, but a string of guest presenters were drafted in to take their place.

Other performers at the event included Janet Jackson and Gwen Stefani, while The Killers - who come from Las Vegas - pulled out because frontman Brandon Flowers was ill.

The awards are presented to the year's chart-topping artists, with winners determined by Billboard magazine's year-end chart listings, based on record sales and airplay.


SEE ALSO
In pictures: Billboard awards
05 Dec 06 |  In Pictures
Mary J Blige's words of wisdom
03 Apr 06 |  Entertainment
Blige joins anti-Bush song remake
11 Aug 04 |  Entertainment
Blige attacks 'disrespectful' divas
31 Oct 03 |  Entertainment
Stars duet for Bennett birthday
20 Feb 06 |  Entertainment

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