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The Most Memorable Moments of the 2013 Billboard Music Awards

(Getty Images)The 2013 Billboard Music Awards were jam-packed full of performances — maybe a few too many. Though the production values on the Las Vegas awards show's big numbers were high, most of the songs sounded canned, over-rehearsed, and sorely lacking in spontaneity. There were a few bright spots, however, as well as a couple of awkward moments that are sure to make headlines on Monday morning.

Here's what people will be talking about.

1. When Bruno Mars and Tracy Morgan kicked things off in a very Vegas way.
Bruno Mars gets the party started with a truly un-hateable performance (he's good at those), and Tracy Morgan is introduced by a bevy of dancing Vegas showgirls. He, incidentally, is outfitted in a shiny blazer that could've been borrowed by a cartoon super villain. In the course of his cheerful opening monologue, he mispronounces Selena Gomez's name (who's "Selene?"), cracks a joke about Taylor Swift and company writing songs about their exes, and confesses that Wayne Newton is his biological father.

2. When Selena Gomez looked hot.
It sounds like Selena Gomez might actually be singing live during her performance of "Come and Get It," except her feed is nearly practically silent under what sounds suspiciously like a pre-recorded vocal track. Well, she has been channeling Britney of late. She sizzles in a saucy gold costume, so she's done her job.

2013 Billboard Music Awards - Show

3. When Psy and Tracy Morgan had a dance-off.
One of the show's most likable moments came in the introduction to its least tolerable performance. Tracy Morgan interrupts Psy's speech for a brief "Gentleman" dance-off, and the schtick somehow manages to work even though "Gangnam Style" is not involved. Things are looking up for Psy! And then it segues into Chris Brown's performance, which is set to a blazing red "Chinese" backdrop (truly novel, considering the song being performed is called "Fine China"). Brown doesn't even pretend to hit the high notes, but he does gyrate very well — and he even treats the audience to an elaborate dance-fight breakdown. He's expressing his aggression through his art, you guys!
2013 Billboard Music Awards - Show

4. When Macklemore taught my mom a new expression.
Nashville's Hayden Panettiere introduces Macklemore and Ryan Lewis' performance of "Thrift Shop," which impresses my mom. She texts me, "I give it a 70, has a good beat." She then asks me what it means to "pop some tags." I realize that I actually have no idea.

5. When Kid Rock called performers out for lipsynching.
"Yeah! Let's give it up for people lip-synching over pre-recorded music!" Kid Rock joked before presenting the award for Best Rap Song to Macklemore and Ryan Lewis. Never change, Bob Ritchie. Macklemore thanks Goodwill before sweetly acknowledging his fans.

6. When Taylor Swift pulled out all the cheese to perform "22."
Taylor Swift rocks a unicorn t-shirt and an itty bitty pair of short shorts for the live television debut of "22," which sees her making a very elaborate journey through the venue from backstage to the limelight. There's a lot of choreography and red lipstick involved, and it's kind of like watching an episode of Glee on fast-forward. My mom texts me, "Kid Rock rocks. I'm a fan forever now."

2013 Billboard Music Awards - Show

7. When Madonna got a free extended ad for her new MDNA tour DVD.
In a sea of spectacle, Kacey Musgraves' low-key but lovely performance of "Merry Go Round" is much-appreciated. But she's followed by Madonna, so the spectacle comes back threefold. After a lengthy introduction video, Madonna takes the stage. Her appearance leads Mom to joke that it's she and not Tracy Morgan who's actually related to Wayne Newton. Madonna, sporting oversized sunglasses (ones she gleefully refers to as "pretentious"), cracks a joke about the "ass negotiations" necessary for that tour trailer and thanks a lot of people, including "badass Em-Effers" and her fans. Zzzz.
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8. When Bieber performed in a pair of pretentious sunglasses.
Bieber gets his performance of "Take You" started with a crotch grab, but maybe he just has trouble staying comfortable in his faux-leather drop-crotch pants (my mom asks why he's wearing a skirt). He's wearing black aviator sunglasses and a single-sleeved leather jacket for his Top Gun-inspired performance. Practical! What a well-groomed little robot he makes. Now if we could only hear his vocals.
2013 Billboard Music Awards - Show

9. When Christina Aguilera and Pitbull breathed some life back into the show, with help from A-Ha.
Aguilera and Pitbull's performance of "Feel This Moment," which samples "Take on Me," is one of the few performances that doesn't feel completely canned, although it does seem like Aguilera is fighting to overcome her pre-recorded vocals, too. Not every artist needs this much help, producers! Aguilera and Pitbull are joined by A-Ha's Morten Harket, and it's a great time to be Scandinavian.

10. When Miguel showed everyone how a live performance is supposed to sound... and almost broke a random woman's neck.
Miguel performs "Adorn," a single that's been out for half a year, but it still sounds fresher than anything else that's happened on stage all night. And then he nearly takes a woman out with his crotch. No, really. Well, there are probably lots of girls who would be honored to be taken out by Miguel's crotch.

Hopefully she's ok:

11. When Jennifer Lopez shook her thing in a furry leotard.
Jennifer Lopez and Pitbull's performance of (sigh) "#LiveItUp" is punctuated with these perfect GIF-able moments, like when Lopez jerk-twitches her red leotard-covered bum directly at the camera. This is for you, Internet! Also, it looks like she hit up a sasquatch to make her sleeves. But hey, her dancing is better than Justin Bieber's and will.i.am's in their performance of yet another hashtag song, "#thatPOWER."
2013 Billboard Music Awards - Show
12. When Justin Bieber gave a defensive speech about being taken seriously as an artist... and GOT BOOED.
The story that you're going to see being hashed out in depth on Monday morning came when Justin Bieber accepted his award for Top Social Artist with a speech about how it's all about the music and it's time people take him seriously. He's giving it in an outfit that looks like it was picked out by Kanye West on a particularly bad day. AND HE GETS BOOED. Bieber looks stunned, so we should probably expect some reactionary Twitter rant in the next 12 hours. Just don't delete it before I can screencap it, Biebs.

At least Chris Brown has his back.

13. When Nicki Minaj put her back into it.
Nicki Minaj and Lil Wayne's performance of "High School" is punctuated by a booty dance, naturally. Mom opines that this is the kind of thing that belongs on cable, not the networks.

When Jimi Hendrix performed "Let's Go Crazy" with Hendrix flair.
Sure, Prince's performance was a wee bit gimmicky, but it after that parade of soullessness it was nothing short of joyful to see his afro-ed self rock out with an all-girl band. So what if he totally stole his hair from the set of the last Bruno Mars music video.

(All images Getty)

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