The 2016 Billboard Music Awards aired last night (May 22) on ABC and it was a star studded event. Filled with powerful performances and handfuls of wins for artists based on the charts, it was a ceremony for the books. Britney Spears opened the show with a medley of her hits as she took home the Millennium Award and Madonna along with Stevie Wonder closed the ceremony honoring the late Prince. Céline Dion was present to take home the Billboard ICON Award following a stunning performance of Queen's classic "The Show Must Go On."
Live in Las Vegas from the newly built T-Mobile Arena, Seal took the stage to introduce Dion. "Icon. It's a word that conjures up visions of someone deserving of our complete respect and admiration; a person who we look at with awe," he said also mentioning Neil Diamond, Stevie Wonder and Prince as previous recipients.
The Billboard Music Awards compiled a video of her long career which began in 1981 in the small town of Charlemagne, Québec. Dion took over the world with her pipes of gold once she learned English and since then, she's one of the most successful artists in music history, pouring her heart into every album and every performance while giving back through charity.
Céline Dion graced the stage with power and enough presence to fill the arena to perform "The Show Must Go On." After all these years, Dion is still able to hit high notes and hold them, a feat she became famous for in America and across the globe. The look of determination to continue on after losing her husband and longtime manager René Angélil earlier this year shows Dion's true strength. She then was presented the ICON Award by her oldest son René-Charles as a surprise. At that point, Dion could no longer hold back tears.
In shock, she says, "I'm so sorry. I'm sorry for crying." "I want to be so strong for my family and my kids. I didn't expect this. I'm so sorry I don't want to cry in front of you," she continued holding her son's hand asking him to stay with her while she gave her speech.
She went on to thank Lindsey Sterling for playing violin on the performance and talked of her passion for music and the people who helped her get to where she is today. Dion also thanked her mom who wrote her first song, "Ce N'était Qu'un Rêve" ("It Was Only a Dream"). She sent a little French message out as well, translating as, "Thank you to all the people who believed in me. I love you" and closed the speech with a painful, "René, this one's for you. The show must go on!"
Following the performance, Céline Dion reflected on her achievement and her husband's passing to the press. Billboard asked Dion about her feelings watching Madonna pay tribute to Prince.
"Time passes. We're not getting younger. Our passion still grows though," she told the reporter. "We have so many artists that all influence us in our careers," she continued following a few words on the first album she bought by Stevie Wonder. Dion talked about Prince coming to her show and writing a song for her. "We don't have time to celebrate or process moments. They're happening so fast," Dion said about the passing of not only Prince but David Bowie. In the short interview, she also talked of her late husband and going on because of his love of the industry and her love of music.
"I was just very touched by the genuine support and love and appreciation," she told the reporter about performing on the Billboard Music Awards stage.
"To try to perform that song without collapsing was big enough. I turned around and I saw my son and as a mother I really, through this whole process of a new life, I really wanted to be so strong," Dion told "Entertainment Tonight." "At the end of the day, I'm really proud of my family, my children and I see my husband through them," she continued.
"The Show Must Go On" became a highlight of the entire night and indeed for Dion, it will go on. The studio recording is available for purchase at all digital retailers.