Mary J. Blige Dominates Billboard Awards

The singer nabs nine trophies at Monday's festivities, including R&B/hip-hop artist of the year

Even Mary J. Blige was impressed: She won a whopping nine times at Monday’s 2006 Billboard Music Awards, including R&B/hip-hop artist of the year, female R&B artist of the year and R&B/hip-hop album of the year (The Breakthrough) and song of the year (“Be Without You”), as well as Hot 100 airplay song of the year.

Sporting white go-go boots and a sparkly mini-dress, the 35-year-old singer – who had rocked the house with her “Enough Crying” and “Take Me As I Am” medley – told reporters backstage at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas: “I’ve never received this many awards at any time in my career, ever.

“I remember a time when all my fans were crying and sad and going through hell. Now, we’re trying to uplift each other and accept ourselves for who we are, even if nobody else does,” she said, Billboard reports.

Chris Brown, who calls his music “hip-hop with a swagger,” was named new artist of the year, male artist of the year and artist of the year. “I’m 17. That’s crazy, it’s mind-boggling,” said Brown, the Associated Press reports. “My mom, she still keeps me humble. She tells me to take out the trash, ya know, clean my room.”

American Idol‘s Carrie Underwood and Atlanta rapper T.I. each took home five statuettes. T.I. dominated the rap category, winning artist and album of the year for (King).

In both overall and country categories, Underwood took album of the year (her debut effort, Some Hearts) and artist of the year.

Rihanna said after she was named female artist of the year, (she also won female Hot 100 artist of the year and Pop 100 artist of the year): “I really can’t feel my legs – this is phenomenal. That was a really tough category.” She had competed with Blige and Beyoncé.

Nelly Furtado, Kenny Chesney, Three Days Grace and the soundtrack to Disney’s High School Musical snared one award each. Stevie Wonder also presented his longtime friend Tony Bennett with the Billboard Century Award.

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