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Billboard Awards: Madonna and Stevie Wonder perform Prince tribute

Madonna sung a solo version of Nothing Compares 2 U Credit: Reuters

Stevie Wonder made a surprise appearance at the Billboard Music Awards on Sunday night as he and Madonna joined on stage to pay a moving tribute to Prince.

The duo performed Purple Rain after Madonna opened with Nothing Compares 2 U the 1990 track Prince wrote for Sinead O'Connor, at the ceremony in Las Vegas on.

Wearing a purple sequinned suit and holding a cane, Madonna appeared on stage on a revolving chair holding cross symbols after the introduction of Prince's hit Let's Go Crazy was played.

"Thank you Prince Rogers Nelson for all you have given us," she said.

The star-studded event also featured performances from Britney Spears and Celine Dion, who both received awards for career achievements.

Adele was among the winners as she scooped the biggest award of the night, Top Artist, beating Justin Bieber, Drake, Taylor Swift and The Weeknd.

Stevie Wonder joined Madonna on stage to perform Purple Rain Credit: Reuters

Before the ceremony, organisers defended their decision to choose Madonna to pay tribute to Prince after an online petition called for more musicians to be included.

And Canadian singer The Weeknd, who won the first trophy of the night, also paid tribute to his "inspiration" Prince.

The 26-year-old, who received 19 nominations, beat Justin Bieber, Drake, Fetty Wap and Taylor Swift to be named the Top Hot 100 Artist.

On stage, he said: "I want to dedicate this award to the late, great Prince".

Britney Spears opened the awards by performing a number of her hits Credit: Reuters

Britney Spears, who received the Billboard Millennium Award, opened the ceremony at the T-Mobile Arena with a number of her hits.

Among the songs she performed were I'm A Slave 4 U and Toxic.

Britney Spears received the Billboard Millennium Award Credit: Reuters

Adele missed out on the Top 100 Song award, having been nominated for her hit Hello.

She was pipped to the award by rapper Wiz Khalifa who scooped the award for See You Again, which features Charlie Puth.

Wiz Khalifa won the Top 100 Song award Credit: Reuters

But Adele, who received eight nominations in total, did pick up the Top Billboard 200 Album award for 25, Top Female Artist, Top Billboard 200 Artist and Top Selling Song for Hello.

Superstar Justin Bieber beat Drake, Ed Sheeran, The Weeknd and Fetty Wap to win the Top Male Artist award.

Ciara and Ludacris hosted the awards Credit: Reuters

Celine Dion performed Queen's The Show Must Go On as she received the Icon Award, Billboard's lifetime achievement honour, after a traumatic start to 2016 for the singer.

Her husband Rene Angelil and brother Daniel died from cancer just days apart in January.

Dion broke down in tears as her 15-year-old son Rene Charles surprised her on stage by presenting the award.

"I want to be strong for my family and my kids," she said. "I didn't want to cry. They make me so happy".

She added: "Rene - this one's for you. The show must go on".