Love the magazine, hate the awards show!

Blige, Chesney receive Billboard Awards
LAS VEGAS – R&B diva Mary J. Blige and country star Kenny Chesney nabbed early awards at the annual Billboard Awards Monday night.
Blige, who was nominated for five major-category awards, was named R&B/Hip-Hop artist of the year and Chesney won male country artist of the year at the two-hour live show from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Blige’s seventh studio album, “The Breakthrough,” debuted at the top of the Billboard charts in December 2005 and has sold 2.6 million copies.
The telecast did not, however, feature Tinseltown’s duo du jour ó heiress Paris Hilton and mom-gone-wild Britney Spears. After their recent binge of late-night partying, it was reported that the new best friends would be co-hosting the show, but that didn’t happen.
Hilton, according to her publicist, backed out because of “objectionable” material in the script. Show producers said that Spears was never confirmed.
The show went on without a host but with a lineup of presenters moving things along. On the red carpet, comedian Kathy Griffin joked that she could fill in: “I’ll be in the 7th row ready to jump up at any minute.”
Janet Jackson opened the show with a nod to the old and the new. Sporting a short bob haircut and a belly-baring white turtleneck sweater that offered no chance of a wardrobe malfunction, Jackson performed her 1980s classic, “The Pleasure Principle,” mixed into “So Excited,” a single from her 2006 comeback album, “20 Y.O.”
Black Eyed Peas singer Fergie performed “Fergalicious,” a hit from her first solo effort, backed by a crew of dancers in body paint and set of giant candy canes.
Crooner Tony Bennett was to be honored with the Billboard Century Award, a lifetime achievement award.
Bennett timed his release of “Duets: An American Classic” ó featuring Bono, Stevie Wonder, Paul McCartney, Barbra Streisand and other musical big-timers ó to his 80th birthday. The September release has become the best-selling album of his 50-plus-year recording career.
Rock powerhouse Nickelback was up for artist of the year, as well as rock artist of the year, group and rock group of the year. The group won rock album of the year for its “All the Right Reasons.”
The rockers were joined by Nashville-based Rascal Flatts in two of the categories. The multiplatinum country band also was nominated for artist of the year and group of the year, as well as a string of country nominations, including country album of the year for their fifth album, “Me and My Gang.”
Rapper T.I. was up for rap artist of the year along with Sean Paul and Yung Joc. His fourth solo album, “King,” which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard albums chart in March, was nominated for best rap album of the year, along with “Tha Carter II” from Lil Wayne and Eminem’s “Curtain Call: The Hits.”
Teen lothario Chris Brown’s self-titled debut album landed the 17-year-old hip-hopper nominations for artist of the year, male artist of the year and new artist of the year.
“It feels great,” he said from the red carpet. “I certainly don’t feel my age.”
Brown said people were treating him like he was older but then reality set in when he realized he could not do much because of his young age. His first night in Vegas was spent hanging out with his mom in his hotel room, he said.
The Billboard Awards are given to the year’s chart-topping artists. Winners are determined by the magazine’s year-end chart listings, which are based on record sales and airplay.