Natasha Bedingfield (photo: Kevin Mazur, Getty Images)The Billboard Music Awards managed to incorporate a tribute to the Queen of Disco Donna Summer who died of cancer just days before Sunday's broadcast. Before launching into Summer's 1978 hit "Last Dance," British pop singer Natasha Bedingfield said Summer "inspired so many women including me."
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Bedingfield's cover wasn't as triumphant as the original but it was respectfully done. However, just as the song's ballad intro faded and the track turned upbeat, the show producers segued into a commercial break.
Another Twitter user agreed. "Way to cut it short Billboard," Jamie Sward Tweeted in response to Billboard's post, "Natasha Bedingfield gave her all during her Donna Summer tribute."
Spokespersons for the Billboard Music Awards and ABC have not yet replied to Yahoo! Music's requests for responses. One can only imagine how difficult it is to make last minute changes to a live broadcast.
In addition to Summer's late passing, Bee Gee's co-founder Robin Gibb died the day of the awards. Co-host Julie Bowen acknowledged Gibb before a commercial break. "Just over an hour ago we received the very sad news that the music world lost another legend," she said before asking the viewers to take a pause to pay respect to Gibb.
A tribute to the Whitney Houston, who died in February, had been announced. Whoopi Goldberg, John Legend and Jordin Sparks participated in Houston's Millennium Award honor. Goldberg shared a joke about Houston saving her after a run in with the singer's bodyguards during their first meeting. Legend played piano while backed by an orchestra as he also sang Houston's "Greatest Love Of All," and Sparks, who plays Houston's daughter in the movie "Sparkle," sang a solemn rendition of "I Will Always Love You."
[VIDEO: Robin Gibb, 1949-2012]
The most touching moment came when Houston's daughter, Bobbi Kristina, and sister-in-law, Patricia Houston, received the award. Bobbi Kristina, who cried as Sparks sang, said she was "blessed to have been in such an incredible woman's life" when she accepted the award on her mother's behalf.
Cee-Lo along with his newly reunited group The Goodie Mob also paid respects. After being joined on stage by a one legged breakdancer, the Atlanta rappers kept the energy level high, adding a tribute to late Beastie Boys member Adam "MCA" Yauch, who died of cancer earlier this month. They offered a cover of the Beasties' rock-fueled "(You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To Party)."
Wiz Khalifa also paid homage to Yauch during his presentation of the Top Duo or Group honor. The night's Top New Artist winner said he would never forget the hip hop group that took the genre to new levels.