The Weeknd, who received 19 nominations, started the celebrations early by claiming the first trophy of the night, for Top Hot 100 Artist, which he dedicated to his late idol, Prince.
He then added seven more honours to his name, including Top R&B Song to his haul for The Hills, Top Radio Songs Artist, and Top Song Sales Artist, but lost out on Top Male Artist to Justin Bieber.
Adele was a quintuple winner during the Las Vegas ceremony, earning accolades for Top Artist, Top Female Artist, Top Selling Song (Hello), Top Billboard 200 Artist, and Top Billboard 200 Album for 25.
The British soul star was unable to attend in person as she is currently on tour, but she sent in video messages to show her gratitude to fans, saying, "I'm super chuffed (pleased), thank you very much."
The 2016 ceremony was all about the tributes, as Britney Spears opened the ceremony at the T-Mobile Arena with a medley of her hits, including Work B**ch, Womanizer, I'm A Slave 4 U, and Toxic, and was recognised with the Billboard Millennium Award, which acknowledges outstanding career achievements and influence in the music industry.
Another big prize went to Celine Dion, who was presented with the Billboard Icon Award by her teenage son Rene-Charles and dedicated the honour to her late husband and manager, Rene Charles, who died from cancer in January (16).
Pink, Justin Bieber, and Blake Shelton and Gwen Stefani also delivered top performances, but it was Kesha who garnered a standing ovation as she paid tribute to Bob Dylan with her cover of It Ain't Me Babe, while Madonna closed the show with a rendition of Prince's classic Nothing Compares 2 U, which she performed sitting in a purple throne in memory of her late friend, who died at his Minnesota home last month (Apr16). She was later joined onstage by Stevie Wonder, as they duetted on another Prince hit, Purple Rain.
The main list of winners at the 2016 Billboard Music Awards, hosted by Ciara and Ludacris, is:
Top Artist: Adele
Top Hot 100 Artist: The Weeknd
Top Male Artist: Justin Bieber
Top Female Artist: Adele
Top New Artist: Fetty Wap
Top Duo/Group: One Direction
Top Song Sales Artist: The Weeknd
Top Radio Songs Artist: The Weeknd
Top Streaming Songs Artist: The Weeknd
Top Social Media Artist: Justin Bieber
Top Touring Artist: Taylor Swift
Top R&B Artist: The Weeknd
Top Rap Artist: Drake
Top Country Artist: Luke Bryan
Top Rock Artist: twenty one pilots
Top R&B Album: The Weeknd, Beauty Behind the Madness
Top Rap Album: Meek Mill, Dreams Worth More Than Money
Top Country Album: Chris Stapleton, Traveller
Top Rock Album: twenty one pilots, Blurryface
Top Billboard 200 Artist: Adele
Top Billboard 200 Album: Adele, 25
Top Hot 100 Song: Wiz Khalifa, See You Again featuring Charlie Puth
Top Country Song: Thomas Rhett, Die A Happy Man
Top R&B Song: The Weeknd, The Hills
Top Rap Song: Wiz Khalifa featuring Charlie Puth, See You Again
Top Rock Song: Walk the Moon, Shut Up And Dance
Top Selling Song: Adele, Hello
Top Radio Song: Walk the Moon, Shut Up and Dance
Top Streaming Song (Audio): The Weeknd, The Hills
Billboard Chart Achievement Award: Rihanna
Billboard Millennium Award: Britney Spears
Billboard Icon Award: Celine Dion