The Hotline Bling hitmaker headed into the weekend tied with The Chainsmokers with 22 nominations each, and already had 10 under his belt by the time he hit the red carpet for Sunday night’s event. Among his early wins were accolades for Top Billboard 200 Artist, Top Hot 100 Artist, Top Rap Artist, and Top Rap Album for Views.
He quickly added prizes for Top Male Artist and Top Billboard 200 Album for Views, tying Adele for the most Billboard Music Awards in a single year with 12, but Drake went one up after going head-to-head in the final category of the night, for Top Artist.
However, as he stepped up to the stage, the MC acknowledged the British soul star would likely take back the most wins title when she releases her next album.
Putting on a Jamaican accent, Drake said, “Hold tight Adele, because when the new ting drops, yeah, ya fall right back to get the record back (sic)!”
Pregnant Beyonce, who did not attend the Las Vegas event, scored five awards, while The Chainsmokers and Twenty One Pilots ended up with four apiece.
Drake also had arguably the most visually-stunning performance of the night after delivering his Gyalchester tune from a stage in the middle of the famed Fountains of Bellagio outside the Bellagio hotel and resort. Drake rapped the track as fireworks exploded all around him.
There were also top sets from Nicki Minaj, Camila Cabello, Miley Cyrus, Icon Award winner Cher, and Celine Dion, who celebrated the 20th anniversary of her classic ballad My Heart Will Go On, the theme song to 1997 movie Titanic, by delivering a pitch-perfect rendition which earned her a standing ovation from the celebrity-filled crowd.
Meanwhile, Imagine Dragons star Dan Reynolds paid tribute to Chris Cornell, remembering the tragic rocker as “a true innovator, a musical architect, and a pioneer on the cutting edge of the Seattle grunge movement”.
“Even though Chris is gone, his legacy endures,” Reynolds said, before leading a moment of silence.
The Soundgarden and Audioslave frontman committed suicide early Thursday, aged 52.