Mary J Blige was the big winner at last night's Billboard music awards, taking home a whopping nine awards.

The RnB singer won awards for being  take a deep breath  the female country artist of the year; female RnB artist of the year (as well as the RnB artist of the year, beating her male counterparts); RnB songs artist of the year; RnB album artist of the year; and RnB album of the year.

Her single Be Without You was named as both the RnB song of the year, RnB song airplay of the year and video clip of the year.

"I've never received this many awards at any time in my career, ever," Blige told backstage. "I remember a time when all my fans were crying and sad and going through hell. Now, we're trying to uplift each other and accept ourselves for who we are, even if nobody else does."

Other musicians who were honoured on the night included Rihanna, who was named as the female artist of the year, pop 100 artist of the year and the female hot 100 artist of the year.

And leading the way in the male camp was Chris Brown, who took home awards for being the artist of the year, new artist of the year and male artist of the year.

The ceremony was held at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas and had performances by Janet Jackson, Fergie and her Black Eyed Peas colleague and Gwen Stefani.

05/12/2006 12:44:27