Ashanti, Nelly and Eminem Dominate Billboard Awards

In true Ashanti form, the 22-year-old phenomenon scooped up eight awards at the Billboard Music Awards, more than any other artist in the show telecast on Monday. Nelly managed to come behind Ashanti with six awards and Eminem's The Eminem Show received two honors for album of the year. The singer also received entertainer of the year at the Lady of Soul Awards earlier this year and currently holds the most nominations in the American Music Awards.

"It's definitely an honor. It took me such a long time to get me to where I am. I'm just really blessed and thankful," she said as she accepted her awards. In addition, the Murder Inc singer won for top R&B/hip-hop artist, the year's top female artist, top female R&B/hip-hop artist and her single "Foolish" seized highest song credits.

For his sophomore effort, Nellyville, Nelly was bestowed with top male artist and R&B/hip-hop artist. He also won a number of other awards for being the top male artist in R&B and honors related to his smash single "Hot In Herre."

Bad boy Eminem scooped up accolades for R&B/hip-hop album of the year and Album of the year for The Eminem Show, the Detroit rapper's third album.

While Michael Jackson's antics away from music have captivated headlines, Billboard bestowed him with a Special Billboard Award acknowledging his 1982 album "Thriller," for dominating the number 1 position for 37 weeks, more than any other album in the history of The Billboard 200. "I thank all the people who appreciate my work," Jackson said for satellite.

The ceremony concluded with a somber, but upbeat tribute to Jam Master Jay with Nelly, Busta Rhymes, Ja Rule Naughty By Nature, Queen Latifah, and Aerosmith, playing a melody of Run DMC's greatest hits.

"Since Jay passed, it has been so hard, but I had fun just now. Thanks for your love and continuous support. If Jason was here, he'd be so happy," Jam Master Jay's widow, Terri Mizell, said.

"I think Run-DMC's greatest achievement was its longevity," said Darryl "DMC" McDaniels. The group officially retired after Jay's death, but DMC has been working on a solo effort for some time. Run is also reportedly considering a lone album as well, but has yet to confirm.

The Billboard Awards are not based on creativity and musicianship, but solely on sales and radio spins, the criteria for the charts.