See Rihanna Channel Whitney Houston at Billboard Music Awards - Rolling Stone
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See Rihanna Channel Whitney Houston at Billboard Music Awards

Singer gets soulful on epic ballad “Love on the Brain”

Rihanna performed her bluesy, emotional ballad “Love on the Brain” at the 2016 Billboard Music Awards Sunday night. The singer recently wrapped the North American leg of a world tour in support of her eighth album Anti.

“I’m tired of being played like a violin,” Rihanna sang during her gut-wrenching solo performance. “What do I gotta do to get in your motherfucking heart?” The singer began in the dark, crooning into the microphone stand before commanding the stage like Whitney Houston – a storm of tour-de-force vocals singed by a lover’s betrayal. 

After canceling her Grammy appearance and postponing the first few dates of her tour, Rihanna launched her Anti world tour in March. She’s released three singles and videos from the album so far, including the steamy, Director X-helmed “Work” featuring Drake, the sleek black-and-white “Kiss It Better” and the Harmony Korine-directed, violent “Needed Me” clip.

In April, she made a surprise appearance during frequent collaborator Calvin Harris’ Coachella set. Later that month, they debuted the addictive, anthemic “This Is What You Came For,” their first new song since 2011’s “We Found Love,” 

Watch Britney Spears open the Billboard Music Awards with a career-spanning medley of her hits.

In This Article: Billboard Music Awards, Rihanna


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