Justin-Bieber-Madonna-Billboard-Awards.jpgThere’s something odd going on in pop music when the three most anticipated appearances in tonight’s (May 19) Billboard Music Awards on ABC are from two 54-year-olds and a 19-year-old.

Both Madonna and Prince were born in the summer of 1958, while Justin Bieber turned 19 on March 1.

Introduced by will.i.am (whose favorite Madonna song is “Like a Virgin,” prompting him to say, “Not that I know anything about that,” though one presumes he did, at some time in the distant past), Madonna took a long time — who’s going to stop her? She’s Madonna. — accepting her award for top touring artist for her MDNA tour.

Ponder that for a moment. A woman who had her first hit record in the ’80s is still kicking butt hard enough on the road to win top honors for the year 2012.

What that says about the current crop of musical heavyweights on tour this past year, one just doesn’t know.

Strutting out pantsless in fishnets, a short, fur-trimmed (faux or real?) jacket and big shades, the Material Girl was self-aware enough to crack a joke about taking off her “pretentious sunglasses” (which she handed to will.i.am, apparently the designated prop-holder of the moment).

She finished off with thanking her dedicated admirers, saying, “A showgirl needs her fans.”

Under the category of “and now for something completely different,” Bieber hit the stage after Madonna, once again proving that as nice a voice as he has — and he does have a very good voice — saggy-crotch harem pants can always detract from it.

Again, he’s 19, so his fashion sense might improve with age — like, when he’s 21. If Bieber hangs around as long as Madonna, he’ll be accepting awards in the year 2048, probably on Mars.

But for right now, Bieber accepted the Billboard award for male artist. Like Madonna, he thanked his fans, a k a “Beliebers,” and his family and then scooted off (apparently under the proud gaze of former/current girlfriend Selena Gomez).

If you compare the lengths of their acceptance speeches to the lengths of Madonna and Bieber’s respective careers, that’s just about right.

Posted by:Kate O'Hare