Billboard Music Awards

Cher, 71, honoured with Icon prize

Cher performed two of her biggest hits - Believe and If I Could Turn Back Time - at the Billboard Music Awards on Sunday.
Cher performed two of her biggest hits - Believe and If I Could Turn Back Time - at the Billboard Music Awards on Sunday.PHOTOS: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
Gwen Stefani (L) presents Cher with the Billboard Icon Award at the 2017 Billboard Music Awards Show in Las Vegas, Nevada. PHOTO: REUTERS
Gwen Stefani (L) presents Cher with the Billboard Icon Award at the 2017 Billboard Music Awards Show in Las Vegas, Nevada. PHOTO: REUTERS

Birthday girl Cher had to sing for her "present", not that the 71-year-old minded one bit.

Honoured with an Icon prize at the Billboard Music Awards on Sunday, a day after she turned 71, the American singer told the crowd about her entertainer role: "I have wanted to do this since I was five years old and I've been doing it for 53 years."

The crowd at the Las Vegas T-Mobile Arena was treated to her turning back the clock to sing two of her biggest hits - Believe (1998) and If I Could Turn Back Time (1989).

True to her flamboyant ways, Cher drew oohs and aahs with a crystal bodysuit with pink, heart-shaped pasties before changing to a black wig, fishnets and leather jacket to perform, reported People magazine.

The singer, who first found fame as part of Sonny & Cher in the 1960s, still hits the road touring, but Sunday's showcase was her first in an awards show in 15 years.

Cher, who has recently been in the news for lambasting United States President Donald Trump in tweets about his policies, is the first artist to have a No. 1 single on a Billboard chart in each decade - from the 1960s to the 2010s.

The Grammy winner's forays into movies and TV have also earned her Emmy and Academy awards, including an Oscar for Best Actress in 1988 for her role in romantic comedy Moonstruck.

Her staying power is why she jokingly told Billboard magazine recently: "What will survive after a nuclear war?

"Cockroaches... and Cher."

On Sunday, she thanked her mother for making her believe that she could go far.

"When I was really young, my mum said, 'You're not gonna be the smartest, you're not gonna be the prettiest, you're not gonna be the most talented, but you're gonna be special.'"

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 23, 2017, with the headline 'Cher,71, honoured with Icon prize'. Print Edition | Subscribe