By Daniel D'Addario
May 18, 2015

They’re the stars of last season’s biggest TV hit — and now they’re coming to reign over the music industry too.

Jussie Smollett and Bryshere “Yazz” Gray, who, respectively, play Jamal and Hakeem Lyon on Fox’s prime-time soap Empire, performed at the Billboard Music Awards in Las Vegas. The pair, joined by singer and Empire guest star Estelle, performed two tracks from the hit show: “Conqueror” and “You’re So Beautiful.”

The performance provided a promotional opportunity for a show that’s been off the air since March. But it also served as a compelling argument that Empire is valuable for more than just its ratings power. The show, which has relied on the songwriting talents of producer Timbaland and is adding recording artist Ne-Yo to write songs for Season 2, has already spun off one surprisingly successful soundtrack album. The Empire album blocked Madonna’s Rebel Heart from reaching No. 1 on the charts, proving that Smollett and Gray are among the recording industry’s rising stars.

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