Music
November 18, 2012 • 10:14:21 p.m.

Bieber, Swift, Minaj and Carly Rae Jepsen win AMAs (VIDEO)

By The Associated Press

Justin Bieber accepts the award for favorite male artist - pop/rock at the 40th Annual American Music Awards on Sunday in Los Angeles. (AP photo)

America proved its Bieber Fever was strong: The teen singer dominated the American Music Awards on Sunday night.

Bieber's wins included the show's top award, artist of the year.

The singer's mom joined him onstage as he collected the top award.

He looked to his mom: "I wanted to thank you for always believing in me."

He said it's "hard growing up with everyone watching me" and asked that people continue to believe in him.

The 18-year-old also won favorite pop/rock album for "Believe" and male artist.

He performed two songs at the award show, one stripped and another upbeat with Nicki Minaj. As Bieber won his second award, he was kissed on the neck by Jenny McCarthy, who presented the award.

Carly Rae Jepsen, who performed early in the night, won favorite new artist.

"I am floored. Wow," she said, thanking Bieber and his manager, Scooter Braun.

Usher kicked off the three-hour show with green laser lights beaming onstage as he performed a medley of songs, including "Numb," ''Climax" and "Can't Stop, Won't Stop," which featured a smoky floor and a number of backup dancers, as Usher jammed in all black, with the exception of his red shoes.

Swift won her fifth consecutive award for favorite country female artist.

"This is unreal. I want to thank the fans. You guys are the ones who voted on this," she said. Luke Bryan won favorite country male artist and Lady Antebellum favorite country group.

Swift gave a masquerade-themed performance of the pop song "I Knew You Were Trouble." She sang onstage in a light dress while dancers wore mostly black. But then she changed into a red corset and black skirt, matching their dark mood. She even danced and sang on the floor as lights flickered throughout the performance.

Minaj was also a consecutive winner, picking up her second trophy for favorite rap/hip-hop album for "Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded." She was in an all-white get-up, including fur coat and pink hair. The scene was ghostly and snowy, as a choir — also in white — joined her onstage. One background singer stole the performance, belting semi-high notes as Minaj looked on.

Party girl Ke$ha was glammed up on the red carpet, rocking long, flowy blonde hair and a light pink dress. She switched to her normal attire when she performed her hit single "Die Young." It was tribal, with shirtless dancers in skin-tight pants, silver hair and skeleton-painted faces, who also played the drums. Ke$ha was pants-less, rocking knee-high boots and rolling on the floor as she finished up the song.

Minaj and Christina Aguilera were blonde bombshells on the red carpet: Minaj's hair was busy and full of volume and she sported a neon strapless gown to accept her award. Aguilera wore a blonde bob in a purple dress that matched her eyeshadow.

Kelly Clarkson also hit the stage, making a nod to her "American Idol" roots with a number on her dress and three judges looking on as she sang "Miss Independent." Then she went into "Since U Been Gone," ''Stronger" and "Catch My Breath." It's worth noting that "Idol" judge Randy Jackson introduced Clarkson, the first-ever winner of the show. He also advised people to donate through Red Cross for Superstorm Sandy victims.

American Music Awards nominees were selected based on sales and airplay, and fans chose the winners by voting online. At this award show, even the stars were fans: Pink said on the red carpet that she'd like to collaborate with Lauryn Hill. Cyndi Lauper said her musical playlist includes Pink, Minaj and Rae Jepsen, who performed "Call Me Maybe" and won new artist of the year. Boy band The Wanted said they were excited to see "Gangnam Style" star PSY, and Colbie Caillat wants to watch No Doubt.

"What makes the American Music Awards special is the fans choose the winning artists," said Chester Bennington of Linkin Park, who won favorite artist alternative rock and performed "Burn It Down," as Brandy sang along and Gwen Stefani, Usher and Phillip Phillips bobbed their heads.

Along with Rihanna, Minaj was the top nominee with four nominations.

"I don't do music for awards," the 29-year-old said in an interview. "It's so crazy because people always have to remind me that I'm nominated for an award when I go to award shows."

"I know they're going to come. I'm sitting here looking at my awards right now," she continued with a laugh. "I never stress it. I think of myself as 'I'll have a career long enough to get all those different awards.'"

Minaj isn't up for the night's top award, though. Rihanna, Maroon 5, Drake, Katy Perry and Bieber battled it out for artist of the year.

But the American Music Awards are all about performances, and Sunday's show was no exception. The three-hour program broadcast live on ABC aired performances by Carrie Underwood, Ludacris, Chris Brown and Swizz Beatz. And Stevie Wonder provided the soundtrack for a tribute to the late Dick Clark.

"I'm really going there to perform 'Freedom,'" Minaj said of her new single. "I'm very, very proud of the record and I'm happy that people are going to get to hear it. I'm performing a hip-hop song on the AMAs, and I think . that's just a big look for hip-hop."

Other multiple nominees include Usher, Bieber, Drake, Maroon 5 and One Direction, who have three nods each. Perry, Underwood, Brown, Clarkson, Pitbull, fun., Gotye, J. Cole and Luke Bryan are all double nominees.

The 40th anniversary also included the tribute to Clark, its creator.

"Dick changed the face of music back in the late '50s," producer Larry Klein said. "Dick is the one who made rock 'n' roll acceptable to come into people's homes... We're paying tribute to Dick because of the legacy that he's left everybody and also the creativity of what he did on this show."

•••

THE WINNERS

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Winners of the 40th anniversary American Music Awards, presented Sunday at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles:

Artist of the year: Justin Bieber

New artist of the year: Carly Rae Jepsen

Pop/rock female artist: Katy Perry

Pop/rock male artist: Justin Bieber

Pop/rock band, duo or group: Maroon 5

Pop/rock album: Justin Bieber, "Believe"

Country female artist: Taylor Swift

Country male artist: Luke Bryan

Country band, duo or group: Lady Antebellum

Country album: Carrie Underwood, "Blown Away"

Rap/hip-hop artist: Nicki Minaj

Rap/hip-hop album: Nicki Minaj, "Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded"

Soul/R&B female artist: Beyonce

Soul/R&B male artist: Usher

Soul/R&B album: Rihanna, "Talk That Talk"

Alternative rock artist: Linkin Park

Adult contemporary artist: Adele

Artist, Latin: Shakira

Artist, contemporary inspirational: tobyMac

Artist, electronic dance music: David Guetta


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