Justin Bieber accepts the award for favorite pop rock album for 'Believe' at the 40th American Music Awards in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Reuters.
Canadian pop star Justin Bieber has swept the American Music
Awards, topping strong competition from Rihanna and Nicki
Minaj, and sending newcomers British boybands One Direction
and The Wanted home empty-handed.
Bieber, 18, won all three categories in which he was
nominated, including the night's biggest award, artist of the
year, over Rihanna, Katy Perry, Maroon 5 and Drake.
"This is for all the haters who thought that maybe I was just
here for one or two years, but I feel like I am going to be
here for a very long time," Bieber said on stage, dedicating
his first win of the night to his mother, Pattie Mallette,
who accompanied him after his widely reported split from
girlfriend Selena Gomez.
"It's hard growing up with everything going on, with everyone
watching me. I wanted to say that as long as you guys keep
believing in me, I want to always make you proud," Bieber
said at the end of the night.
Bieber, who also won favorite pop/rock male artist and
favorite pop/rock album for "Believe," took to a bare stage
to sing an acoustic stripped-down version of his latest
single "As Long As You Love Me" before livening up the show
with Nicki Minaj for "Beauty and a Beat."
The American Music Award nominees and winners are voted
online by fans, and the awards are handed out during a live
three-hour broadcast featuring performances by artists.
R&B singer Rihanna, 24, and rapper Minaj, 29, led the
nominees going into the awards with four apiece.
Minaj won favorite rap/hip hop artist and rap/hip hop album
of the year for "Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded." The singer,
known for her extravagant on-stage performances, sang her
latest hit "Freedom" in a winter wonderland-themed set.
Rihanna came away with one win. She couldn't make the show
because she is in Berlin, midway through a seven-day tour
across seven cities around the world promoting her upcoming
Canadian pop singer Carly Rae Jepsen, 26, picked up the
coveted new artist-of-the-year award over One Direction,
Australian artist Gotye, indie-pop band fun. and rapper J.
Cole. She performed her hit "Call Me Maybe."
"I am floored," the singer said, thanking Bieber along with
her fans in her acceptance speech.
ELECTRONIC DANCE MUSIC AWARD
Newcomer British-Irish boy bands One Direction, which had
three nominations, and The Wanted, which had one nomination,
went home empty-handed, losing out in the favorite pop/rock
group category to well-established Los Angeles group Maroon
French DJ David Guetta won the first-ever American Music
Award for electronic dance music over DJs Calvin Harris and
"It's wonderful also to see electronic music recognized at
this level in the U.S.," Guetta said in a taped acceptance
Only 13 of the 20 awards were handed out during the live
broadcast. Katy Perry was named favorite female pop/rock
artist, Shakira was named favorite Latin artist, while
Beyonce was voted favorite soul artist. None of the three
attended the show.
Country-pop darling Taylor Swift, 22, scored the favorite
female country artist award before performing her latest
single "I Knew You Were Trouble" from her chart-topping album
"Red," on a masquerade ballroom-style stage with dancers in
tuxedos, gowns and Venetian masks.
R&B star Usher kicked off the night with a medley of his
hits on a laser-filled stage, while pop-rocker Pink teamed
her performance of her latest single "Try" with a dramatic
interpretive dance covered in paint with a male dancer on a
stage filled with burning debris.
1990s ska-punk band No Doubt performed "Looking Hot" from
their first album in a decade, "Push & Shove," while
rockers Linkin Park performed their latest "Burn It Down"
after winning favorite alternative rock band over The Black
Keys and Gotye.
Korean rapper Psy didn't score any nominations, but he was
named the AMA new media honoree for his viral hit music video
"Gangnam Style," accompanied by his trademark horse-riding
The star closed out the show with his hit song, joined by
surprise guest MC Hammer, one of the pioneering rappers from
the 1980s, who was known for his catch phrase 'Hammer Time.'
Singer Brandy paid tribute to the late Whitney Houston, who
died suddenly at age 48 on the night before the Grammy Awards
in February this year from accidental drowning.
AMA founder Dick Clark, who also passed away earlier this
year, was given a touching tribute by veteran soul singer
Stevie Wonder, who sang a medley of hits including "Hotter
Than July" and "My Cherie Amour," against a backdrop of
pictures of Clark. Wonder was introduced by "American Idol"
host Ryan Seacrest, who also paid homage to Clark's
"Dick loved the power of music and the ability to create pure
joy," Seacrest said.
The awards show, which marked its 40th anniversary this year,
treated the audience to some of its greatest moments,
including R&B star Beyonce performing "Single Ladies" at
the 2008 show, Will Smith and DJ Jazzy Jeff at the 1989
awards show, and various clips of AMA regular, the late
singer Michael Jackson.