By KIRA CHARRON
It began with Nicki Minaj, who opened the show with world famous DJ David Guetta before winning the awards for Favourite Rap/Hip Hop Artist and Favourite Rap/Hip Hop Album. In both cases she was up against music moguls Kanye West and Lil Wayne. While accepting the trophy for her album Pink Friday, Minaj tearfully thanked her fans as well as her mentor, Lil Wayne: “without him, I wouldn’t be here,” she said. “Shout out to female rappers, past, present and future!” she added, blowing a kiss to fellow musician Queen Latifah, who was one of the presenters of the night.
Jennifer Lopez (above, right) and Katy Perry also got the crowd moving and took home one award each.
Lopez performed twice, first with Pitbull and then with Will.I.Am, rocking the stage in true diva fashion with curve-hugging outfits, electrifying light shows, wind machines, and a slew of hunky, topless backup dancers.
She received the prize for Favourite Latin Music Artist, upstaging male competitors Enrique Iglesias and Pitbull. JLo thanked her family and fans, but not ex-hubby Marc Anthony, who was probably kicking himself after watching her shake her assets onstage.
Kelly Clarkson and the Queen of R&B, Mary J. Blige, performed individually, belting out their respective singles “Mr. Know It All” and “Mr. Wrong,” proving that they don’t need a Mr. Anything to put on a good show.
Supermodel Heidi Klum surprised pop cutie Katy Perry with a Special Achievement Award for being the first woman in the history of pop music to have five number-one singles from the same album. Just before receiving the honour, Perry’s acoustic performance of “The One That Got Away” earned her a standing ovation.
Other big wins went to female artists Rihanna, for Favourite Soul/R&B album (she trumped ex-boyfriend Chris Brown, who was nominated in the same category), and Beyonce for Favourite Soul/R&B Female Artist. Neither was able to attend the show, but they both thanked their fans via video from Europe and New York, respectively.
It was also great night for soulful siren Adele, who picked up Favourite Pop/Rock Album, Favourite Pop/Rock Artist and Favourite Adult Contemporary Artist. She was unable to accept the award in person as she is recovering from throat surgery—hopefully the good news will help spur the healing process and get the English songbird back on stage where she belongs.
Swift was glowing in a gold gown as she accepted the honours from presenter Lionel Richie, who has taken home a total of seventeen American Music Awards in the past. “Thank you to the fans. Also, to the fans, and…to the fans!” she laughed. This is her second win for Favourite Artist of the Year, and her tenth American Music Award.
Representing the gentlemen, Maroon 5 won the award for Favourite Pop/Rock Band and got the audience moving with their hit single “Moves Like Jagger,” featuring Christina Aguilera. Meanwhile, the young rockers of Hot Chelle Rae were voted Sprint’s New Artist of The Year. Chris Brown, One Republic, Gym Class Heroes, Drake and Daughtry put on unremarkable performances, but Enrique Iglesias, accompanied by Ludacris and the Krenshaw High School Choir, picked things up with their energy fuelled club hits.
Later, Pitbull and Marc Anthony performed “Rain Over Me”, giving JLo a run for her money with their heavy beats and scantily clad back-up dancers.
Bieber’s rendition of “Under the Mistletoe” was equally disappointing. Maybe the baby fat and squeaky voice were the keys to his success after all; now that he’s all grown-up and facing paternity allegations, one has to wonder whether his Beleibers are finally ready to move on.
Despite all of the leading ladies in the house, it was party rockers LMFAO who stole the show with their grand finale performance. The unlikely superstars stripped down to their underwear alongside David Hasselhoff and YouTube sensation Beener Keekee, gyrating to “Sexy and I Know It” like it was nobody’s business. I’m all about girl power, but my hat goes off to them.