AMAs mix awards with action-packed performances
By SANDY COHEN,AP Entertainment Writer AP - 2 hours 17 minutes ago
LOS ANGELES - Musical lovebirds Rihanna and Chris Brown captured the first two trophies Sunday at the American Music Awards.
Rihanna won favorite female soul/R&B artist, and Brown won favorite male pop/rock artist. The two were seated together but left one another out of their thank-you speeches.
The show traditionally centers on its performances, though a pair of lackluster medleys opened the program at the Nokia Theatre. Christina Aguilera channeled Madonna and the New Kids on the Block channeled an earlier version of themselves during the evening's first two performances, in which both acts sang their latest singles and greatest hits.
Pink brought a healthy dose of energy to the stage during her performance of "Sober," which was awkwardly introduced by slurring rocker Scott Weiland.
Jimmy Kimmel returned for a fifth time as host of the three-hour show, broadcast live on ABC, poking fun at the celebrity-filled crowd during his opening monologue.
Recapping the year in music, he cracked: "Christina Aguilera had a baby ... Mariah Carey married one."
Carey was among the evening's other slated performers, along with Beyonce, Kanye West and the Jonas Brothers.
Miley Cyrus wasn't just slated to sing, she was to celebrate her "Sweet 16" on the show. Coldplay and Leona Lewis were to make their American Music Award debuts, and Alicia Keys and Sarah McLachlan were to perform with yet-to-be-announced artists in genre-crossing mash-ups.
Annie Lennox was to receive the Award of Merit, an honor previously bestowed on Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Frank Sinatra and James Brown, among others.
"I can look back now and see the body of work behind me, with Dave Stewart and the Eurythmics and my own solo work. I'm pleased with it," she said before the show started. "And I want to carry on, so I suppose my longevity is a good thing for other women that are coming out. You don't have to be 15 or 20. You can be in your fifties, man, and rock."
There will be other awards, too, chosen by online voters in 21 categories. Keys leads nominees with five nods, including artist of the year and favorite female artist in both the pop/rock and soul/R&B categories. Coldplay and the Eagles have four nominations each, while Brown and Lil Wayne have three apiece. All are also contenders for artist of the year.
The roster of presenters is just as star-studded as the list of performers. Terrence Howard, Kate Walsh, Paris Hilton, T-Pain, Ashley Tisdale and Nick Lachey are set to help hand out trophies.
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