LOS ANGELES — Taylor Swift won artist of the year at the American Music Awards, nabbing the top trophy for the second time in her young career.
The country superstar beat contenders including Adele, who had the year’s best-selling album with “21.”
Swift told the audience “This is crazy!” as she picked up her award.
It was her third win of the night. She also won favorite country album and favorite country female artist.
Earlier in the evening, it looked like Nicki Minaj might need to change her hair color to gold.
The pink-loving hip-hop diva picked up two trophies. Minaj kicked off the fan-favorite ceremony by sporting a pair of speakers on her much-talked about posterior. She was later honored as favorite rap/hip-hop artist, besting a group that included mentor Lil Wayne, and won favorite rap/hip-hop album for “Pink Friday.”
List of winners at Sunday’s 39th annual American Music Awards, presented at the Nokia Theatre:
Contemporary Inspirational Artist: Casting Crowns
Country Female Artist: Taylor Swift
Country Male Artist: Blake Shelton
Country Band, Duo or Group: Lady Antebellum
Country Album: Taylor Swift, “Speak Now”
Latin Artist: Jennifer Lopez
Pop/Rock Female Artist: Adele
Pop/Rock Male Artist: Bruno Mars
Pop/Rock Band, Duo or Group: Maroon 5
Pop/Rock Album: Adele, “21”
Rap/Hip-Hop Artist: Nicki Minaj
Rap/Hip-Hop Album: Nicki Minaj, “Pink Friday”
Soul/R&B Female Artist: Beyonce
Soul/R&B Male Artist: Usher
Soul/R&B Album: Rihanna, “Loud.”
Alternative Rock Artist: Foo Fighters
Adult Contemporary Artist: Adele
Artist of the Year: Taylor Swift
Sprint New Artist of the Year: Hot Chelle Rae
“This one could actually make me cry,” Minaj said onstage accepting her second trophy for “Pink Friday” before wiping away tears from her eyes. “I can’t believe this is happening. … There’s so much love in this room.”
Adele had been the leading nominee with four awards, but didn’t have much of a presence at the show: She was absent from the ceremony because she is recovering from recent throat surgery. She won an award for favorite pop/rock female artist, and another for favortie pop/rock album.
Bruno Mars won as favorite pop/rock male artist.
Other winners included Maroon 5 as favorite pop-rock band/duo/group, Lady Antebellum as favorite country band/duo/group, Beyonce as favorite soul/R&B female artist, Rihanna for favorite soul/R&B album for “Loud,” and Hot Chelle Rae as new artist of the year.
Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine thanked fans for giving the band its first AMA honor. “To get one of these, you have to have loyal fans,” he said, echoing many acceptance speeches of the night.
The ceremony inside the Nokia Theatre in an unusually rainy Los Angeles was dripping with 17 musical performances.
Justin Bieber got in the holiday spirit among a forest of neon lights with “Under the Mistletoe,” and Kelly Clarkson, wearing a glittery red gown with her hair swept to the side, delivered a swinging rendition of her hit “Mr.
Know It All” as back-up dancers dressed as 1930s-era photographers snapped the first-ever “American Idol” champion.
Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony shared custody of rapper Pitbull, who joined the former couple in a pair of separate performances. Lopez performed essentially a live version of a car commercial starring the “Idol” judge set to “Papi” — she even had the car on stage. She then launched into her hit “On the Floor.” Pitbull later returned to the stage and joined Anthony for “Rain Over Me.”
Lopez expressed surprise when she won favorite Latin music artist, and touched on the highs and lows of her year.
“It’s been up and down and just exciting and overwhelming and so many things,” Lopez said.
There were several other collaborations, too. Christina Aguilera joined Maroon 5 for their duet “Moves Like Jagger,” and then Maroon 5 lead singer Adam Levine teamed with Gym Class Heroes for their hit “Stereo Hearts.”
Several artists delivered stripped-down performances: The Band Perry crooned an emotional “If I Die Young,” a pink-haired Katy Perry accompanied herself on guitar for “The One That Got Away” and a platinum-blonde
Chris Brown simply sang “All Back” before being joined by a troop of helmet-clad back-up dancers for a flashy interpretation of “Say It With Me.”
Reuters contributed to this report.