Taylor Swift was crowned Artist of the Year and an emotional Nicki Minaj went home with two awards at the 2011 American Music Awards on Sunday night at the Nokia Theatre in downtown Los Angeles.
Nicki Minaj and David Guetta kicked off the 39th annual show, which also featured performances from Drake, Justin Bieber, Katy Perry, Mary J. Blige, Pitbull, Ludacris, LMFAO, and more. 50 Cent, Jennifer Hudson, Bruno Mars, Sean Kingston, John Legend, and Lionel Richie were among the presenters.
Of the winners, Rihanna took home Favorite Soul/R&B Album for last year’s LOUD, edging out Chris Brown’s F.A.M.E. and Beyoncé’s 4. Though she couldn’t be in attendance, the Bajan songstress checked in with a pre-recorded segment. “Thank you so much. This means a lot for me to win this award,” she said. “I love you guys. Thanks to all my fans who showed me all this support.”
Taylor Swift presented Nicki Minaj with Favorite Rap/Hip-Hop Album for her debut Pink Friday, which beat out Jay-Z and Kanye West’s Watch the Throne and Lil Wayne’s Tha Carter IV. Dressed in a flowing green ensemble, the Harajuku Barbie struggled while walking to the podium and was visibly shaken upon accepting the honor.
“This one could actually make me cry. I can’t believe this is happening,” said a tearful Nicki. “Again, I have to thank God and I have to thank Lil Wayne because without him, I would not be here.”
The Young Money raptress also trumped Kanye and her Young Money boss for Favorite Rap/Hip-Hop Artist. “There’s so much love in this room. I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for this love. I didn’t think I would win it,” said Nicki, who accepted the award from Hudson and acknowledged her Barbz. “There’s power in your peace—hold your peace.”
Beyoncé was not present to accept her award for Favorite R&B Female Artist, where she was up against Rihanna and Kelly Rowland. “AMAs, thank you very, very much for Favorite R&B Solo Female Artist,” said the mom-to-be, who was busy screening her DVD Live at Roseland in New York. “I’m so excited about this award because it was voted by all of my fans and I have the best fans in the world. You’re actually the only people I want to thank.”
Adele was also not in attendance, as she is recovering from her recent throat surgery. The British songbird swept in the Pop/Rock Favorite Female Artist and Favorite Album categories as well as Favorite Adult Contemporary Artist, tying Swift for three awards.
Bruno Mars, who introduced Maroon 5’s performance with Christina Aguilera and Gym Class Heroes, beat out Biebs and Pitbull for Favorite Pop/Rock Male. “I want to thank the fans for voting, it means everything to me,” he said.
Meanwhile, Jennifer Lopez, who performed with both will.i.am and Pitbull, accepted the award for Favorite Latin Music Artist over Mr. 305 and Enrique Iglesias. “I didn’t expect to win,” said the diva. “I want to thank God because it’s been a really amazing year in so many ways. It’s been up and down and just exciting and overwhelming and so many things and I’m just grateful for my blessings. I want to thank my family most of all, my beautiful babies who inspire me every single day to be a better person and be better at what I do.”
2011 American Music Awards Winners
POP or ROCK MUSIC
SOUL/RHYTHM & BLUES MUSIC
ALTERNATIVE ROCK MUSIC
ADULT CONTEMPORARY MUSIC
SPRINT NEW ARTIST OF THE YEAR
ARTIST OF THE YEAR
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