Swift leads all artists with four awards, including Artist of the Year; Performance highlights came from Rihanna, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga and Miley Cyrus
Though plenty of stars shined at the 2013 American Music Awards, the night belonged most of all to Taylor Swift and Justin Timberlake. Both were tied for most awards won on the night -- three each -- until the "Red" star took home the most coveted of all -- Artist of the Year.
A grateful Swift referenced her devoted following in all her acceptance speeches, as AMAs are awarded based on online voting. "The fact that you voted for my music means we're on the same page," she beamed, while accepting the grand prize to cap off the night. "I'm 23 and I have no idea what's going to happen with my life!"
Swift and her album "Red" also took home awards for Favorite Country Album, Favorite Female Country Artist, and Favorite Female Pop/Rock Artist.
|AMERICAN MUSIC AWARDS 2013|
Justin Timberlake and his "20/20 Experience" series also continued their dominance of 2013's pop music landscape, as they captured three awards. Timberlake and his 2013 opus took home the awards for Favorite Male Pop/Rock Artist, Favorite Soul/R&B Album, and Favorite Male Soul/R&B Artist.
Along with his band, the Tennessee Kids, Timberlake added one of the evening's standout performances -- a guitar-heavy rendition of "Drink You Away," complete with a bartender serving drinks at a makeshift bar onstage.
Timberlake's winnings also included one of the evening's most memorable award announcements. Introducing the finalists for Favorite Soul/R&B Album, comedian Sarah Silverman joked that the Barbadian-born Rihanna was going up against "a white guy from 'The Mickey Mouse Club' (Timberlake) and the son of the dad from 'Growing Pains' (Robin Thicke)" for the prize. Further proving the scope of JT's appeal, the former "Mickey Mouse Club" star picked up the Soul/R&B award, along with the male artist prize for Pop/Rock. Afterwards, he quipped, "I think that's the first time I've ever been racially profiled by a white woman."
The 41st annual American Music Awards, held at downtown Los Angeles' Nokia Theater, were hosted by Mr. Worldwide himself, Pitbull. Following a geisha-inspired Katy Perry performance of "Unconditionally," the Latin sensation opened the night by musing about how he prefers to picture audiences naked while onstage. In true Pitbull fashion, his opening some ogling of bootylicious female dancers. Later on, he joined Ke$ha for a performance of their hit collaboration, "Timber."
Presented by Kohl's, the coveted New Artist of the Year award was won by Ariana Grande, who also provided a stirring, emotive performance of her song "Tattooed Heart."
It was also a big night for Rihanna. In addition to winning Favorite Female Soul/R&B Artist, her staggering career accomplishments were honored when she accepted the AMAs' Icon Award. The 25-year old singer's own mother, Monica Braithwaite, brought out the prize, and reminisced on her daughter's career, beginning with how she used to practice her vocals back home in Barbados.
"Just about 20 years ago is when I really started making your life a living hell with my annoying little husky man voice, you would call it," Rihanna said. "And I mean just disrupting the entire neighborhood. Westbury Road, Barbados, they could tell you that’s the truth. I annoyed every one of my neighbors."
In an unexpected but well-received gesture, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis used their stage time in accepting the award for Favorite Rap/Hip-Hop Album to raise awareness against racial profiling. "I was talking to my friend before the show and he reminded me of a great Martin Luther King quote," began Macklemore. "'Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,' and due to the fact that we are in Florida tonight accepting this award, I want to acknowledge Trayvon Martin and the hundreds and hundreds of kids that are dying due to racial profiling and the violence that follows it."
Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, checking in from Miami, also provided an in-concert performance of "Can't Hold Us" (along with singer Ray Dalton) via a video feed.
Although they weren't up for any awards, Lady Gaga and Miley Cyrus delivered some of the night's most memorable performances. Gaga teamed with her "Do What U Want" co-star R. Kelly for a rendition of the song that attempted to outdo their memorable "SNL" collab. With Kellz acting as the president and Gaga as his secretary, the duo tore through the song, along with an extended spoken-word intro.
Cyrus' performance of "Wrecking Ball" wasn't as intricate, though it's likely to haunt just as many people's memories. While she rocked out to her former-No.1 single, a video of an enormous cat mouthed along to every lyric.
For a more detailed list of all the night's awards, check out Billboard's full winners list here.