Soul Stars Dominate American Music Awards
In a night dominated by soul music's new generation, Alicia Keys, Destiny's Child, and the late singer Aaliyah each won two American Music Awards tonight (Jan. 9) at the Shrine Auditorium in Los AngelIn a night dominated by soul music's new generation, Alicia Keys, Destiny's Child, and the late singer Aaliyah each won two American Music Awards tonight (Jan. 9) at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. Michael Jackson, the subject of a behind-the-scenes tussle between music's two biggest awards shows, accepted an Artist of the Century award. He didn't perform, though, and concluded a short acceptance speech in typically strange fashion by thanking his "other father, Marlon Brando."
Country's husband-and-wife team, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, were named favorite male and female artist, while McGraw's "Set This Circus Down" (Curb) was named favorite country album. Aaliyah, who died in a plane crash last summer, was named favorite female soul artist. She also won best soul album for her self-titled Blackground/Virgin set, and singer Ginuwine commanded a somber ovation in accepting the award in her honor.
Keys, whose J Records debut album "Songs in A Minor" was one of last year's top sellers, was named favorite new pop artist and favorite new soul artist. She had been nominated for five awards, more than anyone else. "This has been a fantastic year," said Keys, whose soulful hit, "Fallin'," dominated the airwaves over the summer.
Destiny's Child, wearing matching brown suede, beat out 'N Sync and the Dave Matthews Band for favorite pop album with "Survivor" (Columbia). The trio was also named favorite soul group. 'N Sync's Justin Timberlake noted some audience grumbling when the quintet won favorite pop group over U2 and the Dave Matthews Band. "Quit booing. U2's going to get Grammys," he said, in a nod to the Irish rock outfit's eight Grammy nominations.
Luther Vandross was named favorite soul artist for the sixth time. As a tribute to Beatles great George Harrison, who died of cancer last month, Vandross sang a medley of the Beatles' "Something" and Harrison's solo hit, "My Sweet Lord."
Recognizing the sales punch of inspirational music, the AMAs started a category to honor it. The initial award went to Yolanda Adams, who raised the roof by singing "Open Up My Heart." Yet, this year's ceremony had a racy tone: it featured Dick Clark wearing a dress, a bleeped expletive by host Sean "P. Diddy" Combs, and a lewd reference by Janet Jackson -- appearing via satellite from Japan -- to Lenny Kravitz's anatomy.
Most of the night's attention was focused on someone who isn't even among the nominees. Jackson's scheduled appearance prompted AMA producer Clark to sue the man in charge of the Grammys for $10 million last month. Clark alleged that Michael Greene, chairman/CEO of the Recording Academy, had threatened to deny Jackson an opportunity to perform at next month's Grammys if Jackson showed up at the American Music Awards. Clark claimed Greene has used such tactics for years to siphon talent from the AMA show, which always airs before the February Grammy telecast. Greene has denied the charges.
While Jackson accepted his award on ABC, he was shown performing "You Rock My World" on CBS, which was rerunning the Jackson concert special it first aired in November. A Clark spokesperson said the AMAs had planned to run a taped performance of Jackson, but were asked by "Jackson's representatives" not to air it.
Among the evening's other performers were Britney Spears, Kid Rock, Cher, Kravitz, Shaggy, Toby Keith, and Combs.
For a full list of winners at the 29th annual American Music Awards, visit the event's official Web site.
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