Chris Daughtry may not have won "American Idol,'' but his band, Daughtry, earned enough high honors at the American Music Awards on Sunday to share the spotlight with a more established artist, Justin Timberlake.

Daughtry won the breakthrough artist award and favorite adult contemporary artist.

Timberlake captured favorite pop-rock artist, and the award for soul/R&B album went to his "FutureSex/Love Sounds.''

Timberlake accepted by video from Australia. Last year's breakthrough artist, Carrie Underwood, was also a winner, for female country artist. She thanked her fellow musicians "for making great music and making me so proud to be a part of it.''

Rascal Flatts was named top country duo or group, Akon won favorite male soul/rhythm & blues artist, and Justin Timberlake won favorite male pop/rock artist.

All were among those who started the night with multiple nominations. Daughtry, Beyonce, Timberlake and Linkin Park had three nominations each, while Akon, Tim McGraw, Rascal Flatts, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, Young Jeezy, T.I. and Underwood had two nods each.

The night was punctuated with performances, including a mash-up between Beyonce and country duo Sugarland, who performed Beyonce's hit "Irreplacable.''

Backstage, Sugarland singer Jennifer Nettles admitted she was "nervous'' to sing with Beyonce, who she said was "so beautiful.'' Celine Dion performed her new song, "Taking Chances,'' and Lenny Kravitz sat at the piano to play his latest, "I'll Be Waiting.''

Fergie opened the show with a trio of songs from her debut album, followed by her main producer and Black Eyed Peas bandmate and his protege Nicole Scherzinger. Other performers included Maroon 5, Avril Lavigne, Rihanna, Rascal Flatts and teen stars the Jonas Brothers.

Another teen sensation, "High School Musical 2,'' won favorite soundtrack album.

After two weeks of writer-strike-imposed reruns of his late-night talk show, Jimmy Kimmel returned to live TV as host of the three-hour ceremony, broadcast live on ABC from the new Nokia Theatre in downtown Los Angeles. The show's basic script was written before the Writers Guild of America strike that began last week, but there were no writers to provide Kimmel with his trademark quips about current events.

Kimmel said the strike prevented him from writing any jokes for the show.

"It may not look like it, but I'm striking right now in my heart,'' he said, apologizing to the crowd for having to tolerate "made-up crap.''

Screaming fans cheered arriving stars before the show.

A dozen video screens on towers played songs by nominees, amplifying the energy outside the new venue, which has about 7,000 seats and is part of the new L.A. Live development.

"I saw it at rehearsal,'' presenter Josh Groban said of the theater. "It's amazing. It's a nice alternative to an arena.''

Now in its 35th year, the American Music Awards honor pop-rock, country, soul-rhythm & blues, rap-hip hop, Latin, alternative, soundtracks, adult contemporary and contemporary inspirational music. Nominees were selected based on national sales and radio play.

For the first time in show history, winners were chosen by public votes cast online.