The 2010 American Music Awards aired live at 8 p.m. ET on ABC from the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles and featured performances from Rihanna, Bon Jovi, Katy Perry, Backstreet Boys and many others. Justin Bieber was the big winner of the night, earning four awards, including ‘Artist of the Year.’
He beat a list that featured veterans Eminem and Usher as well as Katty Perry and Lady Gaga. Bieber became the youngest performer ever to capture the entertainer award. Bieber also won Favourite Pop/Rock album, Favourite Pop/Rock Male, and the show’s Breakthrough Artist award.
“To see Justin take the award – having received that award before – it was like an out of body experience, you understand?” Usher said backstage. “It was emotional. I don’t cry that often, but I did. Hopefully it gives an indication of how hard we worked to build a career that hopefully will flourish and blossom over the years.”
During his trips to the stage, Bieber repeatedly thanked his fans and reflected on his unlikely rise to fame. “I’m from the smallest town in the world of, like, 30,000 people,” he said as he accepted the breakthrough artist award. “I never thought this was possible.”
Bieber, who was raised in Stratford, Ontario, but now lives in the United States, is perhaps the hottest new commodity in the music world. His album “My World 2.0” has sold almost 2 million copies in the United States since its release earlier this year, and his public appearances turn into mob scenes.
Rihanna opened the 2010 American Music Awards with a fiery performance of a mash-up of “What’s My Name?” and “Only Girl In the World” which are the two singles off of her latest album, “Loud.”
Usher won the first award of the night for Favorite Soul/R&B Album with “Raymond v. Raymond,” he was also nominated for Favorite Male Artist and Favorite Album. The other artists who were up for the award were Alicia Keys and Sade.
Jenny McCarthy and John Legend presented the Favorite Pop Rock Band, Duo or Group, which went to the Black Eyed Peas. They were up for the award along with Lady Antebellum and Train.
Enrique Iglesias rocked his bawdy banger “Tonight” for the first time, swapping out the potty-mouthed lyrics for network-TV-friendly lines, crooning, ‘Please excuse me; I don’t mean to be rude; But tonight I’m loving you’.
The Spanish superstar got the help of marching-band drummers and Cuban rapper Pitbull for ‘I Like It’ Teen queen Miley Cyrus followed up with a subdued performance.
Hitting the stage in a long, dark gown a far cry from the teeny, skin-baring looks she often favors in concert Cyrus sang “Forgiveness and Love” surrounded by tons of lit candles.
Jessica Alba presented the Favorite Country Female Artist award which went to Taylor Swift; the other nominees were Miranda Lambert and Carrie Underwood. This is Taylor’s seventh AMA award and the third-in-a-row for this category.
Samuel L. Jackson introduced Kid Rock’s performance of “Times Like These” from his new album “Born Free.” The low-key song is dedicated to his home city of Detroit. While Kid Rock played, a slideshow of photos from Detroit played in the background.
The Black Eyed Peas went on stage to perform “The Time (The Dirty Bit)” and they began the song in what appeared to be individual glass elevators which went up and down and their dancers wore illuminated cubes on their heads. The band also announced their upcoming album, “The Beginning” which comes out November 30.
Katy Perry’s performance opened with a boy’s choir wearing red glitter bowties, which complimented Perry’s glittered floor-length red gown.
Perry performed “Firework” while male dancers wearing black tuxes and matching red glitter bowties moved around her, shooting off sparklers. Katy Perry removed the skirt of her gown to reveal a red halter jumpsuit, while the screens above her played videos of exploding fireworks.
Willow Smith took to the stage alone to introduce Justin Bieber’s performance of “Pray.” Bieber played his own piano accompaniment and wore a white button-up with black leather detailing and black leather pants. The singer sang earnestly while inspirational photos streamed on the screens behind him. He was joined on stage by a full gospel choir.
British pop singer Natasha Bedingfield presented the award for T-Mobile Breakthrough Artist. Justin Bieber took home the award. The other nominees were B.o.B, Taio Cruz, Jason Derulo, Ke$ha, Lady Antebellum, Travie McCoy and Mike Posner. Bieber said “I came from the smallest town in the world… I never thought this was possible.”
Kelly Osbourne introduced Pink, who performed “Raise Your Glass” with a crew of hip hop dancers who had some impressive gymnastic moves and there was a skateboard ramp and two boarders skating on stage.
Ne-Yo performed four songs from his recently released album “Libra Scale.” He started off with “Champagne Life,” which was followed by “One in a Million,” “Telekinesis” and “Beautiful Monster.” He wore suspenders and was accompanied by a crew of dancing ladies and gents.
Taylor Swift came up next, surrounded by trees lit with blue Christmas lights and she descended from the ceiling on a platform with her piano.
She played a mash-up of her singles “Back to December” and “Apologize” which are both about recent relationships. While she performed, fake snow fell and she was accompanied by her band and several string instrumentalists.
Christina Aguilera took to the stage to perform “Express,” the theme song from her upcoming movie, “Burlesque.” The stage was set-up like a backstage dressing room and scantily-clad dancers mounted chairs and strut around Aguilera.
A pregnant Pink was also among the evening’s performance highlights. Unlike recent performances marked by a high-wire act, she stayed close to the ground to perform her latest song, Raise Your Glass, but thrilled nonetheless with a tightly choreographed, high-energy dance number.
Ke$ha, perhaps trying to make up for the absent Lady Gaga, had the night’s most bizarre performance: she performed her heavily Auto-Tuned hit ‘Take It Off’ looking like something out of space, with beams of light for eyes and sporting a motorcycle helmet.
The 2010 AMA show was closed with a collaboration between 1990s boy bands ‘New Kids On The Block’ and the ‘Backstreet Boys.’ They performed a medley of their hits including ‘Everybody’ and the classic number one hit ‘Hangin’ Tough.’
The two groups also sang Backstreet Boys song ‘I Want It That Way’ and New Kids on the Block hit ‘Step By Step’ before confetti fell and the show ended. [ABC’s American Music Awards via The Telegraph (UK), On the Red Carpet and MTV]