Taylor Swift wins three trophies at 39th annual gala

The Associated Press ~ staff The Thelegram
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British singer Adele also wins three awards

Taylor Swift accepts the award for country favourite female artist at the 39th Annual American Music Awards Sunday.Photos by The Associated Press

Taylor Swift was crowned artist of the year at the American Music Awards for a second time.

"This is so crazy!" the country superstar said after beating such contenders as Adele, Lady Gaga and Katy Perry to capture all three awards that she was nominated for at Sunday's ceremony, including artist of the year, the show's highest accolade that she previously claimed in 2009.

"I ended up writing the record by myself, so the fact that you would honour it this way, you have no idea what this means to me," said Swift after winning the trophy for favourite country album for "Speak Now." She was also awarded the prize for favourite country female artist.

Nicki Minaj, the pink-loving hip-hop diva, won two awards Sunday. She kicked off the 39th annual fan-favourite ceremony by sporting a pair of speakers on her much-talked about posterior and was later honoured as favourite rap/hip-hop artist, besting a group that included mentor Lil Wayne, and won favourite rap/hip-hop album for "Pink Friday."

"There's so much love in this room," beamed the pink-haired Minaj.

Adele had been the night's leading nominee with four nods, but didn't have much of a presence at the show: she was absent from the ceremony because she is recovering from recent throat surgery. Adele tied Swift with three awards: favourite pop/rock female artist, adult contemporary artist and pop/rock album for "21."

Other winners included Maroon 5 as favourite pop-rock band/duo/group, Blake Shelton as favourite country male artist, Lady Antebellum as favourite country band/duo/group, Beyonce as favourite soul/R&B female artist, Rihanna for favourite soul/R&B album for "Loud" and Hot Chelle Rae as new artist of the year.

The ceremony inside the Nokia Theatre in an unusually rainy Los Angeles was drenched with 17 musical performances.

Justin Bieber got in the holiday spirit among a forest of neon lights with "Under the Mistletoe," and Kelly Clarkson, wearing a glittery red gown with her hair swept to the side, delivered a swinging rendition of her hit "Mr. Know It All" as back-up dancers dressed as 1930s-era photographers snapped the first-ever "American Idol" champion.

Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony shared custody of rapper Pitbull, who joined the former couple in a pair of separate performances. Lopez performed essentially a live version of a car commercial starring the "Idol" judge set to "Papi" - with the car onstage - before launching into her hit "On the Floor." Pitbull later returned to the stage and joined Anthony for "Rain Over Me."

Lopez expressed surprise when she won the favourite Latin music artist award.

"It's been up and down and just exciting and overwhelming and so many things," Lopez said of the last year.

Several artists delivered stripped-down performances: The Band Perry crooned an emotional "If I Die Young," a pink-haired Perry accompanied herself on guitar for "The One That Got Away" and a platinum-blonde Chris Brown simply sang "All Back" before being joined by a troop of helmet-clad back-up dancers for a flashy interpretation of "Say It With Me."

There were collaborations, too. Lopez joined a glowing-in-the-dark will.i.am for his new single "Hard." Christina Aguilera dueted with Maroon 5 on their "Moves Like Jagger," and then Maroon 5 lead singer Adam Levine teamed with Gym Class Heroes for their hit "Stereo Hearts." Bieber joined LMFAO in animal-print pants for the show's finale, which ended with everyone on stage - including David Hasselhoff - stripping down to smiley-face underwear.

AP entertainment writer Sandy Cohen contributed to this report.

Organizations: Nokia Theatre

Geographic location: Los Angeles

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