Country-pop star Taylor Swift scored big at the American Music Awards, taking home four wins including the night’s top prize for artist of the year, as some of pop music’s biggest names came together for the fan-voted awards ceremony.
Swift, 23, beat out Justin Timberlake, Rihanna, Bruno Mars and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis to win artist of the year for the third time, the most times an artist has won the category.
She also won favourite female pop/rock artist, female country artist and country album for her 2012 record Red which featured songs about love and heartbreak.
“This validates that if you voted for this, that we are heartbroken in the same way and we fall in love the same way and we’re happy in the same way, and if you listen to this, we’re on the same page ... we’re pretty much in it together,” Swift said breathlessly as she accepted the final award.
Timberlake, 32, who returned to the musical spotlight this year after a five-year hiatus with The 20/20 Experience, was nominated in five categories and won three, including favourite male pop/ rock artist. The singer performed Drink You Away with his Tennessee Kids band on stage.
Newcomer hip-hop duo Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, who led the nominees with six nods and came away with two wins including best rap/hip-hop artist, used their acceptance speech to address a social issue.
“I want to acknowledge Trayvon Martin and the hundreds and hundreds of kids who die every year due to racial profiling ... it’s time we look out for the youth and fight racism and the laws that protect it,” Macklemore said. Martin, an unarmed black teenager, was shot dead in Florida in 2012. A jury this year cleared the white, Hispanic gunman, George Zimmerman, of second-degree murder.
The American Music Awards nominees and winners are chosen by the public, who vote online and via Twitter
One Direction, whose fans were lined up outside the red carpet to get a glimpse of them, beat Swift and Timberlake for the best pop/rock album for Take Me Home and also won favourite pop/rock group. Other winners included Luke Bryan for favourite male country artist, Swedish DJ Avicii as favourite electronic dance music artist, and singer Marc Anthony for favourite Latin artist.
R&B singer Rihanna, 25, was given the first ever Icon accolade at the American Music Awards.
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