Eminem would have walked away from Los Angeles' Shrine Auditorium with the most American Music Awards Monday night, had he walked in to begin with.
The rapper led all other artists with four wins at the 30th annual event (see photos from the red carpet), making good on the four categories in which he was nominated: Favorite Male Artist, Pop/Rock; Favorite Male Artist, Hip-Hop/R&B; Favorite Album, Pop/Rock and Favorite Album, Hip-Hop/R&B. The last two wins stemmed from his latest album, The Eminem Show, which was the best-selling LP of 2002.
Actor Mekhi Phifer accepted the Favorite Hip-Hop/R&B album award for his "8 Mile" co-star, who said that even though Eminem wasn't there, he was there in spirit ... or at least on the celly.
"Hey y'all, this is Eminem on the phone," Phifer said from the podium with his mobile in hand.
Eminem wasn't the only VIP that was MIA. Two-time winners Creed and the Dixie Chicks were also absent from the ceremony. The rockers nabbed trophies for Favorite Band, Duo or Group in the Pop/Rock category, and Favorite Artist in the Alternative Music class; while the country trio wound up with wins for Favorite Band, Duo or Group and Favorite Album (Home) in the country category.
Of the attendees, Ashanti, who began the evening with the most nominations — five — stole the glory with her two wins: for Favorite New Hip-Hop/R&B Artist and New Pop Artist.
The event was hosted by the Osbourne family, who stamped their trademark cursing on the evening. Daughter Kelly served double duty by performing her single "Shut Up," while papa Ozzy observed from the wings.
Christina Aguilera performed "Impossible" and "Beautiful" from her album Stripped, and Ja Rule and Bobby Brown performed "Thug Lovin'," which appears on Ja's The Last Temptation. Other performances were given by Mariah Carey, Shania Twain, Missy Elliott, Matchbox Twenty, and Tim McGraw and Elton John, who opened the show with a duet of John's "Tiny Dancer."
The winners of the 30th annual American Music Awards:
- Favorite Male Artist - Pop or Rock: Eminem
- Favorite Female Artist - Pop or Rock: Sheryl Crow
- Favorite Band, Duo or Group - Pop or Rock: Creed
- Favorite Album - Pop or Rock: Eminem, The Eminem Show
- Favorite New Artist - Pop or Rock: Ashanti
- Favorite Male Artist - Hip-Hop/R&B: Eminem
- Favorite Female Artist - Hip-Hop/R&B: Mary J. Blige
- Favorite Band, Duo or Group - Hip-Hop/R&B: Outkast
- Favorite Album - Hip-Hop/R&B: Eminem, The Eminem Show
- Favorite New Artist - Hip-Hop/R&B: Ashanti
- Favorite Male Artist - Country: Tim McGraw
- Favorite Female Artist - Country: Martina McBride
- Favorite Band, Duo or Group - Country: Dixie Chicks
- Favorite Album - Country: Dixie Chicks, Home
- Favorite New Artist - Country: Carolyn Dawn Johnson
- Favorite Artist - Alternative Music: Creed
- Favorite Artist - Adult Contemporary Music: Celine Dion
- Favorite Artist - Latin Music: Enrique Iglesias
- Favorite Artist - Contemporary Inspirational Music: Avalon
- Favorite Soundtrack: "Spider-Man"
- Fan's Choice Award: Nelly
- Coca-Cola New Music Award: Moe Loughran