Jay-Z, Alicia Keys Rock American Music Awards With 'Empire State Of Mind'

Keys begins song with excerpt of 'New York, New York.'

The #1 single in the country got a royal introduction Sunday night (November 22) at the American Music Awards. New York Yankees star Alex Rodriguez had the honor of telling the audience that [artist id="1269"]Jay-Z[/artist] and [artist id="503203"]Alicia Keys[/artist] were taking the stage.

"It's been a great year for New York," A-Rod said. "We took the World Series ..."

Some people in the audience started to boo — after all, the awards are taking place in Los Angeles, Dodger and Angel territory, and the Bronx Bombers defeated the Angels on their way to their World Series championship.

"I'm proud to present one of New York's finest, my friend Jay-Z and Alicia Keys."

After the intro, Keys was on the main stage, accompanying herself on the piano while she sang "New York, New York," the classic made world-famous by Frank Sinatra.

Meanwhile, the man who says he's the the modern-day version of Ol' Blue Eyes leaned on the piano, wearing a white tux jacket, black pants, a bow tie and sunglasses.

After a few moments, the beat for "Empire State of Mind" kicked in and most of the audience rose to their feet. Mary J. Blige, Perez Hilton, Whitney Houston and many others were seen dancing in the audience. "Concrete jungle where dreams are made ..."

Meanwhile, Jay remained as cool as family of polar bears, rapping most of the song with the mic in his right hand and his left in his pocket. "If Jeezy is paying LeBron, I'm paying Dwyane Wade."

The words "New York" scrolled across screens on the stage, while a battery of men and women dressed in elegant finery played grand pianos. As the song came to an end, Alicia joined Jay at the front of the stage. She wore an all-black ensemble that revealed most of her back. As Keys hit the song's last notes, she threw up the "I love you" sign while Jay stood with both arms outstretched.