American Music Awards voters gotta have faith Faith Hill, that is.
The singer walked away from Monday's ceremony with three awards, followed closely by emotive rockers Creed and sultry soul songstress Toni Braxton, with two apiece.
As is typical of the awards which are based on a poll of around 20,000 music buyers who vote on nominees narrowed down by Soundscan and Radio & Records chart data no single performer dominated the evening, à la Carlos Santana at last year's Grammy Awards.
But Hill managed to snag two awards in the country category for Favorite Female Artist and Favorite Album, for Breathe as well as Favorite Female Artist, Pop or Rock. A singer but not a writer, Hill went out of her way to pay thanks to the folks who penned such hits as "Breathe" and "The Way You Love Me." "I don't write songs; I wish I did," she said. "I don't know what I'd do without the songs." Hill's husband, Tim McGraw, won the evening's Favorite Country Male Artist award.
Britney Spears and L.L. Cool J hosted the show, though Spears' on-screen time was minimal a few introductions and an elaborate version of "Stronger," staged in a futuristic junkyard with a dozen or so scantily clad female dancers writhing as Spears appeared to lip-sync the lyrics to her latest single.
Spears and L.L. Cool J opened the show with an awkward discussion about the teen diva's clothes. "I was promised you'd be wearing something nasty," L.L.
Cool J said, toying with a scarf on Spears' side-strap, sequined pink evening gown. "Critics say if you want to be a serious musician, you have to wear serious clothes," Spears retorted, before ripping off the gown to reveal a purple, gold and lime-green two-piece halter and mini-miniskirt.
For the most part, though, presenters from 'NSYNC to Kelly Price to Nelly dispensed with the forced jocularity usually found in awards outings, diving into the nominees with little or no bantering. One of the evening's few spontaneous moments came when actor-turned-dot-com shill William Shatner joked with country duo Brooks & Dunn before announcing the winner of the new Internet Fans' Artist of the Year category, with the former Captain Kirk giving his rendition of Baha Men's "Who Let the Dogs Out" before giving the award to 'NSYNC.
That award based on Web page votes counted until 8:30 p.m. ET was the boy band's only win of the evening, despite the fact that the group posted the top album sales of 2000. Their No Strings Attached lost out to Creed's Human Clay for Favorite Pop or Rock Album, and boy-band rivals the Backstreet Boys bested the group in taking home the Favorite Pop or Rock Band, Duo or Group award.
Creed also won the Favorite Alternative Artist award. Braxton was the evening's only other multiple award winner, taking home trophies for Favorite Soul/Rhythm & Blues Female Artist and Favorite Soul/Rhythm & Blues Album for The Heat. Dr. Dre, whose late-1999 release, Dr Dre 2001, took a while to pick up steam but spent most of 2000 in the top half of the Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart, won the Favorite Rap/Hip-Hop award, beating Eminem and DMX.
This year's contest also featured a new category, the Favorite Techno Artist award, which was voted on via the Internet. Though the winner was not announced on Monday night's show, the official AMA Web site at midnight ET showed the Chemical Brothers with a comfortable 57.17 percent count, compared with Moby's 39.31 percent and Fatboy Slim's 3.5 percent.
Twice on Monday, performers received standing ovations. Thirteen-year-old country wunderkind Billy Gilman brought the audience to its feet with a spot-on rendition of his hit "One Voice" Gilman later won the Favorite New Country Artist award, beating out Alecia Elliott and Keith Urban. After a video montage of their musical history, Aerosmith again got the audience standing with their latest single, "Jaded," from the band's upcoming album. The Boston-based hard rockers won the AMA's International Artist award, a noncompetitive honor that has previously gone to the Bee Gees, Led Zeppelin and Michael Jackson.
The night's other noncompetitive award, the Award of Merit, went to Janet Jackson, who accepted the trophy after another video history and an introduction by Los Angeles Lakers star Shaquille O'Neal.
Performers in the show ranged from SHeDAISY, who offered up a rocking
version of "I Will ... But" (during which Kassidy Osborne wore a sleeveless
T-shirt with the classic image of a 1950s Johnny Cash flipping a bird) to
Marilyn Manson, who managed to get in audience member Ed McMahon's face
while prancing up the aisle during "Disposable Teens."
28th American Music Award winners:
Favorite Male Artist, Pop or Rock Music
Favorite Female Artist, Pop or Rock Music
Favorite Band, Duo or Group, Pop or Rock Music
Favorite New Artist, Pop or Rock Music
3 Doors Down
Favorite Album, Pop or Rock Music
Creed, Human Clay
Favorite Male Artist, Soul/Rhythm & Blues
Favorite Female Artist, Soul/Rhythm & Blues
Favorite Band, Duo or Group, Soul/Rhythm & Blues
Favorite New Artist, Soul/Rhythm & Blues
Favorite Album, Soul/Rhythm & Blues
Toni Braxton, The Heat
Favorite Male Artist, Country