Winners seem few and far between at American Music Awards

Tuesday, November 22nd 2005, 12:17 pm
By: News On 6

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Kelly Rowland of Destiny's Child had good reason to feel all alone at this year's American Music Awards: She was one of the few big-name stars to win an award and actually show up to take it home.

``This feels very awkward being up here by myself,'' Rowland said as she accepted the favorite band trophy in the soul-R&B category for her now-defunct group. ``I miss my girls.'' The group also won for soul-R&B album for ``Destiny Fulfilled.''

Former members Michelle Williams and Beyonce Knowles were not the only ones to stay away from Tuesday's awards. Also missing were award winners Green Day, Kelly Clarkson and Black Eyed Peas who, like Destiny's Child, each won a leading two awards.

Crooner R. Kelly and rappers Eminem and 50 Cent also let others accept their honors.

Country made a good showing though. Not only did stalwart duo Brooks & Dunn and singer Tim McGraw each take home trophies, but Atlanta trio Sugarland was named the night's breakthrough new artist. McGraw, Kenny Chesney, Keith Urban and Rascal Flatts also contributed country numbers to the night's performances.

Mariah Carey sang the show's opening song, ``Don't Forget About Us,'' in an eye-catching silver, sequined, slit-to-the-waist gown.

She changed into a cleavage-baring black dress to claim the night's first prize, for favorite female artist in the soul-R&B category. Nominated a leading four times, the pop diva took home just the one trophy.

``I'm so glad Mariah won that award,'' Kix Brooks said as he presented the next category. ``I need to see that dress again.''

The three-hour program was anchored by spirited performances from more than 20 artists, including a reunited Eurythmics and an inspired pairing of Cyndi Lauper and Sarah McLachlan for a soulful version of Lauper's 1980s hit ``Time After Time.''

Singer and style maven Gwen Stefani landed onstage in a hot air balloon shaped like an ice cream cone for a duet with rapper Pharrell. She had hardly finished the song when it was announced she had won the favorite female pop artist award.

``What did I win?'' asked Stefani who said she hadn't heard what award had just been announced. ``I guess whatever I won, I just want to say thank you to the fans, especially all my girls.''

Missy Elliott, who is recovering from a torn Achilles tendon, limped to the stage with the aid of a crutch to collect the favorite female artist award in the rap/hip-hop category. She dedicated the prize to singer Aaliyah, who died in a plane crash in 2001.

Later, she arrived backstage in a glittery green wheelchair.

``This is a male-dominated world,'' Elliott said. ``Females just gotta stand up and be strong and keep it going.''

Rapper 50 Cent's ``The Massacre'' won the favorite rap/hip-hop album award, but he was edged out for favorite male hip-hop artist by Eminem and by Will Smith for favorite pop-rock performer.

The Black Eyed Peas crossed genres to take home favorite group honors in both the rap/hip-hop and pop-rock categories.

In the country category, McGraw was named favorite male artist and his record, ``Live Like You Were Dying,'' took favorite album honors. Gretchen Wilson won the favorite female artist award and Brooks & Dunn were chosen as favorite group.

Green Day took home top pop-rock album honors for their 14-month-old political manifesto, ``American Idiot.'' The punk trio was also named favorite alternative artist.

Clarkson won the favorite adult contemporary artist award, and fans chose her, via text message, for the special T-Mobile text-in award.

Colombian-born Shakira, who picked up the favorite Latin music artist award, praised the trend toward the presentation of more Spanish music on U.S. radio.

``America is a cross-cultural open country and music is a language on its own,'' she said.

Sister act Mary Mary, named favorite contemporary inspirational artist, treated a backstage audience to an a Cappella sampling of their new material.

Nominees were chosen on the basis of record sales, with winners selected through a survey of about 20,000 listeners.

Comedian Cedric The Entertainer hosted the event, broadcast live on ABC from the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles.

Two more no-shows, sort of, were the Rolling Stones who nonetheless had the last word.

The band performed two songs via satellite from Salt Lake City, closing with ``It's Only Rock 'n' Roll (But I Like It).''