2011 American Music Awards: Performances, Awards & Announcements

Posted November 21, 2011 by J Matthew Cobb in Features

Bad ratings, Taylor Swift’s reign and J.Lo’s still got love for Anthony; these are the 2011 AMA headlines

This year’s American Music Awards, the 39th celebration that gives out trophies to fan favorites, had his share of good performances and surprises. Last year’s show stunned viewers with Bieber fever and also producing the worst recorded ratings in AMA’s entire history. Well, the ratings this year were about the exact same, matching 2010’s all-time low (4.3 rating in adults 18-49).

ABC’s three-hour broadcast of the music kudos was actually up from the previous year in total viewers, averaging 12 million over the course of the night. It also posted its highest rating in teenagers (12-17) since 2004, up 24 percent from 2011. Its lead-in show, Countdown to the AMAs, performed terrible. Down 25 percent from the previous week’s America’s Funniest Home Videos, it brought in a 1.3 rating in adults 18.49. For the night, ABC averaged 10.14 million viewers and a 3.5 in the demo. The AMA’s reallyshould have awarded the night’s big winner, NBC’s Sunday Night Football, which aired a match-up of the Eagles vs. Giants.


Opening up the evening’s festivities, Nicki Minaj took the stage wearing a pair of speakers on her much-talked about derriere. The three-hour ceremony, held at Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles, also included performances from Justin Bieber, singing “Under the Mistletoe” material off of his new holiday album and Kelly Clarkson working a Big Band rendition into her latest single,“Mr. Know It All.” Christina Aguilera also joined Maroon 5 once again on stage for a rocking performance of “Moves Like Jagger.” The finale featured Bieber dancing around with dance-pop duo LMFAO wearing yellow zebra print pants on their summer party smash, “Party Rock Anthem.” As silly as it sounds, Baywatch star David Hasselhoff stripped down to his smiley face undies along with the rap pair.

Stripped down performances also dominated the night, with The Band Perry providing an intimate acoustic version of their Top 40 hit “If I Die Young,” Katy Perry singing “”The One That Got Away” with only a guitar in sight. A platinum blonde Chris Brown tried a laid-back “All Back” in his live routine, but pumped up the volume and energy on “Say It With Me.”

Jennifer Lopez joined will.i.amon his latest single “T.H.E. (…Hard),” while also trying to pump more steam into her “On The Floor” hit by dressing in a skimpy lustful dress using a medley of songs that included guest appearances from Pitbull and ex Marc Anthony. Awkward.


Taylor Swift seemed to rack up most of the trophies at this year’s celebration, thanks to her best-selling 2010 effort Speak Now. The fan-favorite album has sold over 5.5 million copies to date. She tied the night with Brit soul sensation Adele, winning three trophies each. Still, Swift was able to best Adele in the Best Artist category, also beating out heavyweights like Lady Gaga, Katy Perry and Lil Wayne. Adele was a no-show due to her recovery from vocal cord surgery, while also following doctor’s orders to encourage vocal rest.

Sidebar: Did you really think the Artist of the Year was actually going to go to a Brit? America has too much pride to do that.

Maroon 5 also won their first American Music Award in the category of Favorite Pop-Rock Band/Duo/Group. Beyonce picked up the trophy for Favorite Soul/R&B Female Artist, while Bruno Mars took home Favorite Pop/Rock Male Artist.

Also, one of the evening’s shockers included Nicki Minaj‘s bit wins over her mentor Lil Wayne in the categories of Favorite Rap/Hip-Hop Artist and Favorite Rap/Hip-Hop Album.

The other winners included:
Adele – Favorite Pop Album, Favorite Female Pop Artist, Favorite Adult Contemporary Artist
Foo Fighters – Favorite Alternative Rock Artist
Rihanna – Favorite Soul/R&B Album
Nicki Minaj – Favorite Rap/Hip-Hop Artist, Favorite Rap/Hip-Hop Album
Hot Chelle Rae – New Artist of the Year
Katy Perry – Special Achievement Award
Usher – Favorite Soul/R&B Male Artist
Lady Antebellum – Favorite Country Band/Duo/Group
Casting Crowns – Favorite Contemporary Inspirational Artist


No big surprises here. Selena Gomez and Justin Bieber locked lips, showing signs that they are still holding on as a couple amidst the paternity test scandal. In other relationship news, J.Lo seems to be at peace with soon-to-be-ex Marc Anthony, who she performed with on stage. The two were also spotted “hooking up” in Puerto Rico during the taping of Q’Viva! The Chosen, their Latin version of a super Star Search.

will.i.am. also performed his latest single, “T.H.E. (The Hardest Ever),” which features Jennifer Lopez and Mick Jagger and is expected to land on his upcoming solo album #willpower, which is slated to to hit stores next year.

The absence of many of the night’s big winners was also an obvious thorn in the show’s side. Beyonce wasn’t present to receive her award, citing a conflict of scheduling as the problem in a pre-recorded speech. Adele and Rihanna also wasn’t present to receive their awards.

So what did you think?
AMA’s rock? Suck?
Got it right?
Or was it disappointing?
Share your thoughts.

About the Author

J Matthew Cobb

Managing editor of HiFi Magazine

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