The fans have spoken, and apparently America has not had enough of Justin Bieber. Or at least the Internet-savvy, Bieber-Fever sufferers who voted online.
While Nicki Minaj and Rihanna were favored to dominate the 40th Annual AMA’s, having received four nominations each, the Biebster swept the awards in each of the three categories in which he was nominated: Favorite Pop/Rock Album, Favorite Male Pop/Rock Artist, and the night’s crowing award, Artist of the Year. Perhaps appropriately, many of the evening’s more memorable moments happened with Bieber on the stage—from calling out the haters “who thought that maybe I was just here for one or two years” during his first acceptance speech, to Jenny McCarthy sneak-attacking him from behind with a flurry of kisses during his second acceptance, to bringing his mother onstage for the Artist of the Year award. Even his live performance was memorable, if momentarily awkward; with Bieber fresh on the heels of a breakup with Selena Gomez, it seemed a little surreal to hear Nicki Minaj mention his ex in her guest rap on “Beauty and a Beat”, even if she was remaining true to the original recording.
In other moments of note during the AMA’s, Rihanna and Minaj did not go home empty-handed, grabbing one and two awards, respectively; boy band sensations The Wanted and One Direction, however, did. (Go home empty-handed, that is.) Carly Rae Jepsen predictably snagged New Artist of the Year, while the AMA’s first award in the Electronic Dance Music Category fell to David Guetta, beating out Calvin Harris and Skrillex. (Guetta accepted the award via pre-taped speech). The late Dick Clark, creator of the AMA’s, was honored with a special tribute featuring a medley by Stevie Wonder, and K-Pop star Psy closed the show with a live performance of his viral dance sensation “Gangnam Style.” The number featured a surprise appearance by MC Hammer, who had spawned a dance craze of his own in the late 1980’s.
Unlike the Grammy Awards, where winners are voted on by industry insiders, the AMA’s essentially represent the popular vote by music consumers. For the past several years, voting for the nominees has occurred online. Justin Bieber’s big win came as a direct result of an active fan base going online to vote.