Azalea wins 1st ever award, One Direction take 2
Breakthrough newcomer Iggy Azalea won her first award ever at the American Music Awards, taking down rap heavyweights Eminem and Drake.
Azalea won favorite rap/hip-hop album for her debut, "The New Classic."
"This award is the first award I've ever won in my entire life, and it means so much to me that it is for best hip-hop because that's what inspired me to move to America and pursue my dreams, and it's what helped me when I was a teenager to escape and to get through my life and to better times," the 24-year-old Australian rapper said Sunday at the Nokia Theatre L.A. Live, as her mentor T.I. stood beside her.
"And it means so much that I can stand here against Eminem and Drake and come out with this," she continued.
Azalea was the lead nominee with six, including artist of the year. She performed her massive hit, "Fancy," which is nominated for single of the year, as well as her new song, "Beg for It."
Taylor Swift kicked off the AMAs as a mad woman and man eater by feeding a boy a poisonous apple, holding burning roses and giving crazy eyes during a performance of her song about her dating life.
Swift sang her new No. 1 hit, "Blank Space," Sunday night at the Nokia Theatre L.A. Live. She was aggressive, grabbing her male dancers by their blazers and singing in character on bended knee. She even removed part of her dress to reveal a shimmery, leg-revealing gold number. She will receive the first-ever Dick Clark Award for Excellence, to be presented by Diana Ross.
One Direction won the night's first award for favorite band, duo or group — pop/rock, beating out Imagine Dragons and OneRepublic. They also won favorite album — pop/rock for "Midnight Memories."
"This has been a real perfect day ... America feels like a second home to us," Liam Payne said onstage with his band mates.
One Direction is still up for the night's top award — artist of the year. They are contending with Beyoncé, Luke Bryan, Katy Perry and Azalea, who will close Sunday's show with a performance alongside Jennifer Lopez for "Booty."
Ariana Grande took the stage to sing lounge-y, piano-versions of her upbeat hits "Problem" and "Break Free." She followed that with a duet of her latest hit, "Love Me Harder," with The Weeknd, as Grande's older brother jumped up in joy, MAGIC! leader Nasir Atweh sang along and Heidi Klum bopped her head.
Swift was also a cheerleader when her friend Lorde thrashed and sang onstage.
Sam Smith, who also performed, is up against Azalea for new artist of the year. He won favorite male artist — pop/rock.
"Genuinely from my heart I didn't think I was going to be winning this. This is unreal," the British singer said, who beat Pharrell and John Legend. "But mainly, thank you to my fan base. You guys are amazing, and last year I wrote an album about being lonely and tonight, I couldn't feel further from lonely, so thank you so much."
Host Pitbull followed Swift's performance with a string of jokes, and he also performed with R&B singer Ne-Yo. The night will feature a slew of A-Listers onstage, including Garth Brooks, Fergie, Selena Gomez, Lil Wayne, Lorde and Nicki Minaj.
Perry, Pharrell and John Legend, none of which attended Sunday's show, are up for multiple awards. Their hits "Dark Horse," ''Happy" and "All of Me" will compete with "Fancy" and MAGIC!'s "Rude" for single of the year. All of the songs reached No. 1 on Billboard's Hot 100 chart.
Bryan, who was named entertainer of the year at the Country Music Association Awards this month, took home favorite male artist — country.
"I wanna thank God above for letting me tour night in and night out on the road. I want to thank the fans for making it possible to stand up here and win the awards," he said, also thanking "my band, my crew, bus driver, momma and them, you know."
Katy Perry won favorite female artist — pop/rock, and accepted her award from Australia where she is on tour. Carrie Underwood was named favorite female artist — country and Beyonce's self-titled album won favorite album — soul/R&B
The soundtrack for "Frozen," the year's top-selling album, won top soundtrack.
Follow Mesfin Fekadu at twitter.com/MusicMesfin