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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Grammys Rivalry Mars AMA Glory

LOS ANGELES -- Five young ladies of soul swept the American Music Awards on Wednesday, while Michael Jackson received an anti-climactic award for "artist of the century."

Newcomer Alicia Keys, R&B trio Destiny's Child and late singer Aaliyah each won two prizes during the ceremony at the Shrine Auditorium, as did country singer Tim McGraw.

The tribute to Jackson was meant to provide a fitting climax to the three-hour ceremony. Instead it ended with a fizzle as Jackson took the stage to a standing ovation, thanked a long list of people, including actor Marlon Brando -- "my other father" -- and then split.

Instead of performing, he had submitted a newly produced video clip of his 1988 song "Man in the Mirror," but his representatives mysteriously asked event organizers to pull it at the last minute.

Acts who perform on the earlier show generally do not get invited to the more prestigious Grammy Awards in February, putting Jackson in a fix. He had initially backed out of the American Music Awards altogether, prompting show producer Dick Clark to file a $10 million lawsuit against Grammys boss Michael Greene for unfair competition.

In a change of heart, with Greene's blessing, Jackson decided to appear at the American Music Awards and bring along the video clip as a compromise. Instead, the audience was treated to a video montage of the Gloved One's greatest moments. (Jackson received a solitary Grammy nomination when the lineup was announced last week.)

Country artist Garth Brooks stepped into the fray by telling reporters backstage that the organizers of both events were hurting the music industry with their perennial feud.

"When you get to the thing where all you're trying to do is eliminate the other, then the only thing that suffers is the music and the people that make it. So I would say, 'Back off. You're nothing without the artists.'"

Meanwhile, Keys, who went into the evening with a leading five nominations, ended up with the prizes for favorite new artist in both the pop/rock and soul/rhythm & blues categories.

"This has been a fantastic year. This has been an unbelievable year," Keys, 20, told the crowd.

She thanked her beaming label boss Clive Davis "for seeing the vision," her family "for holding me down through the dark and the light" and "most importantly God and you, the fans."

Propelled by the gospel piano ballad "Fallin'," Keys' "Songs in A Minor" was the top-selling album by a rookie artist in 2001, and has sold almost 4.2 million copies to date. The New York native picked up six Grammy nominations when the lineup for that event was announced last week.

Keys lost the race for favorite female pop/rock artist to Janet Jackson, who accepted her award via satellite from Tokyo.

Aaliyah, who died in a plane crash in August, bested Keys in two categories: favorite album ("Aaliyah") and favorite female artist, both in the soul/R&B categories.

Show co-host Sean "P. Diddy" Combs said backstage that Aaliyah's victories were "God's work right there."

McGraw won the prizes for favorite male artist and favorite album ("Set This Circus Down"), both in the country category. But he made three trips to the stage since he accepted the favorite female country artist prize on behalf of his absent wife, Faith Hill, who recently had a baby.

Destiny's Child won both categories in which they had been nominated: favorite band duo or group (soul/R&B), while their album, "Survivor," won the prize for favorite pop/rock album.

Other winners included 'N Sync (favorite pop/rock album), Sade (favorite adult contemporary artist), Limp Bizkit (favorite alternative music artist), Brooks & Dunn (favorite band, duo or group -- country), Nelly (favorite rap/hip hop artist), Yolanda Adams (favorite contemporary inspirational), Enrique Iglesias (favorite Latin artist) and Nashville trio Trick Pony (favorite new country artist).

Veteran crooner Luther Vandross was named favorite male soul/R&B artist, the seventh American Music Award of his career.

"I never went away, but I'm glad to be back," said Vandross, whose storied career got a kick-start recently when he signed to J Records, the nascent label that is also home to Keys.

Vandross performed a version of late former Beatle George Harrison's "My Sweet Lord" during a tribute to artists who died in the past year.

The American Music Awards are determined by a survey of about 20,000 record buyers, while the Grammys, which take place in Los Angeles Feb. 27, are voted on by music-industry insiders.

Combs co-hosted the event with actress Jenny McCarthy. Performers included pop siren Britney Spears, veteran pop diva Cher, rockers Lenny Kravitz and Kid Rock, country singer Toby Keith and R&B heartthrob Usher.