AMA idols: Daughtry, Beyonce, Timberlake

Daughtry (music group)TelevisionAmerican Music AwardsEntertainmentCarrie UnderwoodRascal Flatts (music group)Beyonce

Chris Daughtry may not have won "American Idol" -- but his band,Daughtry, won the breakthrough artist award at the American MusicAwards on Sunday. Carrie Underwood, who won the award last year,presented it to the rockers, who thanked God and their wives.

Rascal Flatts was named top country duo or group.

Both bands were among those who started the night with multiplenominations. Daughtry, Beyonce, Justin Timberlake and Linkin Parkhad three nominations each, while Akon, Tim McGraw, Rascal Flatts,Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, Young Jeezy, T.I. and Carrie Underwood hadtwo nods each.

They were the center of a full roster of celebrity performers,including Mary J. Blige, Alicia Keys, Queen Latifah, Chris Brown,Celine Dion, Duran Duran, Sugarland, Maroon 5, Lenny Kravitz andRihanna.

Fergie opened the show with a trio of songs from her debut album,followed by her main producer and Black Eyed Peas and his protege Nicole Scherzinger.

The list of presenters was just as stellar, with ChristinaApplegate, James Blunt, Blair Underwood, Tony Hawk, Snoop Dogg,Slash, Gene Simmons and Usher among those set to hand out trophiesin 20 categories.

After two weeks of writer-strike-imposed reruns of his late-nighttalk show, Jimmy Kimmel returned to live TV as host of thethree-hour ceremony, broadcast live on ABC from the new NokiaTheatre in downtown Los Angeles. The show's basic script waswritten before the strike began last week, but there were nowriters to provide Kimmel with his trademark quips about currentevents.

Kimmel said the Writers Guild of America strike prevented him fromwriting any jokes for the show.

"It may not look like it, but I'm striking right now in my heart,"he said, apologizing to the crowd for having to tolerate "made-upcrap."

Screaming fans cheered arriving stars before the show.

A dozen video screens on towers played songs by nominees,amplifying the energy outside the new venue, which has about 7,000seats and is part of the new L.A. Live development.

"I saw it at rehearsal," presenter Josh Groban said of the theater."It's amazing. It's a nice alternative to an arena."

Now in its 35th year, the American Music Awards honor pop-rock,country, soul-rhythm & blues, rap-hip hop, Latin, alternative,soundtracks, adult contemporary and contemporary inspirationalmusic. Nominees were selected based on national sales and radioplay.

For the first time in show history, winners were chosen by publicvotes cast online.

Associated Press writer Beth Harris contributed to this report.

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