Eminem Sweeps American Music Awards

Times Staff Writer

Eminem was the big winner Monday at the 30th annual American Music Awards, taking home trophies in all four categories in which he was nominated.

The rapper, who did not attend the awards show at the Shrine Auditorium, won for favorite male artist in the pop/rock and hip-hop/R&B; fields. "The Eminem Show" was named favorite album in both fields too.

R&B; singer Ashanti, whose five nominations held the evening's record, won for favorite new artist in the hip-hop/R&B; field and the same honor in the pop/rock category. The award for favorite female artist in that field went to Mary J. Blige.

The Dixie Chicks claimed the trophy for favorite country album and another for favorite country group. Country star Tim McGraw won in the male artist category.

Carolyn Dawn Johnson was named favorite new country artist. Creed won favorite pop/rock group and the award for favorite alternative rock artist.

In the category of Latin music artist, the award went to Enrique Iglesias. Celine Dion won for favorite adult contemporary artist.

The soundtrack for "Spider-Man" was named the favorite film collection. Avalon won for favorite contemporary inspirational.

Alabama, the venerable country music collective, received the award of merit for its long career, which has included 21 American Music Awards. The latest in that bounty breaks the group's tie with Michael Jackson for the most trophies in the show's history.

Performers included Christina Aguilera, Ja Rule, Matchbox Twenty and Willie Nelson. Backstage, some veteran artists fielded questions about recent headlines regarding two members of iconic music groups that hit their zenith in the 1970s: Pete Townshend of the Who and Maurice Gibb of the Bee Gees.

Townshend was dealing Monday with accusations in England related to child pornography, while Gibb died over the weekend of cardiac arrest in Miami.

Elton John, who opened the show with a duet with McGraw, said he was "upset and sad" about Gibb's death.

John also said he was stricken by the unfolding predicament of his friend Townshend.

"I'm very shocked, and I hope it's not as bad as it sounds," John said. "I'm a friend of Pete's. I love Pete, and my thoughts are with him."

The show was hosted by Ozzy Osbourne; his wife, Sharon; daughter, Kelly; and son, Jack; the brood that has become the first family of heavy metal, famous for their unscripted, oddball home-life series on MTV. Aimee Osbourne, the daughter who does not appear on the TV series, was billed to appear but did not.

Unlike the Grammys, which will be staged in New York next month, the American Music Awards are based on sales success, radio airplay and consumer surveys of 20,000 music buyers, as opposed to a peer or academy vote.

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