Vandross Wins Two Categories at AMA

Times Staff Writer

Veteran R&B; singer Luther Vandross, who suffered a stroke in April, won both awards for which he was nominated at the 31st annual American Music Awards ceremonies Sunday. Vandross, whose album "Dance With My Father" came out in June and entered the sales chart at No. 1, has been unable to perform since he was stricken.

The singer's mother, Mary Vandross, who played a prominent role in promoting the album, accepted the first of the two awards, for favorite male soul/R&B; artist. "Father" was named favorite album in that field. The two awards brought Vandross' career AMA total to eight.

"American Idol" winner Ruben Studdard sang Vandross' "Superstar" as a tribute during the nationally televised show, which was held at the Shrine Auditorium.

Speaking to the press afterward, Studdard called Vandross "my inspiration."

"American Idol" runner-up Clay Aiken won the fans' choice award, voted by viewers via the Internet, but lost to Kid Rock for favorite male pop/rock artist. Fleetwood Mac was named favorite band in that field, Jennifer Lopez top female, and Justin Timberlake's "Justified" favorite album.

The Los Angeles rock band Linkin Park won its first American Music Award, for alternative artist. Alabama's trophy as favorite country group was its 23rd AMA, the most of any performer.

R&B; singer Aaliyah, who died in a 2001 plane crash, won her third posthumous AMA when she was named favorite female soul/R&B; artist.

The soul/R&B; group award went to the Isley Brothers.

The rap/hip-hop winners were Missy Elliott, Lil' Jon & the East Side Boyz and 50 Cent (for album and male artist). Other winners in the country field were Tim McGraw, his wife Faith Hill and Toby Keith. Ricky Martin was voted favorite Latin artist, Steven Curtis Chapman was chosen in the contemporary inspirational category, and Celine Dion took the adult contemporary honor.

The three-hour show, hosted by comedian Jimmy Kimmel, featured performances by such artists as Britney Spears, Ashanti, Rod Stewart, OutKast and the Bomb Squad, a New York group that won the show's contest for unsigned bands.

The AMA winners are selected by a national sampling of 20,000 record buyers, who choose from a field of nominees determined by radio play and record sales.

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