Exclusive: Rihanna to receive ‘Icon’ honor at American Music Awards

Rihanna performed at Staples Center, during a stop on her "Diamonds World Tour, in downtown Los Angeles, April 8, 2013.
Rihanna performed at Staples Center, during a stop on her “Diamonds World Tour, in downtown Los Angeles, April 8, 2013.
(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

Rihanna is in the running for four trophies at the 2013 American Music Awards, including artist of the year, but the singer will be given the night’s biggest honor: the Icon Award.

The Barbadian pop diva will be the first artist to score the special merit award, producers for the awards told The Times on Thursday. Rihanna is also scheduled to perform on the telecast.

“The first-ever Icon Award was created to honor an artist whose body of work has made a profound influence over pop music on a global level,” show producer Larry Klein said. “Rihanna’s iconic and innovative sound has enabled her to become one of the most influential and bestselling artists of all time.”


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Since her 2005 debut, the 25-year-old has undoubtedly become one of the biggest forces in pop music.

She’s issued a staggering seven albums in just seven years -- each armed with a set of slinky, chart-toppers (with 12 of those landing at No. 1)..

Her consistent onslaught of material -- for four consecutive years she’s released a new album in November -- has allowed the singer an unrivaled radio, chart and pop cultural dominance.

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She’s sold 50 million albums and 180 million singles worldwide, making her the bestselling digital artist of all time. And with 4 billion views on her oft-provocative music videos, she’s the most watched artist on Vevo/YouTube.


Rihanna joins a lineup of previously announced performers that includes Luke Bryan, Miley Cyrus, Florida Georgia Line, Lady Gaga, Ke$ha, Imagine Dragons, Kendrick Lamar, Jennifer Lopez, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, One Direction, Katy Perry, Justin Timberlake, TLC and Pitbull, who will host the telecast.

The American Music Awards will air live from the Nokia Theatre on Nov. 24 at 8 p.m., except on the West Coast where it will be tape-delayed.