Taylor Swift won in five categories — including overall artist of the year — at the 2009 American Music Awards presented Sunday (Nov. 22) at the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles. Swift was in London for rehearsals for Monday’s (Nov. 23) concert at Wembley Arena and accepted three of the fan-voted awards via satellite.
The other artist of the year nominees were Kings of Leon, Lady Gaga, Eminem and the late Michael Jackson.
“Music has never been, ultimately, about competition,” Swift said in accepting the night’s top honor. “To even be mentioned in a category with Michael Jackson — who we’ll miss and love forever — is an unimaginable honor. I just want to say I’m sending my love to the Jackson family and Janet for reaching out to me the way that you have.
“And to the fans, you have given me so much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving, and I hope you guys have an awesome Thanksgiving. I miss and I love you.”
Swift also won the favorite female artist award in the pop/rock and country categories, and she was named favorite adult contemporary artist in a field that included Daughtry and Jason Mraz. Her Fearless album was voted favorite country album.
In the country category, Keith Urban was named favorite male artist, and Rascal Flatts received their fourth consecutive award as favorite band, duo or group.
In one of the more interesting turns of the evening, Gloriana received the breakthrough artist of the year award. Fans voted via cell phone in the category sponsored by T-Mobile. The other contenders were Lady Gaga, Keri Hilson and Kid Cudi. Most media observers predicted Lady Gaga as the most likely winner.
Gloriana member Tom Gossin openly acknowledged the surprise factor of their win.
“We’re Gloriana from Nashville, Tenn.,” he said. “We’re a country group. Could we get a show of hands of everybody that just said, ’Who the heck is Gloriana?’ Well, you’re not alone.” He continued, “We’ve got so many people to thank … starting with Miss Taylor Swift. She believed in us and took us out on tour this year before anybody knew who we were, so thank you, Taylor.”
In accepting Rascal Flatts’ latest AMA honor, Gary LeVox told the crowd, “You guys have been amazing employers this year. Thank you. Keep employing us.” He went on to thank several of their business associates, including “all the accountants that take out taxes on every single thing we do.”
When Swift accepted the favorite female country artist award, she said, “I want to say thank you to country radio for giving fans a chance to hear my music. Thank you to everybody who came out to see my Fearless tour this summer and this year. Thank you to everybody who follows me on Twitter and goes to my Web site and fan sites. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. This means the world to me.”
In a three-hour show that leaned heavily toward pop, R&B and hip-hop, Keith Urban performed “Kiss a Girl,” and Carrie Underwood sang her latest No. 1 single, “Cowboy Casanova.”