LOS ANGELES (AP-CP) _ The Black Eyed Peas were triple winners at the 2006 American Music Awards on Tuesday. The hip-hop quartet was named favourite group twice, in the rap/hip hop and soul/rhythm & blues categories. They also won favourite rap/hip-hop album for "Monkey Business."
Expressing gratitude via satellite from Costa Rica, the band’s frontman, will.i.am, thanked fans and artists "for keeping hip-hop progressive and pushing it forward."
Joining the Peas in the winner’s circle was Vancouver-based Nickelback, who took home the trophy for best pop/rock album for "All the Right Reasons."
"This is extremely unexpected," marvelled lead singer Chad Kroeger, referring to the tough category that also included veteran rockers the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
"We just kinda showed up because we were supposed to give one of these away tonight," Kroeger said of his band, originally from Hanna, Alta. "We thought for sure the Chilies were gonna just like clean house tonight."
The Chili Peppers did clean up in two categories, taking the prizes for favourite alternative artist and favourite pop/rock group.
They accepted their award via satellite from London, with bass player Flea beat-boxing as lead singer Anthony Kiedis thanked "the American people."
Kelly Clarkson captured trophies for pop/rock female and adult contemporary artist, categories presented before the televised portion of the performance-filled show.
Among those performing was Canadian singer Nelly Furtado, who debuted her new single "Say It Right" as smoke swirled around the stage.
Rascal Flatts won favourite country group and the T-Mobile Text-In award, which is chosen by fans.
Mary J. Blige accepted the female soul/rhythm & blues artist award from surprise presenter Britney Spears.
The newly single Spears looked sleek in a knee-length cream-coloured frock and long blond hair.
Oscar winner Jamie Foxx was named favourite male soul/rhythm & blues artist.
"I’m like a rookie in this music thing," he said. "This means a lot more than you think, man."
Foxx wore a white tuxedo and sat behind a grand piano to perform "Wish U Were Here" from his 2005 album, "Unpredictable."
Dancehall singer Sean Paul was named favourite male pop/rock artist.
Among country honours, favourite female artist went to Faith Hill, male artist went to Toby Keith, and Tim McGraw’s "Greatest Hits Volume 2" was favourite album. Country singer and American Idol Carrie Underwood was named favourite breakthrough artist.
Eminem was favourite male rap/hip-hop artist. Shakira won favourite Latin artist and Kirk Franklin captured the award for contemporary inspirational music.
"I know that a lot of people that say that they’re Christians _ you know, we don’t always represent, and we don’t always live it and we do sometimes some very stupid things, and you know we’re not doing a good job," said Franklin, wearing blue jeans with a black velvet tuxedo jacket. "I want to make sure that when you see my life that it’s a life that I’m gonna be proud of."
Talk-show host Jimmy Kimmel kicked off the three-hour ceremony at the Shrine Auditorium, televised live on ABC, with a skit that placed a ringer for Spears’ ex, Kevin Federline, into a wooden crate dumped into the ocean. Kimmel cracked that Federline was the world’s first "no-hit wonder."
Beyonce began the show, belting out her single "Irreplaceable" while vamping around the stage in a sparkly sequined minidress. The Pussycat Dolls also chose sequins for their performance, while Furtado opted for a skin-tight white dress and stick-straight hair.
Gwen Stefani made a stylish return to the music scene, performing the single "Wind It Up" from her forthcoming album, "The Sweet Escape." The new mom, wearing a skimpy sequined shift and a shoulder-length platinum bob, yodelled and rapped convincingly throughout the tune.
Not to be outdone, rapper Jay-Z stepped out of retirement and back into the spotlight, accompanied by scantily clad dancers as he performed the single "Show Me What You Got" from his new record, "Kingdom Come."
Lionel Richie made a festive return to the awards. Introduced by his diminutive daughter, Nicole Richie, the former Commodore performed a medley that included his ’80s party anthem, "All Night Long."
Barry Manilow performed a medley of favourites from his latest collection, "The Greatest Songs of the Sixties."
The American Music Awards honour the best in pop/rock, country, soul/rhythm & blues, rap/hip hop, Latin, alternative, adult contemporary and contemporary inspirational music. Nominees were chosen based on record sales and winners were selected by a survey
of about 20,000 listeners.