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Justin Bieber gets plenty of love at American Music Awards 

  • Justin Bieber is smothered in kisses by presenter Jenny McCarthy as he accepts the award for favorite album - pop/rock for “Believe” at the 40th Anniversary American Music Awards on Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012, in Los Angeles. (Photo by John Shearer/Invision/AP)

    Justin Bieber is smothered in kisses by presenter Jenny McCarthy as he accepts the award for favorite album - pop/rock for “Believe” at the 40th Anniversary American Music Awards on Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012, in Los Angeles. (Photo by John Shearer/Invision/AP)

  • Justin Bieber performs at the 40th Anniversary American Music Awards on Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012, in Los Angeles. (Photo by John Shearer/Invision/AP)

    Justin Bieber performs at the 40th Anniversary American Music Awards on Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012, in Los Angeles. (Photo by John Shearer/Invision/AP)

  • MC Hammer, left, and PSY appear on stage at the close of the 40th Anniversary American Music Awards on Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012, in Los Angeles. (Photo by John Shearer/Invision/AP)

    MC Hammer, left, and PSY appear on stage at the close of the 40th Anniversary American Music Awards on Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012, in Los Angeles. (Photo by John Shearer/Invision/AP)

  • Nicki Minaj performs “Freedom” at the 40th Anniversary American Music Awards on Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP)

    Nicki Minaj performs “Freedom” at the 40th Anniversary American Music Awards on Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP)

  • Nicki Minaj accepts the award for favorite album - rap/hip-hop “Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded” at the 40th Annual American Music Awards on Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012, in Los Angeles. (Photo by John Shearer/Invision/AP)

    Nicki Minaj accepts the award for favorite album - rap/hip-hop “Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded” at the 40th Annual American Music Awards on Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012, in Los Angeles. (Photo by John Shearer/Invision/AP)

  • Taylor Swift performs “I Knew Your Were Trouble” at the 40th Annual American Music Awards on Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012, in Los Angeles. (Photo by John Shearer/Invision/AP)

    Taylor Swift performs “I Knew Your Were Trouble” at the 40th Annual American Music Awards on Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012, in Los Angeles. (Photo by John Shearer/Invision/AP)

  • Taylor Swift accepts the award for favorite female artist - country at the 40th Annual American Music Awards on Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012, in Los Angeles. (Photo by John Shearer/Invision/AP)

    Taylor Swift accepts the award for favorite female artist - country at the 40th Annual American Music Awards on Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012, in Los Angeles. (Photo by John Shearer/Invision/AP)

  • Christina Aguilera, left, and Pitbull perform at the 40th Anniversary American Music Awards on Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012, in Los Angeles. (Photo by John Shearer/Invision/AP)

    Christina Aguilera, left, and Pitbull perform at the 40th Anniversary American Music Awards on Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012, in Los Angeles. (Photo by John Shearer/Invision/AP)

  • Christina Aguilera performs “Lotus”, “Army of Me” and “Let There Be Love” at the 40th Anniversary American Music Awards on Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP)

    Christina Aguilera performs “Lotus”, “Army of Me” and “Let There Be Love” at the 40th Anniversary American Music Awards on Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP)

  • Ke$ha arrives at the 40th Anniversary American Music Awards on Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

    Ke$ha arrives at the 40th Anniversary American Music Awards on Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

  • Ke$ha arrives at the 40th Anniversary American Music Awards on Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012, in Los Angeles. (Photo by John Shearer/Invision/AP)

    Ke$ha arrives at the 40th Anniversary American Music Awards on Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012, in Los Angeles. (Photo by John Shearer/Invision/AP)

  • Carrie Underwood arrives at the 40th Anniversary American Music Awards on Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

    Carrie Underwood arrives at the 40th Anniversary American Music Awards on Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

  • Gwen Stefani and No Doubt perform “Looking Hot” at the 40th Annual American Music Awards on Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP)

    Gwen Stefani and No Doubt perform “Looking Hot” at the 40th Annual American Music Awards on Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP)

  • Carrie Underwood performs “Two Black Cadillacs” at the 40th Anniversary American Music Awards on Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP)

    Carrie Underwood performs “Two Black Cadillacs” at the 40th Anniversary American Music Awards on Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP)

  • Carly Rae Jepsen accepts the award for new artist of the year at the 40th Anniversary American Music Awards on Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012, in Los Angeles. (Photo by John Shearer/Invision/AP)

    Carly Rae Jepsen accepts the award for new artist of the year at the 40th Anniversary American Music Awards on Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012, in Los Angeles. (Photo by John Shearer/Invision/AP)

  • Chester Bennington from the band Linkin Park performs “Burn It Down” at the 40th Anniversary American Music Awards on Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP)

    Chester Bennington from the band Linkin Park performs “Burn It Down” at the 40th Anniversary American Music Awards on Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP)

  • Kelly Clarkson performs a medley of her songs at the 40th Annual American Music Awards on Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012, in Los Angeles.(Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP)

    Kelly Clarkson performs a medley of her songs at the 40th Annual American Music Awards on Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012, in Los Angeles.(Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP)

  • Gwen Stefani of No Doubt performs “Looking Hot” at the 40th Annual American Music Awards on Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012, in Los Angeles. (Photo by John Shearer/Invision/AP)

    Gwen Stefani of No Doubt performs “Looking Hot” at the 40th Annual American Music Awards on Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012, in Los Angeles. (Photo by John Shearer/Invision/AP)

  • Justin Bieber is smothered in kisses by presenter Jenny McCarthy as he accepts the award for favorite album - pop/rock for “Believe” at the 40th Anniversary American Music Awards on Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012, in Los Angeles. (Photo by John Shearer/Invision/AP)
  • Justin Bieber performs at the 40th Anniversary American Music Awards on Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012, in Los Angeles. (Photo by John Shearer/Invision/AP)
  • MC Hammer, left, and PSY appear on stage at the close of the 40th Anniversary American Music Awards on Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012, in Los Angeles. (Photo by John Shearer/Invision/AP)
  • Nicki Minaj performs “Freedom” at the 40th Anniversary American Music Awards on Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP)
  • Nicki Minaj accepts the award for favorite album - rap/hip-hop “Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded” at the 40th Annual American Music Awards on Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012, in Los Angeles. (Photo by John Shearer/Invision/AP)
  • Taylor Swift performs “I Knew Your Were Trouble” at the 40th Annual American Music Awards on Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012, in Los Angeles. (Photo by John Shearer/Invision/AP)
  • Taylor Swift accepts the award for favorite female artist - country at the 40th Annual American Music Awards on Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012, in Los Angeles. (Photo by John Shearer/Invision/AP)
  • Christina Aguilera, left, and Pitbull perform at the 40th Anniversary American Music Awards on Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012, in Los Angeles. (Photo by John Shearer/Invision/AP)
  • Christina Aguilera performs “Lotus”, “Army of Me” and “Let There Be Love” at the 40th Anniversary American Music Awards on Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP)
  • Ke$ha arrives at the 40th Anniversary American Music Awards on Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)
  • Ke$ha arrives at the 40th Anniversary American Music Awards on Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012, in Los Angeles. (Photo by John Shearer/Invision/AP)
  • Carrie Underwood arrives at the 40th Anniversary American Music Awards on Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)
  • Gwen Stefani and No Doubt perform “Looking Hot” at the 40th Annual American Music Awards on Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP)
  • Carrie Underwood performs “Two Black Cadillacs” at the 40th Anniversary American Music Awards on Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP)
  • Carly Rae Jepsen accepts the award for new artist of the year at the 40th Anniversary American Music Awards on Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012, in Los Angeles. (Photo by John Shearer/Invision/AP)
  • Chester Bennington from the band Linkin Park performs “Burn It Down” at the 40th Anniversary American Music Awards on Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP)
  • Kelly Clarkson performs a medley of her songs at the 40th Annual American Music Awards on Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012, in Los Angeles.(Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP)
  • Gwen Stefani of No Doubt performs “Looking Hot” at the 40th Annual American Music Awards on Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012, in Los Angeles. (Photo by John Shearer/Invision/AP)

Justin Bieber may be Canadian, but he was the all-American boy at Sunday night’s American Music Awards.

The pop singer dominated the awards show, winning three trophies, including artist of the year. His mom joined him onstage as he collected the award, beating out Rihanna, Maroon 5, Katy Perry and Drake.

“I wanted to thank you for always believing in me,” Bieber said, looking to his mom.

The 18-year-old also won the honor in 2010. He said it’s “hard growing up with everyone watching me” and asked that people continue to believe in him.

But the teenager who brought his mom as a date also got in some grinding with Nicki Minaj — who shared the stage with him and took home two awards — and a kiss on the neck from presenter Jenny McCarthy.

“Wow. I feel violated right now,” he said, laughing.

“I did grab his butt,” McCarthy said backstage. “I couldn’t help it. He was just so delicious. So little. I wanted to tear his head off and eat it.”

Another collaboration was the night’s most colorful performance: Korean rapper PSY and MC Hammer. Hammer joined the buzzed-about pop star for his viral hit “Gangnam Style.” PSY rocked traditional “Hammer” pants as they danced to his jam and to Hammer’s “Too Legit to Quit.”

Minaj, who wore three different wigs and four outfits throughout the night, repeated her AMAs wins from last year, picking up trophies for favorite rap/hip-hop artist and album for “Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded.”

Taylor Swift won her fifth consecutive award for favorite country female artist.

Carly Rae Jepsen, who performed early in the night, won favorite new artist.

“I am floored. Wow,” she said, thanking Bieber and his manager, Scooter Braun.

Party girl Ke$ha was glammed up on the red carpet, rocking long, flowy blonde hair and a light pink dress. She switched to her normal attire when she performed her hit single “Die Young.” It was tribal, with shirtless dancers in skin-tight pants, silver hair and skeleton-painted faces, who also played the drums. Ke$ha was pants-less, rocking knee-high boots and rolling on the floor as she finished up the song.

Minaj and Christina Aguilera were blonde bombshells, too: Minaj’s hair was busy and full of volume and she sported a neon strapless gown to accept her first award. Aguilera wore a blonde bob in a purple dress that matched her eyeshadow.

Aguilera performed a medley of material from her new album and joined Pitbull onstage.

Kelly Clarkson also hit the stage, making a nod to her “American Idol” roots with a number on her dress and three judges looking on as she sang “Miss Independent.” Then she went into “Since U Been Gone,” “Stronger” and “Catch My Breath.”

Fellow “Idol” winner Carrie Underwood won best favorite country album and performed, hitting the right notes while singing “Two Black Cadillacs.” She talked about singing competition shows backstage.

“These people that go on these shows are so talented, you know? And I would love to see if so many of the other artists that are out there today would go back and try out for these shows, because they might get their behinds kicked by some of the contestants,” she said.

Luke Bryan won favorite country male artist and Lady Antebellum favorite country group.

American Music Awards nominees were selected based on sales and airplay, and fans chose the winners by voting online. At this award show, even the stars were fans: Pink said on the red carpet that she’d like to collaborate with Lauryn Hill. Cyndi Lauper said her musical playlist includes Pink and Minaj. Boy band The Wanted said they were excited to see PSY and Colbie Caillat wanted to watch No Doubt.

“What makes the American Music Awards special is the fans choose the winning artists,” said Chester Bennington of Linkin Park, who won favorite alternative rock artist and performed “Burn It Down,” as Brandy sang along and Gwen Stefani, Usher and Phillip Phillips bobbed their heads.

David Guetta won the show’s first-ever electronic dance music award. Non-televised awards went to Katy Perry for pop/rock female artist, Beyonce for soul/R&B female artist, Adele for adult contemporary artist and Shakira for Latin artist.

Along with Rihanna, Minaj was the top nominee with four nominations.

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AP Entertainment Writer Sandy Cohen contributed to this report from Los Angeles.

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Follow Mesfin Fekadu on Twitter at http://twitter.com/MusicMesfin

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Online:

http://beta.abc.go.com/shows/american-music-awards

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