Tuesday, October 9, 2012

American Music Awards: And the nominees are…

Phil Gallo/Billboard

Christopher Polk/Getty Images

Nicki Minaj and Rihanna secured four American Music Awards nominations each Tuesday as voting booths were opened to the public for the 40th anniversary of the awards show.

Christina Aguilera, the first announced performer on the show, joined producers to announce the nominations Tuesday at the J.W. Marriott Los Angeles in the L.A. Live complex, adjacent to the Nokia Theater where the event will be held on Nov. 18. ABC will broadcast the three-hour show.

Among the artists securing multiple nominations were Drake, Justin Bieber, Maroon 5, One Direction and Usher with three each, and Carrie Underwood, Chris Brown, fun., Gotye, J. Cole, Katy Perry, Kelly Clarkson, Luke Bryan and Pitbull with two apiece. Awards will be handed out in 20 categories including a new one, Electronic Dance Music, where the nominees are David Guetta, Calvin Harris and Skrillex.

Rihanna, Bieber, Drake, Maroon 5 and Billboard's Woman of the Year, Katy Perry, are up for the top AMA prize, Artist of the Year. Cole, fun., Gotye, Carly Rae Jepsen and One Direction are the New Artist of the Year contenders.

Besides being the AMAs' 40th anniversary, it will be the first show since the death of the show's creator Dick Clark. Producer Larry Klein, who had worked with Clark since the first edition, says the show will be filled with clips from throughout its history in addition to presenting about 17 live performances.

"Terrific performances, outrageous acceptance speeches -- those moments when you feel strong emotion," Klein told Billboard, noting that the entire three-hour show would be a tribute to Clark.

Having spent time in the Dick Clark Productions archives, Klein rattled off a few highlights: A Paul McCartney interview filmed in Jamaica in 1982 as part of a Stevie Wonder tribute; Whitney Houston in 1994; Eddie Murphy and Michael Jackson.

Clark was a behind-the-scenes presence at the AMAs so Klein will be saving an on-air tribute for "New Year's Rockin' Eve," which he also produces for ABC. His goal now is to maintain the spirit of the show that began with a telecast in 1974 to honor the music of 1973 in 16 categories. The first show had four performances.

"Dick used to say we're an entertainment show with awards in it and I like wall-to-wall music," Klein adds. "It's a celebration of music."

Winners will be determined by online voting at the Coca-Cola AMA voting website, amavote.com, as well as AMA.abc.com.

Leading up to the awards, Lance Bass, Kimberly Cole, and Megan Turney will be the hosts of a weekly web series, "AMAs On Demand," that will be posted on YouTube and ABC.com.

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