Lady Gaga, wearing an alien-inspired headdress and vest filled with lights, performed songs from her new album, The Fame Monster. She used her microphone to break into a glass case where a grand piano stood. It caught fire when she sat down to play.
Jay-Z & Alicia Keys sang a “New York, New York,” and “Empire State of Mind” medley, after being introduced by A-Rod, one of the best performances of the night.
Adam Lambert, on an elaborate set filled with stairs and platforms, fondled a female dancer, kissed an androgynous band mate and led two leather-clad men across the stage on leashes as he sang the title track from his new CD, For Your Entertainment, out this week.
Kelly Clarkson performed an amazing, stripped down version of her hit “Already Gone,” backed by a string quartet.
Jennifer Lopez added a boxing motif to her dance-filled performance, but she slipped during a tricky move and landed on her butt.
Rihanna returned to the AMA stage, sporting blonde hair, a skintight, white peek-a-boo bodysuit and a tattoo down the front of her neck that read “Rated R,” the name of her new album, out this week.
Janet Jackson opened the show with a medley of some of the biggest hits from her long career — all tracks that appear on her new greatest-hits collection, also called Number Ones. Michael Jackson won a record four posthumous awards.
Whitney Houston made a resplendent return to the AMA stage with an elegant performance of “I Didn’t Know My Own Strength.” The 46-year-old entertainer also received the International Award of Excellence for her musical and philanthropic contributions. She dedicated the honor to her daughter, music mogul Clive Davis and “everybody who supported me.”
With Associated Press
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