The party continued for the 20th annual American Music Awards Monday, as the show bested its competition over the entire span of its 8-11 p.m. ABC-TV timeslot Monday night (see related story).

Michael Jackson opened the show with a live performance of “Dangerous,” but caused his biggest stir of the evening with a backstage appearance with chum Elizabeth Taylor.

Photographers held a feeding frenzy to snap photos of Jackson, who chose to wear his Mickey Mouse bandleader jacket for the zillionth time during the photo-op. Despite his vows to be more accessible, Jackson opted not to field questions from the print, radio and TV press in an adjacent room.

Billy Ray Cyrus momentarily stoked passions in the press room with an onstage reference to his “self-proclaimed critics,” telling them, “Here’s a quarter–call someone who cares.”

Cyrus later admitted that he wasn’t trying to imitate last year’s Michael Bolton challenge to the press at the AMAs, but was taking on Travis Tritt, who slammed Cyrus last year in the press. Tritt penned the song “Here’s a Quarter (Call Someone Who Cares).”

Motown’s Boyz II Men were seen sobbing and embracing backstage, overwhelmed by their victory at the awards and the memory of road manager Khalil Rountree, who died last year.

Columbia’s Michael Bolton apparently has gotten some career counseling from showbiz veterans.

Bolton chose not to renew his attack on the press backstage at the awards, despite being given the opportunity.

“I was advised by a lot of people that (criticism) comes with the territory,” he said.

Bolton did say that the wives and girlfriends of America are not getting what they need from their menfolk, which is why they turn to his music for comfort. Bolton’s girlfriend, actress Nicolette Sheridan, joined him in the press room but declined to say whether Bolton was holding up his end.

“Do you want me to pull a Kirstie Alley?” Sheridan said, referring to the actress’ remark about her husband, actor Parker Stevenson, giving her “the big one” when she won an Emmy Award two years ago.

Former Jefferson Airplane/Starship lead singer Grace Slick, on hand as part of the AMA tribute to late concert promoter Bill Graham, said she’s studying the history of biomedical research. Slick claimed that much waste is to be found in said research, a practice she hopes to correct.

A bearded Garth Brooks stopped backstage to say he’ll be out with a new album in September and plans to tour behind it.

Three tracks are completed, and Brooks indicated he considers them among his best work.

Spotted at the AMA after-party: Chubby Checker, Joey Belladonna of Anthrax, Lars Ulrich from Metallica, Sir Mix-A-Lot, Kenneth (Babyface) Edmonds and members of En Vogue.

The complete list of winners at the American Music Awards:

POP-ROCK

Male artist: Michael Bolton.

Female artist: Mariah Carey.

Band, duo or group: Genesis.

Single: “End of the Road,” Boyz II Men.

Album: “Dangerous,” Michael Jackson.

New artist: Pearl Jam.

SOUL-R&B

Male artist: Bobby Brown.

Female artist: Patti LaBelle.

Band, duo or group: Boyz II Men.

Single: “Remember the Time,” Michael Jackson.

Album: “Funky Divas,” En Vogue.

New artist: Kris Kross.

COUNTRY

Male artist: Garth Brooks.

Female artist: Reba McEntire.

Band, duo or group: Alabama.

Single: “Achy Breaky Heart,” Billy Ray Cyrus.

Album: “For My Broken Heart,” Reba McEntire.

New artist: Billy Ray Cyrus.

HEAVY METAL-HARD ROCK

Artist: Metallica.

New artist: Pearl Jam.

RAP-HIP HOP

Artist: Sir Mix-A-Lot.

New artist: Kris Kross.

ADULT CONTEMPORARY

Artist: Michael Bolton.

Album: “Unplugged,” Mariah Carey.

New artist: k.d. lang.

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