Morisette, Braxton, Shakur top AMAs

Alanis Morissette and Toni Braxton were double winners at the 24th annual American Music Awards on Monday night, while Tupac Shakur was named favorite rap/hip-hop artist four months after he was gunned down in a still unsolved Vegas attack.

In all, 20 trophies were awarded in a three-hour ceremony broadcast by ABC-TV from the Shrine Auditorium. Garth Brooks was once again favorite male country artist, his 11th AMA honor since 1991. Shania Twain, a new artist winner last year, was country’s favorite female artist this time.

Eric Clapton, who won his only other AMA in 1994, was selected as favorite male pop-rock artist, while Hootie & the Blowfish won favorite pop-rock band, duo or group.

In soul/R&B, Keith Sweat was saluted as male artist and New Edition returned to the winner’s podium for the first time in 10 years to claim the favorite band, duo or group trophy. D’Angelo won favorite new artist.

Metallica picked up its second trophy for hard rock/heavy metal artist.

On a night when the AMA saluted “The Year of the Woman,” Braxton won favorite female soul R&B artist and her “Secrets” was the top soul-R&B album.

‘Pill’ wins again

Morissette was favorite pop-rock female artist and her “Jagged Little Pill” overcame the Beatles’ “Anthology 1” and “Anthology 2” to win pop-rock album. She didn’t attend to collect her latest awards. “Pill,” released in 1995, won best rock album and album of the year as the Grammy Awards last year.

Smashing Pumpkins won for alternative music, a category with only one award offered. Bush and Stone Temple Pilots were also-rans.

The soundtrack award went to “Waiting to Exhale,” topping “The Nutty Professor” and “The Crow: City of Angels.”

The adult contemporary artist winner was Whitney Houston.

With frequent winner Alabama not in the running this year, Brooks & Dunn were honored as country’s top band, duo or group. George Strait’s “Blue Clear Sky” won the country album award.

Jewel shines

Young newcomer Jewel beat Donna Lewis and No Doubt for favorite new pop-rock artist. “I went from living in my car to this because you guys bought my album,” she told the cheering audience.

LeAnn Rimes, a teenager singing beyond her years, was rewarded as country’s favorite new artist. “I definitely think Shania (Twain) has and a lot of the women in music in general have paved the road for people like me,” Rimes said backstage.

The Bee Gees received the Intl. Artist honorary award, which recognizes those artists whose popularity and impact cross-national boundaries.

Piano-pounding rocker Little Richard was presented the Award of Merit in a tribute featuring David Bowie, Keith Richards and Smokey Robinson. Previous recipients of this award have been Bing Crosby, Irving Berlin, Paul McCartney and Elvis Presley.

“Winning again makes me upset, bewildered, betrayed. No, I’m happy,” Braxton said with a laugh when reporters peppered her backstage with the usual how-do-you-feel questions.

Comedian Sinbad hosted, devoting much of his commentary to Braxton’s revealing attire. Presenter Pat Boone stole the show, appearing in an open leather vest, tattoos and sunglasses to pitch his new album of hard-rock covers.

“Alice, they’re laughing at you,” the 62-year-old Boone – host of a Christian radio show – deadpanned to co-presenter Alice Cooper as the audience howled.

AMA winners were selected by a national sampling of some 20,000 listeners, who chose from nominees compiled by music industry publications. – Associated Press

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