Femmes AMA faves

Twain, Spears, Houston top nomination list

Canadian country-pop singer Shania Twain topped the list of nominees for the American Music Awards for the second year in a row, while male performers remained on the endangered species list.

Twain, along with teen star Britney Spears and R&B diva Whitney Houston, landed three nominations for the event, organizers said Monday.

Ten acts received two noms each, and 28 received single nods. The 27th annual American Music Awards will be handed out Jan. 17 during a three-hour ceremony that will be broadcast by ABC.

The list of nominees is based on record sales and radio airplay. Winners are picked by a poll of 20,000 American music buyers, whose tastes traditionally favor middle-of-the-road acts.

The leading male acts were pop heartthrobs the Backstreet Boys, country singers Garth Brooks and George Strait, rock-rapper Kid Rock, veteran rock group Santana and Latino sensation Ricky Martin, all with two nominations each.

Also with two nominations each are: R&B singer Lauryn Hill, the country trio the Dixie Chicks, actress-turned-singer Jennifer Lopez and R&B trio TLC.

Male acts have recently been overshadowed by their female counterparts both at the American Music Awards and the more prestigious Grammys. Saleswise, it has been an even race with such acts as Korn, Limp Bizkit, Jay-Z, Ricky Martin, Santana and Tom McGraw all landing No. 1 albums.

Twain, Spears and Houston are the three contenders for the favorite female artist prize in the pop/rock category, thus ensuring that not all of them will make a clean sweep.

Spears is nominated for favorite album (“Baby One More Time”) and favorite new artist, both in the pop/rock category. The former Mouseketeer has sold about 7 million copies of her debut album, which topped the charts earlier this year.

Houston is cited for favorite female artist and favorite album (”My Love is Your Love”), both in soul/R&B. Her album is considered a commercial disappointment with sales of about 2 million copies. If she wins all three prizes, it will take her career haul to 20, second only to country group Alabama (21), which is not nominated this year.

The awards, which will take place at the Shrine Auditorium, will be hosted by comedian Norm Macdonald. The show’s executive producer, Dick Clark, said Jennifer Lopez, pop combo ‘N Sync and country duo Brooks & Dunn have already been confirmed as performers.

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