Canadian popster claims four awards, including artist of the year

Bieber-Fever continued unabated at the American Music Awards tonight, as teen popper Justin Bieber won the artist of the year award, in addition to three others.

Presented Sunday night at the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles, the AMA nominations were determined by consolidating sales, airplay, video viewing and activity on social networks. The breakthrough award was determined by popular vote.

Upon winning the night’s final award, the pint-sized Canadian brought mentor Usher — who had previously won awards for soul/R&B album and soul/R&B male artist — to the stage for a bear hug. The Biebs had previously claimed three of the threateningly sharp, pyramid-shaped statues for breakthrough artist, pop/rock male artist, and pop/rock male album.

“It was an out-of-body experience,” said Usher backstage. “I’m excited to see my young brother, my student, do what he’s done to succeed.”

Rihanna earned the female R&B honors, Lady Gaga claimed the pop/rock female award, and Eminem swept both hip-hop categories. The Black-Eyed Peas were named best pop/rock duo or group, while Muse won the alternative artist award, with the band’s media manager Tom Kirk enigmatically dedicating the award to Charles Darwin.

Bieber, Usher, Rihanna, Taylor Swift and Ke$ha all performed. Introduced as “two of the best groups of all time,” aging boy bands New Kids on the Block and the Backstreet Boys closed the show with a medley of their respective hits.

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