Faith Hill Wins Big at American Music Awards

Faith Hill was the big winner Monday night at the 28th annual American Music Awards, taking home pointy glass statues for favorite female artist in the pop/rock and country categories, as well as favorite country album for her multi-platinum recording, Breathe.

The only other multiple award-winners were Creed, which took home favorite pop/rock album for Human Clay, and favorite alternative artist, and Toni Braxton, who won favorite female artists and favorite album in the soul/rhythm & blues category (see complete list of winners, below).

The awards are decided by fans.

Paris Explodes for Lopez; Aerosmith Rocks On

The show, held in the Shrine Auditorium, opened with a rather odd production number from Jennifer Lopez. It seemed to have something to do with Paris, but Paris was exploding. It was also rather obvious that Jennifer was lip-synching.

The only standout performance of the night was Aerosmith’s scorching version of their new single, “Jaded,” from their forthcoming CD. It kinda looked like Cirque De Soleil gone horribly wrong, complete with a snake lady. But man, does that song kick ass! And how cool was it that bassist Tom Hamilton was playing a vintage violin-shaped Hofner, the same kind Paul McCartney used in the early and late Beatle days.

Speaking of Aerosmith, lead singer Steven Tyler finally cleared up a recent rumor saying the band didn’t want to receive something called the “Award of Achievement,” and asked Dick Clark to change the name of the award.

Clark supposedly said no, so the band supposedly said they weren’t going to pick up the award, or perform on the show. The name of the award was then changed to the “International Artist Award,” but Tyler said the name of the award had nothing to do with anything.

In the retrospective video shown before Aerosmith accepted the award, the band included a clip from their “Living On The Edge” video, which shows Tyler grabbing his crotch. Although the video has been shown hundreds of times on MTV, Clark wanted that specific image taken out. THAT’s what angered the band.

However, they eventually agreed to change it — inserting in its place a shot of Tyler holding a foot-long hot dog from the famous Pink’s hot dog stand in Los Angeles.

Going Nuts... as Usual

Backstage, things were nuts, as usual. A room full of still photographers screaming at celebrities to turn left, turn right, look here, look there, followed by another room full of reporters trying to get the same celebrities to answer all of their questions. The excitement level rises or falls based on which celebrity is brought in.

Some of the talk backstage centered on pop star Mandy Moore, who wore a stunning low-cut dress. It was hard for anyone who saw her to believe that she is just 16 years old.

Run and Jam Master J of the newly reformed Run-DMC looked great for two guys who have been around hip hop since the ’80s. DMC was absent from the show. According to Run, he was feeling a little under the weather. Hey, even hip-hop gods get the flu.

Time has not been kind to actress Daryl Hannah, who was wearing a T-shirt and leather pants. She just didn’t seem all there. She appeared rather confused, and only half answered questions backstage. In fact, as she waited for Nelly to finish his press tour, Hannah seemed to nod off in a folding chair.

Dr. Dre was a gentleman, as always. He fielded questions about hate and violence in rap, especially when it comes to his protégé, Eminem, who was not in the house even though he was up for two awards. Dre said he loved the fact that people are upset about Em’s many American Music Award and Grammy nominations because it means that Dre’s doing his job: stirring things up and making people take notice.

Emotional Guy Kid ‘Bob’ Rock

Kid Rock and his DJ, Uncle Cracker, visited press town next, but Kid did all the talking. Kid’s whole thing is that if you want to interview him, you’d better have done your homework and be prepared with your questions.

One reporter got Kid’s attention immediately by calling him Bob, his first name. “Bob” talked a lot about how his career will be affected by the loss of close friend, Joe C. It’s touching to know that a guy like Kid Rock, known for his tough-as-nails attitude, is an emotional guy at heart.

Backstage, publicists always try to get their artists out of the press room quickly. The familiar cry of “last question!” can annoy even the most seasoned reporter. When Creed’s publicist shouted out that phrase, the band’s lead singer Scott Stapp said, no — he wanted to answer any and all questions.

The same can’t be said for ‘N Sync. Before the boys even got to the stage, it was announced that they would only take five questions. That was greeting with resounding boos from the entire press room.

No, Her First Name Ain’t Baby...

Janet Jackson was a vision of loveliness in her white outfit and poofed-out Diana Ross hair. She seemed genuinely happy and pleased to be there. Actor Vincent Pastore of The Sopranos, however, didn’t know why he was there — except to say that Aerosmith asked him to be there.

Before the end of the night, reporters were told to stick around because Dick Clark was going to make a special announcement.

Turns out, there will be a new award added next year: the Coca-Cola New Music Award, done in partnership with the beverage giant and college radio trade magazine C.M.J., Clark announced. This award will be given to a new recording artist, who will also get to perform on the 2002 edition of the show.

Not surprisingly, hostess Britney Spears did not appear backstage, and no celebrities attended the official post-award party held at the Shrine Auditorium.