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American Music Awards: Who won the big prizes?

Winners at this year's American Music Awards included singer Taylor Swift and the band One Direction. How do viewers look at American Music Award winners compared to, for example, the Grammy Awards or the MTV Video Music Awards?

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    American Music Award winners included the band One Direction, which includes members Liam Payne (l.), Harry Styles (center), and Louis Tomlinson (r.).
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This year’s American Music Awards honored such artists as the band One Direction and singer Taylor Swift.

The ceremony was hosted by singer Jennifer Lopez and One Direction won the prestigious artist of the year prize. Meanwhile, Swift won the song of the year award for her track “Blank Space.” 

The prize for favorite male artist in the pop/rock category went to Ed Sheeran, while Ariana Grande captured the favorite female artist in pop/rock award. One Direction also won the favorite duo or group award in the pop/rock category and Swift’s “1989” won the favorite album in the same category. 

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Singer Sam Hunt won the favorite new artist award, while Justin Bieber, Skrillex, and Diplo won the award for best collaboration for their song “Where Are Ü Now.” 

In the country genre, Carrie Underwood won in the favorite female artist category and Luke Bryan won the favorite male artist prize. Florida Georgia Line won the favorite duo or group award and the favorite album prize also went to the group for their work “Anything Goes.” 

Nicki Minaj won the favorite rap/hip-hop artist prize and her album “The Pinkprint” also took the favorite rap/hip-hop album award.

For the soul/R&B category, The Weeknd won the favorite male artist prize and Rihanna won the favorite female artist award. The Weeknd also took the favorite album award in that category for his work “Beauty Behind the Madness.” 

Singer Enrique Iglesias won the favorite Latin artist prize, while the band Fall Out Boy won the award for favorite alternative rock band and Swift won the award for favorite adult contemporary artist. Calvin Harris won in the category of favorite electronic dance music artist, while Casting Crowns took the favorite contemporary inspirational prize. The movie “Pitch Perfect 2” won in the favorite soundtrack category. 

The AMAs, which air on ABC, are decided by fans, with the public casting their votes through Twitter and the AMAs website, among other ways. The People’s Choice Awards function similarly, as evidenced by their name, and most of the MTV Video Music Awards are also voted on by fans. But prizes for such other awards shows as the Grammys, the Billboard Music Awards, and the Country Music Association Awards are distributed by those working in the industry – for example, Grammys voters include producers and singers. 

Which is more prestigious? The Grammys, in which artists are given awards by their peers, are often called the most important music awards in the U.S. As for popularity, the Grammys ratings for this past year were low for the awards ceremony but garnered more than 25 million viewers total. In this, the Grammys remain king. For the 2014 AMAs, the ceremony brought in more than 11 million viewers. The MTV VMAs got more than 9 million earlier this year.

Why would there be this big difference? The Grammys have been held since 1959, so they’ve had a long time to make themselves an important part of American culture. The American Music Awards arrived in 1974. In addition, viewers may be impressed by the fact that peers are awarding these prizes to the recipients rather than voters. Those in the music industry presumably know their work. If they say someone like Sam Smith made the best record of the year (he won earlier this year for his song “Stay With Me”), viewers most likely assume a lot of music industry knowledge is going into that decision.

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