31st Annual American Music Awards


November 16, 2003

Gee, it seems like it was yesterday that we were reporting on the 30th American Music Awards and now here we are doing the 31st.

Wait a second, didn't we already have an AMA's in 2003? Yes. With the Oscars® moving a month earlier in 2004, a lot of the other award shows have shifted their schedules back to reduce crowding and hopefully ensure ratings. The folks over at the American Music Awards decided to really ease the crowding by shifting their ceremony to November, which is why this year has two ceremonies.

8:00 PM ET

The show starts off with a performance by Britney Spears. Britney, who just cried her eyes out with Diane Sawyer, descends from the ceiling in a long coat which — big surprise — she strips off to reveal a much smaller outfit. Hey, no one ever claimed she was original.

8:04 PM ET

Kid Rock's the next performer — we haven't seen host Jimmy Kimmel yet — and he walks out on stage with just his guitar, starting off his song before the backdrop rises to reveal his band.

8:10 PM ET

10 minutes in and host Jimmy Kimmel walks out. Jimmy notes that this show is voted on by real people. "Real people who go to concerts; who listen to the radio; who download the albums without paying for them. People who are blatantly stealing the gold fillings right out of these celebrities' teeth." He also notes that Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey are backstage. "She looks incredible and he looks like he's had enough." He then lays down a few rules like turning off cellphones and advises the audience that for their own safety, they should not get between the Dixie Chicks and Toby Keith. He then introduces Nick Lachey and a braless Jessica Simpson who, he says, will have to face "...a teleprompter and a difficult to open envelope." They're there to hand out the first American Music Award of the night: Country - Favorite Female Artist. And the American Music Award goes to Faith Hill, her fifth. Faith thanks the fans, her entourage and then heads off.

8:20 PM ET

Kimmel introduces Heather Headley and Monica. The two of them explain the voting process and then announce the nominees for Soul/Rhythm & Blues Favorite Male Artist. The winner is Luther Vandross. Luther, who is still recovering from a stroke, has his award accepted by his mother. Tearfully, she apologizes that he couldn't be there.

Kiefer Sutherland announces the next performer: Pink. Pink and her guitarist perform an acoustic version of her new single "Trouble."

8:28 PM ET

After Pink's performance, Jimmy notes that it's always nice to hear someone who can actually sing. He then introduces the presenters for Alternative Music - Favorite Artist, Tim McGraw and Kelly Preston. The winners are Linkin Park. It's their first American Music Award. They thank Coldplay and Metallica, saying they're fans of the other two nominees. Keeping it brief, they thank the fans and leave.

Cheryl Hines, from HBO's Curb Your Enthusiasm, introduces a performance of an old standard by Rod Stewart.

8:33 PM ET

I'm already bored and we're just 33 minutes in.

8:38 PM ET

Roselyn Sanchez, Darryl Hall and John Oates are handling the presenting chores for Pop/Rock - Favorite Album. Justin Timberlake wins for his CD Justified. Live from Germany, Justin thanks his manager.

Jimmy Kimmel suggested earlier that winners shouldn't thank God because he's watching the WB. But as Rascal Flatts hands out the American Music Award for Contemporary Inspirational - Favorite Artist, I'm assuming the winners can thank their diety. And with apologies to Jimmy, winner Steven Curtis Chapman does just that.

NYPD Blue's Dennis Franz announces the next performer: Alan Jackson.

8:48 PM ET

Ashanti's performance starts right after Alan Jackson's. Apparently she doesn't warrant a celebrity introduction as the announcer intros her.

8:56 PM ET

Michael Chiklis and Uncle Cracker present the American Music Award for Soul/Rhythm & Blues Favorite Album. Chiklis says "Mary, your son is having a good night" and announces that Dance With My Father by Luther Vandross has won. He walks into the audience to give her the award.

Calling them the "spaghetti and meatballs of music", Jimmy intros shortened performances by Clay Aiken and Ruben Studdard. The pair then duet on a gospel number.

Tom Green and Lance Bass further explain the awards process and then announce the winners for Country - Favorite Band, Duo Or Group. Collecting their 23rd American Music Award, Alabama thanks the fans. The speeches seem shorter tonight but this first hour has felt pretty long.

9:10 PM ET

Kimmel announces that "All guests of the American Music Awards stay at the 'Paris Hilton'." Mark McGrath and Macy Gray then present the American Music Award for Pop/Rock - Favorite Band, Duo or Group. Macy suggests that the losers should get angry instead of always being polite. McGrath looked like he was wondering what she was smoking. The winner: Fleetwood Mac. Like Justin, the band was in Germany and made their thanks by satellite.

9:15 PM ET

JC Chasez introduces a performance by teen singer Hilary Duff. Suddenly I feel like I'm sitting in a theme park show.

"Weird Al" Yankovic said he didn't know this band a year ago, but now "I can't live without them." He then introduces a performance by Evanescence.

9:27 PM ET

Nick Canon and Bow Wow then presented the award for Rap/Hip-Hop - Favorite Female Artist. The winner of the American Music Award was Missy Elliott. Missy was not there to accept.

After the commercial break, it turns out that Missy Elliott was just late...saying that her limo was stolen. Jimmy suggests that she use "The Club" on the steering wheel next time.

American Idol host Ryan Seacrest then introduces a pretaped performance by Fleetwood Mac.

9:40 PM ET

We welcome Jo Dee Messina, Glen Campbell and Keith Urban to the stage. This twangy trio is here to present the American Music Award for Country - Favorite Male Artist. The winner is Tim McGraw. It is his sixth American Music Award.

Okay...do these people have to be somewhere? The speeches are getting shorter and shorter. I'm not complaining.

9:48 PM ET

Jenny McCarthy and Lil' John present the American Music Award for Soul/Rhythm & Blues Favorite Female Artist. The winner is Aaliyah. Jenny accepts the award for the late singer.

From Germany, Justin Timberlake announces the next performance in LA: OutKast.

10:03 PM ET

Earlier winners Alabama are now announcing the winners of the internet-voted Fans' Choice Award. The winner is American Idol runner-up Clay Aiken. Joking that he's not used to winning, Clay thanked the fans.

Why, oh why, do we have to see these people again? The Bacherlorette's Trista Rehn and Ryan Sutter introduce a performance by Toby Keith. Okay, once the wedding's over can we please end their 15 minutes? Please?

10:09 PM ET

We're now looking at a series of clips from American Music Awards past. Thankfully it ends quickly and we get a performance by Sheryl Crow.

The Smothers Brothers come out to award the Favorite Country Album. Tommy Smothers says that they're not the original Smothers Brothers but replaced them when they were kicked off CBS in 1969 for their politics. When he jokes that the "real" Smothers Brothers are hanging out with the Dixie Chicks and Michael Moore, some of the crowd boos. I guess those people missed the whole concept of free speech. Anyway, the winner of the American Music Award is the man who dissed the Dixie Chicks the hardest: Toby Keith.

A performance by 3 Doors Down is quickly followed by a medley from Sean Paul.

80's trivia answers Lionel Richie and Paula Abdul then presented the American Music Award for Pop - Favorite Artist Female. The winner was Jennifer Lopez. J. Lo was not there.

After another series of American Music Award "moments" we got a performance from Metallica.

Moving right along, Sara Rue and Steven Curtis Chapman intro a performance by the winners of the Coca-Cola New Music Award: The Bomb Squad.

After Kimmel screwed up the intro, Jessica Alba and Jason Mraz then presented the American Music Award for Rap/Hip-Hop - Favorite Male Artist. The winner of the pointy lil' trophy was 50 Cent. Despite all the speeches, it appears the show's going a bit long as Kimmel is now going to present the American Music Award for Pop/Rock - Favorite Male Artist himself. The winner is: Kid Rock. As Kid thanked his band and the fans, he became the first winner to be played off by music.

With little fanfare, the show ends. Two American Music Awards in one year is two too many.

And the nominees are: