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Music awards triumph for Swift


Taylor Swift accepts one of her three awards at the American Music Awards (John Shearer/Invision/AP)

Taylor Swift accepts one of her three awards at the American Music Awards (John Shearer/Invision/AP)

Taylor Swift accepts one of her three awards at the American Music Awards (John Shearer/Invision/AP)

Taylor Swift's fans have voted the singer American Music Awards artist of the year for a third time, with Britain's One Direction picking up two top awards.

Swift won the top honour at the awards, held at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles, with a leading four trophies. Justin Timberlake was next with three.

One Direction won the best pop/rock band, duo or group award, as well as the p op/rock album gong for their Take Me Home album.

Swift, 23, did not perform, was a constant presence on stage and the camera alighted on her as she danced to stars like Kendrick Lamar and Luke Bryan.

She also won country album of the year for Red and favourite female country and pop/rock artist.

"Red is very different than any album I've made before and the reason I was able to do that was because of the fans," Swift said. "I cannot believe what you've done in the last year. This album came out almost exactly a year ago and the fact that six million of you went out and bought it is crazy."

Justin Timberlake was next with three wins, then One Direction and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis with two awards. Rihanna was given the AMA's first Icon Award to go with her win as favorite soul/R&B female artist.

Rihanna and her mother took centre stage mid-way through the show when Monica Fenty presented her pop star daughter with the award.

Ms Fenty told Rihanna how proud she was of her daughter's success, saying: "I know the journey in your career has not always been an easy one."

"Just about 20 years ago is when I really started making your life a living hell with my annoying little husky man voice, you would call it," Rihanna said. "And I mean just disrupting the entire neighbourhood. Westbury Road, Barbados, they could tell you that's the truth. I annoyed every one of my neighbours."

She performed Diamonds with an orchestra and won favourite soul/R&B female artist. Timberlake won soul/R&B album, soul/R&B male artist and pop/rock male artist.

Nickelodeon star Ariana Grande was named favourite new artist, Florida Georgia Line won single of the year for Cruise with Nelly. In something of a surprise, Luke Bryan won favourite male country artist, and favourite rap/hip-hop act Macklemore & Ryan Lewis used their rap/hip-hop album acceptance speech to send a message of tolerance.

Ben Haggerty, the rapper known as Macklemore, accepted the award for favourite rap/hip-hop album, then quoted Martin Luther King in a live satellite feed from the rap group's latest tour stop.

"Due to the fact that we are in Florida tonight accepting this award I want to acknowledge Trayvon Martin and the hundreds and hundreds of kids each year that are dying due to racial profiling and the violence that follows it," he said.

"This is really happening. These are our friends, our neighbours, our peers and our fans, and it's time that we look out for the youth and fight against racism and the laws that protect it."

Florida became a focal point after 17-year-old Trayvon's killer, George Zimmerman, was freed under the state's stand your ground law.

It was the first win of the night for Macklemore and Lewis, whose album The Heist has been an unexpected hit and made them the AMA's top nominees with six.

Katy Perry opened the show looking like a princess out of a classic Japanese painting. Dressed in a traditional Japanese dress, her show-starting performance of Unconditionally included dozens of colourfully-clad dancers waved fans, shadow danced in front of rice-paper screens and played the drums.

One Direction was at times drowned out by screams during an understated performance of Story Of My Life. The decibel level was that way from the moment the boy band arrived on the carpet, all smiles and dapper suits. Harry Styles stopped to take a picture with three fans.

Lady Gaga and R Kelly put on an elaborate production for their song Do What U Want, staging a presidential affair. Kelly played the president and Gaga a Marilyn Monroe-like mistress.

Miley Cyrus shut things down with a performance that was not quite as over the top as her previous appearances this year, but likely to be talked about just as much.

The camera stayed on Cyrus and a lip-syncing tabby throughout, and the cat ended the song by winking and sticking out its tongue - Cyrus' signature move.