Stephen M. Silverman
January 10, 2002 12:44 PM

Late singer Aaliyah, newcomer Alicia Keys and R&B trio Destiny’s Child proved to be the top winners at Wednesday night’s American Music Awards, with each winning two prizes during the ceremony at L.A.’s Shrine Auditorium. Country’s Tim McGraw was another double winner. Michael Jackson’s on-again, off-again appearance occurred, minus the pre-recorded song he had delivered to producers. They simply decided before airtime not to run it. No excuse was given. (AMA producer Dick Clark, 72, is suing the producers of the Grammys for allegedly prohibiting artists who are to perform on the Feb. 27 Grammys from having performed at the AMA ceremony.) Receiving a standing ovation from the crowd as he was handed his artist of the century award, Jackson, 43, thanked a long list of people, including Hollywood legend Marlon Brando — “my other father” — then made a hasty exit. Keys, who earned five nominations, won for favorite new artist in both the pop/rock and soul/rhythm & blues categories. “This has been a fantastic year,” Keys, 20, said on stage. Aaliyah, who died in a plane crash in August at the age of 22, beat Keys in two soul/R&B categories: favorite album (“Aaliyah”) and favorite female artist. The event’s co-host, Sean ‘P. Diddy’ Combs, 31, said backstage, according to Reuters, that Aaliyah’s victories were “God’s work right there.”

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