Swift, Azalea kick off American Music Awards, One Direction wins favorite pop band

LOS ANGELES – Pop music’s leading ladies Taylor Swift, Iggy Azalea and Ariana Grande gave high-octane performances while British boy band One Direction won favorite pop/rock band at the American Music Awards on Sunday.

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A sultry Swift kicked off the show with “Blank Space,” performing against a backdrop of romantic images and accompanied by dancers dressed as rose-bearing suitors.

Newcomer and Australian rapper Azalea won best rap/hip-hop album for “The New Classic” and said it was the first award she has ever won. The prizes are awarded based on fan voting.

“It means so much to me that it is for best hip-hop because that’s what inspired me to move to America,” the 24-year-old rapper said. “It means so much that I can stand here against Eminem and Drake and come out with this.”

She later performed a medley of her hits “I’m So Fancy” and the raunchy “Beg For It.”

British soul singer Sam Smith, 22, capped a whirlwind year in which he skyrocketed to success in the United States and won favorite pop/rock male artist.


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