By SANDY COHEN
The Associated Press
Monday, November 19, 2007; 12:00 AM
LOS ANGELES -- Chris Daughtry may not have won "American Idol," but his band, Daughtry, earned high enough honors at the American Music Awards on Sunday to share the spotlight with Carrie Underwood and Justin Timberlake.
Daughtry made good on its three nominations, winning favorite pop-rock album for "Daughtry," as well as breakthrough artist and adult contemporary artist.
"Wow. I can't believe we're in the category with Justin Timberlake and Linkin Park. It's pretty awesome," the band's frontman said. "I want to make sure we thank the fans again because you guys made this all possible for us."
Underwood, who did win "Idol," matched her three wins at the Country Music Association Awards this month with three trophies Sunday: favorite female country artist, favorite country album for "Some Hearts," and the T-Mobile text-in award.
"Thank you fans for going out and buying this album. You guys are amazing," she said. "This is one heck of a night."
Timberlake was a double winner, earning male pop-rock artist honors and the soul/R&B album award for his "FutureSex/LoveSounds." Timberlake accepted by video from Australia.
Usher presented Beyonce with the international artist award, which has been given to just a handful of artists, including Michael Jackson, Rod Stewart and Aerosmith.
"I'm so blessed to wake up every morning and do what I love. I don't take it for granted," Beyonce said. "I'm so grateful, so honored and so humbled by this award."
Rascal Flatts was named top country duo or group, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony was the favorite rap/hip-hop group, and Akon won favorite male soul/rhythm & blues artist.
All were among those who started the night with multiple nominations. Daughtry, Beyonce, Timberlake and Linkin Park had three nominations each, while Akon, Tim McGraw, Rascal Flatts, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, Young Jeezy, T.I. and Underwood had two nods each.
The night was punctuated with performances, including a mash-up between Beyonce and country duo Sugarland, who performed Beyonce's hit "Irreplaceable."
Backstage, Sugarland singer Jennifer Nettles admitted that she was nervous to sing with Beyonce, who she said was "so beautiful."
Celine Dion performed her new song, "Taking Chances," and Lenny Kravitz sat at the piano to play his latest, "I'll Be Waiting."
Eighties rock band Duran Duran performed its new song, "Falling Down," as well as the old hit "Hungry Like the Wolf."
Fergie opened the show with a trio of songs from her debut album, followed by her main producer and Black Eyed Peas bandmate will.i.am. and his protege Nicole Scherzinger. Other performers included Maroon 5, Avril Lavigne, Rihanna, Rascal Flatts and teen stars the Jonas Brothers.
Another teen sensation, "High School Musical 2," won favorite soundtrack album.
After two weeks of writer-strike-imposed reruns of his late-night talk show, Jimmy Kimmel returned to live TV as host of the three-hour ceremony, broadcast live on ABC from the new Nokia Theatre in downtown Los Angeles. The show's basic script was written before the strike began last week, but there were no writers to provide Kimmel with his trademark quips about current events.
One comedy bit came straight from September. Kid Rock spoofed his fistfight with rocker Tommy Lee at MTV's Video Music Awards, telling Kimmel, "You're in my seat," before pretending to punch the host in the face.
Kimmel said the Writers Guild of America strike prevented him from writing any jokes for the show.
"It may not look like it, but I'm striking right now in my heart," he said, apologizing to the crowd for having to tolerate "made-up crap."
Still, Kimmel managed a few zingers, including an introduction of Snoop Dogg as "one of America's most beloved and arrested hip-hop stars."
Screaming fans cheered arriving stars before the show.
A dozen video screens on towers played songs by nominees, amplifying the energy outside the new venue, which has about 7,000 seats and is part of the new L.A. Live development.
"I saw it at rehearsal," presenter Josh Groban said of the theater. "It's amazing. It's a nice alternative to an arena."
Now in its 35th year, the American Music Awards honor pop-rock, country, soul-rhythm & blues, rap-hip hop, Latin, alternative, soundtracks, adult contemporary and contemporary inspirational music. Nominees were selected based on national sales and radio play.
For the first time in show history, winners were chosen by public votes cast online.
Associated Press writer Beth Harris contributed to this report.
On the Net:
American Music Awards: http://abc.go.com/primetime/ama/