"American Idol" alumni came out on top at the American Music Awards as Daughtry, the band fronted by ex-"Idol" loser Chris Daughtry, shared the triple-winner spotlight with "Idol" champ Carrie Underwood.
Daughtry capitalized on its three nominations to win favorite pop-rock album for its self-titled debut, as well as breakthrough artist and adult contemporary artist honors.
"I want to make sure we thank the fans again because you guys made this all possible for us," the band’s frontman said.
Backstage, he explained that he was an artist before he got to "American Idol."
"The show didn’t make me who I am," he said. "It just gave me a chance to show everybody else who I am."
Underwood matched her three wins at the Country Music Association Awards this month with three trophies Sunday: female country artist, country album for "Some Hearts," and the T-Mobile text-in award.
Justin Timberlake was a long-distance winner, accepting by video from Australia as his name was called for male pop-rock artist and in the soul/R&B album category for his FutureSex/LoveSounds.
Usher presented the international artist award to Beyonce, who was a featured performer but did not win in any of her three competitive nominations.
"I’m so blessed to wake up every morning and do what I love. I don’t take it for granted," Beyonce said.
In the rap-hip-hop categories, T.I. came up a double winner as male artist and for the album "T.I. vs. T.I.P." Bone Thugs-N-Harmony was favorite group.
Rascal Flatts was named top country duo or group, Tim McGraw was top male country artist, Akon won favorite male soul/rhythm & blues artist and Rihanna bested former "Idol" Fantasia to win favorite female soul/R&B artist.
The show was packed with performances, including Beyonce joining Sugarland in a countryfied version of Beyonce’s hit "Irreplaceable."
Backstage, Sugarland singer Jennifer Nettles said she was nervous to sing with Beyonce, who she described as "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 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, then closed it by beating Beyonce and Avril Lavigne to win pop-rock female artist.
"I was a little girl with big dreams and tonight one of those big dreams came true," Fergie said backstage.
Other performers included Mary J. Blige, Maroon 5, 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." He also thanked the "Promises rehab facility for letting so many of our stars out for tonight’s program."
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.