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Image: Jermaine Jackson, Melissa Etheridge
Kevork Djansezian  /  Getty Images
Melissa Etheridge, right, presents the award for favorite Pop/Rock Male Artist for Michael Jackson to the late singer's brother Jermaine Jackson at the American Music Awards on Sunday.
updated 11/22/2009 11:33:38 PM ET 2009-11-23T04:33:38

Michael Jackson was made history by winning four American Music Awards on Sunday night, but he couldn’t beat Taylor Swift as the year’s favorite artist and the evening’s top winner.

The 19-year-old took the evening’s top award, giving Jackson his only loss of the night, and five trophies in all.

The victories came during a performance-filled show that closed with an S&M-themed, sexually charged performance by Adam Lambert (his performance included him shoving a male dancer’s face in his crotch).

Jackson’s trophies were accepted by his brother Jermaine, who paid tribute to his late brother by wearing glittery white glove. He accepted two of his brother’s awards, thanking “Allah for blessing my entire family” and naming each of his brothers and sisters.

He said Michael’s message is more important than any award.

“The message that Michael had will live on forever,” he said. “He saw good in everyone and he wanted everyone to do good. He always started with love.”

Jackson was named favorite male artist in the pop/rock and soul/R&B categories. His 2003 greatest-hits album, “Number Ones,” also won favorite album in both categories.

Jackson’s victories were among the highlights of the evening, which also featured a jaw-dropping performance from Lady Gaga and a special award for Whitney Houston.

Image: Lady Gaga performs at the American Music Awards
Mario Anzuoni  /  Reuters
Lady Gaga performs “Bad Romance” at the 2009 American Music Awards in Los Angeles on Sunday.
Lady Gaga, wearing a Vulcan-inspired headdress and vest filled with lights, performed songs from her new album, “The Fame Monster,” due in stores next week. She used her microphone to break into a glass case where a grand piano stood. It caught fire when she sat down to play.

The American Music Awards honor the year’s top-selling artists in eight popular genres. But even more than awards, the AMAs are about performances, and they came back to back to back Sunday.

The Black Eyed Peas, voted favorite pop/rock band, energized the crowd when they performed two of the year’s most popular hits: “I Got A Feeling” and “Boom Boom Pow.”

Slideshow: Celebrity Sightings Dancers wearing outfits made from stereo speakers shared the stage with Fergie, Taboo, apl.de.ap and will.i.am, who wore a pompadour wig. The high-energy medley melted into a Nirvana sample at the end, with will.i.am rocking on guitar.

Rihanna returned to the AMA stage Sunday, sporting blonde hair, a skintight, white peek-a-boo bodysuit and a tattoo down the front of her neck that read “Rated R,” the name of her new album, out next week.

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Janet Jackson opened the show with a medley of some of the biggest hits from her long career — all tracks that appear on her new greatest-hits collection, also called “Number Ones.”

Alicia Keys and Jay-Z dueted on their ode to New York City. Shakira was flanked by a dozen dancers in tiny black bodysuits as she sang her new single. Kelly Clarkson performed a stripped down version of her hit “Already Gone,” backed by a string quartet.

Jennifer Lopez added a boxing motif to her dance-filled performance, but she slipped during a tricky move and landed on her bottom.

Green Day lead singer Billie Joe Armstrong said the show left him star-struck.

“When you see all the talent that’s in the room” like Jay-Z and Lady Gaga, he said backstage, “it’s like holy moly, these are huge people.”

© 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Photos: 2009 American Music Awards

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  1. Date night!

    Nicole Kidman, right, and her husband, country star Keith Urban, arrive at the 37th Annual American Music Awards on Sunday, Nov. 22 at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles. Urban is a nominee for best country male artist. (Chris Pizzello / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Dude looks like a rocker

    Joe Perry, the lead guitarist of Aerosmith, gestures to toward cheering fans as he arrives at Nokia Theatre on Sunday, Nov. 22. (Chris Pizzello / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. America's 'Idol'

    "American Idol" winner Kris Allen strikes a pose with Katy O'Connell on the red carpet at the 2009 American Music Awards. (Kevin Winter/ama2009 / Getty Images Contributor) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. The lady is a vamp

    Singer Leona Lewis brings a little glamour to the red carpet at the American Music Awards on Sunday, Nov. 22. (Jason Merritt / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. Things that make you go 'hmmmmm'

    Actor Val Kilmer and rapper 50 Cent make for an unusual pairing on the red carpet at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles. (Jason Merritt / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Four Peas on a red carpet

    apl.de.ap (from left), Fergie, Taboo and will.ilam of the The Black Eyed Peas arrive at the American Music Awards at Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles on Sunday, Nov. 22. (Frazer Harrison/ama2009 / Getty Images Contributor) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. In the spotlight

    "Dancing With the Stars" co-host Samantha Harris chose to walk, not waltz, up the red carpet at the 37th Annual American Music Awards. (Chris Pizzello / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. Once and always an 'Idol'

    Kelly Clarkson sparkles for the cameras as she arrives at the American Music Awards on Sunday, Nov. 22. Clarkson was among the performers at the 37th annual show. (Chris Pizzello / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Golden girl

    Country star Carrie Underwood for the show at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles. She was a nominee for best country female artist. (Chris Pizzello / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. Rated Rihanna

    Rihanna, who was among the performers at Sunday's American Music Awards, arrives at the Nokia Theatre. (Danny Moloshok / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. Return of 'Rhythm Nation'

    Janet Jackson sings a medley of her hits to open the 37th Annual American Music Awards on Sunday, Nov. 22. (Mario Anzuoni / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. Giving it up

    Shakira performs her latest single, "Give It Up to Me," at the American Music Awards on Sunday, Nov. 22. (Matt Sayles / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. Did somebody say power ballad?

    Chris Daughtry, who followed Janet Jackson's fiery opening performance, slowed the tempo down at the American Music Awards. (Kevin Winter/ama2009 / Getty Images Contributor) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. All dressed up ...

    Adam Lambert poses in the audience at the 2009 American Music Awards at Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles on Sunday, Nov. 22. (Kevin Winter/ama2009 / Getty Images Contributor) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. New York, New York

    Alicia Keys, left, and Jay-Z donned formal attire to perform "Empire State of Mind" at the American Music Awards on Sunday, Nov. 22. (Matt Sayles / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  16. Alternative winner

    Mike Dirnt, left, Billie Joe Armstrong, center, and Tre Cool - collectively known as Green Day - face the press after claiming the award for favorite Alternative Rock Artist at the 2009 American Music Awards. (Jason Merritt / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  17. Earning her stripes

    Rihanna offered snippets from two songs from her new album "Rated R," "Wait Your Turn" and "Hard" at the American Music Awards. (Mario Anzuoni / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  18. Going Gaga

    Lady Gaga, wearing a Vulcan-inspired headdress and vest filled with lights, performed songs from her new album, “The Fame Monster,” due in stores next week. She used her microphone to break into a glass case, where a grand piano sat waiting. It caught fire when she sat down to play. (Kevin Winter/ama2009 / Getty Images Contributor) Back to slideshow navigation
  19. Oooops!

    Jennifer Lopez featured a boxing motif to her dance-filled performance of "Louboutins," but she slipped during a tricky move and landed on her bottom. (Kevin Winter/ama2009 / Getty Images Contributor) Back to slideshow navigation
  20. Finding her 'Strength'

    Whitney Houston performs "I Didn't Know My Own Strength" before accepting the award for favorite International Arist at the American Music Awards. (Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  21. One for the cowboys

    Carrie Underwood performs "Cowboy Casanova" at the American Music Awards on Sunday, Nov. 22. (Kevin Winter/ama2009 / Getty Images Contributor) Back to slideshow navigation
  22. What would Simon say?

    Adam Lambert closed the American Music Awards with an S&M-themed, sexually charged performance that featured the "American Idol" runner-up shoving a male dancer’s face in his crotch. (Kevin Winter/ama2009 / Getty Images Contributor) Back to slideshow navigation
  23. One for Michael

    Michael Jackson’s trophies were accepted by his brother Jermaine, who paid tribute to his late brother by wearing glittery white glove. He said Michael’s message is more important than any award. “The message that Michael had will live on forever,” he said. “He saw good in everyone and he wanted everyone to do good. He always started with love.” (Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
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