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EDITIONS
 Tuesday, 14 January, 2003, 05:21 GMT
Eminem sweeps US music prizes
Ozzy Osbourne and family
The Osbournes hosted the evening
Rapper Eminem won all four categories in which he was nominated at this year's American Music Awards - but did not even turn up to the Los Angeles ceremony.

He won best rock album, best hip-hop/R&B album, and best male artist in both genres.

Mekhi Phifer
Eminem calling: Phifer accepted the rapper's prize
Ashanti, who lost out to him in both album races, had the consolation of winning best new artist in the two categories.

Other double winners included country trio the Dixie Chicks, and rock band Creed.

Rapper Nelly had four nominations, but was beaten by Eminem in all categories, although he did win a fans' choice award.

The American Music Awards compete with the Grammys as one of the biggest ceremonies recognising contemporary music and spans many genres including Latin, pop, country and alternative.

Sheryl Crow
Sheryl Crow won top female rock artist
This year's event, at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, was hosted by Ozzy Osbourne and his family.

The rocker's wife Sharon and his two children Jack and Kelly, stars of their own TV show, joined him on stage, but his rarely-seen daughter Annie stayed away.

Free-swearing Osbourne was bleeped so often during his opening remarks that television viewers found it hard to follow what he was saying.

On the phone

Ashanti, 22, sold 3.1m copies of her eponymous debut album, and was one of the music industry's big success stories of 2002.

Ashanti
Ashanti: A nod to the Almighty
"Thank God for giving me the strength to do this," said Ashanti. "It's a great night."

But The Eminem Show shifted 7.7m copies, and it was the rapper's night.

His co-star in the film 8 Mile, Mekhi Phifer, accepted the award on his behalf, brandishing a mobile phone.

"Hey y'all, this is Eminem on the phone!" said Phifer.

Martina McBride won best female country singer and Sheryl Crow received best female rock artist.

The nominations are based on sales figures and radio play, while the eventual winner is selected by a group of 20,000 music fans.

Veteran country outfit Alabama won a special award of merit, introduced on video by former President George Bush Snr.

Christian band Avalon took the award for contemporary inspirational performance.

Previous country music double winner Tim McGraw won top male country star, winning over Toby Keith and Alan Jackson.

Pop legend Sir Elton John performed Tiny Dancer with McGraw at the ceremony, and said he was "very shocked" by the news that The Who's Pete Townshend was arrested on Monday on suspicion of possessing child pornography.

"I love Pete, and my thoughts are with him," said Sir Elton.

See also:

08 Nov 02 | Reviews
07 Nov 02 | Music
11 Nov 02 | Film
10 Jan 02 | Music
14 Nov 02 | Music
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