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Justin Bieber hugs his mom at the AMAs.
"This is for all the haters," the Canadian teen singer said while accepting the trophy, adding that many music observers thought he would only last for a couple of years on the music scene. "I feel like I'm gonna be here for a very long time," he said to cheers from the crowd.
Bieber later returned to the stage to collect the award for favorite pop/rock album for "Believe." Jenny McCarthy kissed the young artist so many times that he joked, "Wow, I feel violated right now."
He later claimed the artist of the year award, the top prize of the ceremony, and brought mom Pattie Mallette onstage with him.
The AMAs are chosen by fans who vote online for their favorites. This year's ceremony marks 40 years of the AMAs, and vintage clips of years past were mixed in with the new awards.
But the show featured numerous modern twists. Instead of presenters opening envelopes, each presenter read the winners from the screen of a Samsung Galaxy Note 2. "Modern Family" star Eric Stonestreet made a joke out of it, saying "It's not coming on," as he opened the device. But he quickly read the name of Taylor Swift, winner of the favorite country female artist honor.
When the AMAs began, viral videos didn't even exist, but two artists who've succeeded in that area were highlighted on the show.
South Korean rapper PSY took the stage to perform his goofy viral hit "Gangnam Style," and was joined by blast-from-the-past star MC Hammer.
Also, the best new artist award went to a woman whose song was paid homage in numerous viral video tributes this summer. Carly Rae Jepsen, whose hit "Call Me Maybe" was parodied and lip-synced by everyone from Olympic teams to Cookie Monster, claimed her first honor, beating out British boy band One Direction, among others.
Katy Perry was named best pop/rock female artist.
Nicki Minaj, decked out in a bright yellow floor-length gown, claimed the award for favorite rap or hip-hop album for "Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded." She changed into a cleavage-revealing black gown to claim her second trophy of the night, the award for favorite rap or hip-hop artist, when she added her hairdresser to the list of thank-yous.
Maroon 5 won for favorite band, duo or group, pop/rock.
Linkin Park took home the award for favorite alternative artist.
Luke Bryan won his first-ever AMA for best male country artist. Lady Antebellum took home the trophy for best country band, duo or group, making it the third time the group has claimed that award in three years.
Carrie Underwood won for favorite country album for "Blown Away."
Usher, whose live, laser-filled performance opened the show, won for favorite soul/R&B male artist. Beyonce won for favorite soul/R&B female artist, and Rihanna's "Talk That Talk" won for favorite soul/R&B album.
Adele won for favorite adult contemporary artist.
Shakira claimed the award for favorite Latin artist.
The first-ever electronic music award was handed out to David Guetta, who thanked the crowd via satellite from Rio, where he's touring. He said he shared the award with "all the DJs, producers, the promoters" and others in the electronic-music scene.
tobyMac won the award for favorite contemporary inspirational artist.
Stevie Wonder took the stage to present a tribute to legendary "American Bandstand" host Dick Clark, who passed away in April at age 82. Numbers included "Master Blaster (Jammin')," "My Cheri Amour" and "Sir Duke."