updated 11/20/2011 AT 11:00 PM ET
•originally published 11/20/2011 AT 11:30 PM ET
Talk about striking gold.
“This is one of the craziest things that has ever happened to me,” the singer, who also earned the title in 2009, told the audience at Los Angeles’s Nokia Theatre L.A. Live. “Thank you to the fans. Please, never change.”
Swift was also recognized as the favorite country female artist (her fourth consecutive win in that category), and her 2010 record Speak Now was dubbed the favorite country album of the year.
Maroon 5 kicked off the night with a win for favorite pop band, duo or group – their first AMA victory ever.
Other stars picking up awards: Nicki Minaj, who opened the show with a bump-and-grind performance with David Guetta, was crowned favorite rap/hip-hop artist and was also recognized for her album Pink Friday.
“There’s so much love in this room,” she said as she accepted her second award of the night.
Rihanna, who was not in attendence, came out on top over ex-boyfriend Chris Brown for favorite soul/R&B album. Also absent: Adele, who couldn’t attend because of her recent throat surgery, was awarded favorite pop/rock female artist, favorite adult contemporary artist and favorite pop/rock album for 21.
Other winners included Lady Antebellum (favorite country band/duo/group), Beyoncé (favorite soul/R&B female artist) and Katy Perry (a special award for her record number of hit singles).
Highlights – And High Notes – of the Night
Christmas came a little early when Justin Bieber pushed his paternity drama aside to bring some holiday cheer to the stage. As audience members twirled red glow sticks, the pop star sang “Mistletoe” from his Christmas album, Under the Mistletoe.
That’s one way to make headlines! When Kelly Clarkson took the stage, she made a sly nod to recent media speculation about her love life. “Is she gay? Is she straight? Why is she still single?” actors dressed like paperboys shouted before she took the stage. Country or pop star – “When will she make up her mind?” they asked as she launched into a powerhouse performance of “Mr. Know It All.”
Just call her a tough act to follow. Jennifer Lopez’s costume was barely there, but the singer went all out as she shook and shimmied to a medley of her hits “Until It Beats No More,” “Papi” and “On the Floor.” Marc Anthony, whom she split from last summer after seven years of marriage, took the stage moments later with Pitbull and Lil Jon to sing “Rain Over Me.” Lopez later returned to the stage with Will.I.Am for a duet of “Hard.”