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American Music Awards: Justin Beiber wins big and brings Mom (+video)

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Another collaboration was the night's most colorful performance: Korean rapper PSY and MC Hammer. Hammer joined the buzzed-about pop star for his viral hit "Gangnam Style." PSY rocked traditional "Hammer" pants as they danced to his jam and to Hammer's "Too Legit to Quit."

Minaj, who wore three different wigs and four outfits throughout the night, repeated her AMAs wins from last year, picking up trophies for favorite rap/hip-hop artist and album for "Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded." She was in an all-white get-up, including fur coat and pink hair when she performed her new song "Freedom." The scene was ghostly and snowy, as a choir — also in white — joined her onstage. One background singer stole the performance, belting semi-high notes as Minaj looked on.

Usher kicked off the three-hour show with green laser lights beaming onstage as he performed a medley of songs, including "Numb," ''Climax" and "Can't Stop, Won't Stop," which featured a smoky floor and a number of backup dancers, as Usher jammed in all black, with the exception of his red shoes. He won favorite soul/R&B male artist.

His protege Bieber won favorite pop/rock male artist in the first award handed out and gave a shout-out to those who didn't think he would last on the music scene.

"I want to say this is for all the haters who thought I was just here for one or two years. I feel like I'm going to be here for a very long time," he said.

He also won favorite pop/rock album for his platinum-selling third album, "Believe." He gave a stripped down, acoustic performance of "As Long As You Love Me," then transitioned to the dance-heavy "Beauty and a Beat," where Minaj joined him onstage, grinding with the teen for a few seconds.

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