Taylor Swift dominated the American Music Awards last night, winning three categories, including artist of the year.

Taylor Swift dominated the American Music Awards last night, winning three categories, including artist of the year. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images)

Taylor Swift was all over the American Music Awards, presenting, performing and ultimately winning the top prize, Artist of the Year. No surprise, the AMAs are a popularity contest with little to do with artistic integrity or talent.

She topped Justin Timberlake, rappers Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Rihanna and Bruno Mars, who is having a breakout year and probably deserved to win.

Swift also won for best country album and best country singer female. Why are we not surprised. Still it could easily be questioned, why Taylor is still even being considered a country artist. And, her album Red is pure pop.

But the AMAs are basically a popularity contest, and Taylor Swift’s fan base is just too insurmountable to overcome. Still she had a solid year with her new album Red, and she has thoroughly transitioned from country to a cross-genre superstar.

The list of snubbed artists includes Kanye West, Chris Brown, Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber. Anything they share in common? Their off-stage antics this year obviously turned off much of the public.

The same can’t be said for Katy Perry, who didn’t receive a single nomination.

In another stunning development, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, won for favorite Rap/Hip-Hop album with their set The Heist. That’s sure to lead to complaints in some quarters that white rappers are “culturally appropriating” black thing.

They beat out the king of rap Jay-Z’s Magna Carta… Holy Grail and Kendrick Lamar’s good kid, m.A.A.d. city. Lamar is the breakout rap artist of the year (no award for that) and probably deserved to win the category.

Then, again, rap and hip hop have always been powered by white suburban kids, who make up the majority of rap and hip hop music buyers.

In another sign that the AMA’s generally lack credibility Justin Timberlake won for best male artist pop/rock and best male artist soul/R&B. Say what??? Brown may be a punk, but he got no consideration at all. And, what about Frank Ocean?

Bieber never even made the list of nominees.

And, riddle me this: How did Ariana Grande win New Artist of the Year? She’s nothing if not another homogenized pop princess, with only middling talent.

Same goes for One Direction, winner of Favorite Band, Duo or Group in the Pop/Rock category. Sounds like these awards went to the acts with the biggest marketing budgets.

Here’s how this year’s nominations broke down. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis had six; Swift and Justin Timberlake had five each, and Florida Georgia Line, Rihanna and Robin Thicke collected foureach. Bruno Mars and Imagine Dragons were nominated for three each. Is the talent pool really this thin?

One Direction, Katy Perry and Miley Cyrus highlighted performances.

Winners of the 2013 American Music Awards

Artist of Year

Taylor Swift
Justin Timberlake
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
Bruno Mars

Single of Year

Florida Georgia Line featuring Nelly – “Cruise”
Robin Thicke featuring Pharrell & T.I. – “Blurred Lines”
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis featuring Wanz – “Thrift Shop”

New Artist

Ariana Grande
Florida Georgia Line
Imagine Dragons
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
Phillip Phillips

Favorite Male Artist, Pop/Rock

Justin Timberlake
Bruno Mars
Robin Thicke

Favorite Band, Duo, Group, Pop/Rock

One Direction
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
Imagine Dragons

Favorite Album, Pop/Rock

One Direction: Take Me Home
Taylor Swift: Red
Justin Timberlake: The 20/20 Experience

Favorite Male Artist, Country

Luke Bryan
Hunter Hayes
Blake Shelton

Female Artist, Country

Taylor Swift
Carrie Underwood
Miranda Lambert

Favorite Album, Country

Taylor Swift, Red
Luke Bryan – Crash My Party
Florida Georgia Line – Here’s to the Good Times

Favorite Album, Rap/Hip-Hop

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis: The Heist
Jay Z: Magna Carta… Holy Grail
Kendrick Lamar: good kid, m.A.A.d. city

Favorite Male Artist, Soul/R&B

Justin Timberlake
Robin Thicke

Favorite Female Artist, Soul/R&B

Alicia Keys

Favorite Album, Soul/R&B

Justin Timberlake: The 20/20 Experience
Rihanna – Unapologetic
Robin Thicke – Blurred Lines

Favorite Artist, Alternative Rock

Imagine Dragons
The Lumineers
Mumford & Sons

Favorite Artist, Latin Music

Marc Anthony
Prince Royce
Romeo Santos

Favorite Artist, Electronic Dance Music (EDM)

Daft Punk
Calvin Harris

Icon Award