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Rookies Lady Gaga and Adam Lambert made their respective cases for becoming staples of the awards-show season.
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Taylor Swift (who appeared via satellite from London) took home five statuettes, and Michael Jackson got four at Sunday night’s fan-determined American Music Awards show, which took place at the Nokia Theatre in downtown L.A.

But the AMAs are more about glitz than trophies, and that aspect was handled with fitting excessiveness by all concerned. Janet Jackson opened things up with a medley of old songs, Rihanna, sporting white striped bondage gear, sang a mash-up of ”Wait Your Turn” and “Hard” from the upcoming Rated R, and J.Lo pretended to be a boxer while performing her new single “Louboutins” in an over-the-top production number, during which she took an unfortunate tumble, landing on her tuchus, though we didn’t see it on the West Coast, where her leap was slo-mo’d to cover her imperfect landing.

Rookies Lady Gaga and Adam Lambert made their respective cases for becoming staples of the awards-show season. Jay Leno should have one or the other on every week.

Gaga, who segued from “Bad Romance” into “Speechless,” took the stage in a flesh-colored bodysuit with pointy boobs and flashing lights by using her microphone stand to break open a glass box with a piano inside. Straddling the bench, she then proceeded to smash glass bottles as she performed the song. In a bizarre touch, she had violinists perform wearing gas masks in smoke-filled chambers beside her. Why, you ask? Because she’s Lady Gaga, of course.

Lambert went for a Bowie look, sporting a silvery suit with spikes on his left shoulder for the show’s closing number, to belt out the “For Your Entertainment” from the album of the same name. He also planted a kiss on his presumably male keyboard player and introduced a dancer’s face to his crotch.

Note: No dancers were harmed during any of the above set pieces.

Also performing were Shakira, Mary J. Blige, Keith Urban, Whitney Houston and Eminem and, of course, the ubiquitous Black Eyed Peas, who got two whachamacallits. A-Rod, who showed up with Kate Hudson, introduced Jay-Z (also a double winner) and Alicia Keys. The joint was crawling with Idol alums, as these events tend to be, with Carrie Underwood, Kelly Clarkson, Chris Daughtry and Lambert all in the hizouse.

Afterward, Jay-Z and Jimmy Iovine headed across the street to Staples Center, where they watched the Lakers dismantle the Oklahoma City Thunder.

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