LOS ANGELES (CBS/AP) – It starts with something new by Rihanna and ends with something old – the recently reunited New Kids on the Block and the Backstreet Boys.
And in between at Sunday night’s American Music Awards will be performances by Bon Jovi, Pink, Santana, Kid Rock, Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift, Katy Perry, Ke$ha, Christina Aguilera, Ne-Yo and Usher.
“Each performance is like a show unto itself,” said Larry Klein, who is producing the ceremony at the Nokia Theater. “We’re the only show that gives each individual artist the creativity and the right to collaborate and come up with something great that’s specifically done just for them.”
For Pink, that means a stage full of skateboard ramps, skateboarders and aerial artists. Another performer (Klein wouldn’t say who) will appear on an industrial set with moving boxes and elevator lifts.
Carlos Santana, who is performing with Gavin Rossdale, says he doesn’t have any special tricks up his sleeve other than to envelop the audience with music and “make the females happy.”
Bon Jovi will perform an extended set to celebrate the band’s 25 years in music: A medley of fan favorites.
Rihanna’s opening will feature “a song no one’s ever heard her do before,” along with a track from her new album, Klein said.
Closing the show, New Kids on the Block and the Backstreet Boys make their first-ever TV performance together.
“It’s like a mashup. They’re throwing lyrics back and forth, trading off songs,” Klein said. “It’s something that no one’s ever seen before.”
With so much music, the awards in nine popular genres are almost an afterthought.
Rapper Eminem and country trio Lady Antebellum lead nominees with five apiece. Bieber is up for four awards, while Ke$ha and Perry have three bids each.
Nominees were determined by radio play and music sales, but fans voted online for the winners.
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