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Usher, OutKast rule AMAs

LOS ANGELES -- R&B sensation Usher won all his show-leading four nominations at the American Music Awards last night, and rap funksters OutKast went three-for-three during a performance-studded, occasionally censored broadcast ceremony.

''Thank you for this moment. Thank you for this year," Usher said as he picked up his last award of the night. ''It's been amazing."

Usher won for favorite male soul-R&B artist, best pop-rock artist, best pop-rock album, and best soul-R&B album for ''Confessions," which sold more than 1 million copies in its debut week.

OutKast, the Grammy winners whose album ''Speakerboxxx-The Love Below" spawned the mega-hit ''Hey Ya!," took home awards for favorite pop-rock band, favorite rap-hip-hop album, and best rap-hip-hop group.

In his acceptance remarks, OutKast's Big Boi paid tribute to founding Wu-Tang Clan member O.D.B., who collapsed and died inside a New York recording studio Saturday. The rapper's cause of death was not immediately clear (see obituary on Page C12).

''Rest in peace Ol' Dirty Bastard," Big Boi said. ''We love you."

Soul diva Alicia Keys won favorite female artist in the soul-R&B category, edging out Janet Jackson and Beyonce.

Brooks & Dunn earned their fourth award for favorite country band. Toby Keith won awards for favorite country male artist and best country album.

''A lot of work went into this project," Keith said of his album ''Shock'n Y'All." ''This is cool."

Sheryl Crow beat out Avril Lavigne and Jessica Simpson for the favorite female pop-rock artist award and received the prize for favorite adult contemporary artist. Rockers Linkin Park scored the favorite alternative music artist for the second year in a row.

Country singer Kenny Chesney was surprised to win the award for favorite performer.

''I really didn't think anybody was going to beat Usher tonight," Chesney said.

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