Tim McGraw and Destiny's Child also nab two apiece
Alicia Keys
Credit: Alicia Keys: Craig Sjodin/ImageDirect

In the end, Michael Jackson blinked. While he appeared on last night’s American Music Awards to collect an ”Artist of the Century” citation, he did not risk being disinvited from next month’s Grammys by performing on the AMAs, even on tape. Instead of taped rendition of ”Man in the Mirror” he had promised, he offered a taped montage of highlight moments from his career. Jackson’s on-again/off-again performance promise remains at the heart of AMA producer Dick Clark‘s $10 million lawsuit against Grammy chief Michael Greene, arguing that the Grammys have long unfairly blackballed performers who appear on Clark’s annual January ABC awards show from appearing on CBS’ Grammy telecast a month later, while Greene says that his award show’s exclusivity policy is standard industry practice.

Backstage at the AMAs, Garth Brooks slammed both sides, saying ”When you get to the thing where all you’re trying to do is eliminate the other, then the only thing that suffers is the music and the people that make it. So I would say, ‘Back off. You’re nothing without the artists.”’

Oh, by the way, there were also some trophies handed out, with country hitmaker Tim McGraw and R&B divas Alicia Keys, Destiny’s Child, and Aaliyah winning two awards apiece. Keys was named favorite new artist in both the pop/rock and soul/R&B categories. Also in the soul/R&B category, ”Aaliyah” was named favorite album, and the late singer was named favorite female artist. Destiny’s Child won the favorite soul/Ramp;B duo or group award and favorite pop/rock album for ”Survivor.” McGraw won favorite male country artist and favorite country album (”Set This Circus Down”) and picked up a third trophy for wife Faith Hill (favorite female country artist), who was at home taking care of the couple’s newborn. Luther Vandross, who paid tribute to George Harrison by performing ”My Sweet Lord,” won his seventh AMA trophy, for favorite male soul/R&B artist. Unlike the Grammys, picked by industry insiders, the AMAs are chosen by a poll of 20,000 fans. Which explains Justin Timberlake‘s response when ‘N Sync was greeted by apparent boos upon beating Dave Matthews Band and U2 for favorite pop/rock band. ”Oh, quit booing,” he said, ”U2 is going to get Grammys.”…