November 12, 2008 at 09:36 PM EST

For the first time in its 36-year history, the American Music Awards (airing Nov. 23 on ABC) will televise an hour-long preshow that includes a live, two-song performance by American Idol winner David Cook along with extensive red-carpet interviews delivered by a motley crew, among them Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger (who’ll serve as music correspondent), Project Runway’s Christian Siriano (handling fashion coverage), Dancing With the Stars judge Carrie Ann Inaba, and The Bachelor host Chris Harrison.

From arrivals to the stage, divas will rule the ceremony, which is being held at Los Angeles’ Nokia Theater (where, coincidentally, Cook delivered his winning Idol performance) and not the Shrine Auditorium, as in years past. On the bill are megastars like Mariah Carey, Beyoncé Knowles, Rihanna, Christina Aguilera, and Pink. But one big-name female artist with a new album to promote is noticeably absent from the lineup: Britney Spears will instead give a birthday performance on ABC’s Good Morning America Dec. 2, the day her album Circus is released. Meanwhile, Miley Cyrus will celebrate her sweet 16 on stage at the AMAs.

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