Florida became a focal point after Martin's killer was freed under the state's stand your ground law. It was the first win of the night for Macklemore and Lewis, whose album "The Heist" has been an unexpected hit and made them the AMA's top nominees with six.
Katy Perry opened the show looking like a princess out of a classic Japanese painting. Dressed in a traditional Japanese dress, Perry's show-starting performance of "Unconditionally" included dozens of colorfully clad dancers waved fans, shadow danced in front of rice-paper screens and played the drums.
Perry was the early focus of the awards show, held at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles, arriving on the red carpet in a black strapless dress to screams from hundreds of fans. She said before the show she wanted to up her game, given the chance to open, and the whirling stage production was a wash of colors and movements before Perry disappeared in a puff of smoke.
One Direction was at times drowned out by screams during an understated performance of "Story of My Life." The decibel level was that way from the moment the British boy band arrived on the carpet, all smiles and dapper suits. Harry Styles stopped to take a picture with three fans.
Timberlake strapped on an acoustic guitar and played a soulfully raucous version of "Drink You Away." Macklemore crowd surfed on "Can't Hold Us." Jennifer Lopez absolutely nailed the elaborate dance numbers during her tribute to Salsa queen Celia Cruz, taking two dozen dancers through their paces while wearing a shimmering silver dress.
She winked at the crowd as she finished the number, the dancers sprawled around her on the floor.
Lady Gaga and R. Kelly put on an elaborate production for their song "Do What U Want," staging a presidential affair. Kelly played the president and Gaga a Marilyn Monroe-like mistress. Kelly gazed upward as Gaga table-danced on his desk, then stormed off the stage as an actor playing a reporter chased him asking about the affair.