Hill Wins Three American Music Awards;Creed, Braxton Win a Pair Each

The country husband-and-wife team of Faith Hill and Tim McGraw dominated the American Music Awards on Monday, as Hill earned bragging rights at home with three of their four trophies.

The rock band Creed and soul singer Toni Braxton each won two awards, an honor decided by music fans.

Hill was named favorite female artist, favorite female country artist and her disc, Breathe was named best country album. McGraw won favorite male country artist.

"Wow!" she said after winning favorite female country artist. "This is something else." She then made fellow country star and husband Tim McGraw burst into laughter when she added: "I was going to wear my husband's underwear but it had a hole in it."

"We have a philosophy," Hill later said. "We work hard, we have fun and be nice."

Creed was chosen favorite alternative music artist and their multi-platinum album, Human Clay, beat teen poppers 'N Sync and Britney Spears in the best pop album category. Each artist was snubbed by the Grammys in that category.

Braxton won her third American Music Award for favorite soul album, after winning the same award in 1995 and 1997, and favorite female rhythm 'n' blues artist. She said it eased the pain after spraining her knee twice in rehearsal.

"Two awards for two sprains," she said backstage. "I'm really happy."

Score one for the Backstreet Boys in the boy band rivalry; they beat 'N Sync and Creed for favorite pop group. 'N Sync, however, won a trophy voted on by fans in an Internet poll.

Destiny's Child, of "Say My Name" fame, was named favorite rhythm 'n' blues group. The Dixie Chicks were the favorite country group.

The belly button-baring count stood at six. Jennifer Lopez performed in a midriff-exposing outfit, host Britney Spears stripped off a pink gown in favor of skimpy two-piece in the show's first seven minutes. The busy Spears, co-host with LL Cool J, revealed eight separate outfits.

Shock rocker Marilyn Manson had the night's only visible corset.

Unlike the Grammys, which are voted on by Recording Academy members, music fans determine the awards, making them a popularity contest. A polling group sent out 20,000 ballots to record buyers.

The rock band 3 Doors Down, who made the hit song, "Kryptonite," was named favorite new artist in the pop category. Donnell Jones won the same honor in the rhythm 'n blues category. Country singer Billy Gilman won the award as a country artist, taking his first trophy before puberty.

Two artists who were largely idle last year won trophies: Kid Rock as favorite male pop artist and Celine Dion as favorite adult contemporary artist.

Veteran rapper Dr. Dre beat out his protege, Eminem, for favorite rap artist.

"I love the fact that I won," he said backstage. "It means somebody's paying attention to my hard work, and that's exactly what it is, a lot of hard work."

Brian McKnight beat D'Angelo and Sisqo as favorite male soul artist, proving two names beat one.

"This is really, really a big surprise. I really thought I was going to be at my basketball game," McKnight said, glancing at his watch.

Janet Jackson was singled out for the special Award of Merit given each year for "outstanding contributions to the musical entertainment of the American public." She was promised fans and new album and tour later this year.

Previous Award of Merit recipients include her brother, Michael Jackson, Ella Fitzgerald, Paul McCartney, Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Billy Joel and Gloria Estefan.

Aerosmith also received a special International Artist Award.