Usher was in tears after losing two gongs at the American Music Awards to Justin Bieber – because he was so proud of his teenage protege.
The teen singer was the night’s biggest winner with four awards and the youngest performer ever to capture the entertainer award.
“To see Justin take the award – having received that award before – it was like an out of body experience, you understand?” Usher, who won two other awards, said backstage. “It was emotional. I don’t cry that often, but I did. Hopefully it gives an indication of how hard we worked to build a career that hopefully will flourish and blossom over the years.”
Justin, who is signed to Usher’s label, had a perfect debut at the American Music Awards, winning all four awards he was nominated for – entertainer of the year, breakthrough artist of the year, favourite pop/rock male and favourite pop/rock album for My World 2.0.
“This means the world to me,” said Justin after winning breakthrough artist. “I come from the smallest town in the world, of like 30,000 people; I never thought this was possible.”
Eminem, whose Recovery was a critical and commercial triumph, was nominated for five awards on the evening, tying him with Lady Antebellum, who also had a breakthrough year with their near triple-platinum album Need You Now.
Neither were the night’s big winners, but they came away from the night with something. Eminem got two awards, while the country trio won favourite country band, duo or group.
A pregnant Pink was among the evening’s performance highlights. Unlike recent performances marked by a high-wire act, she stayed close to the ground to perform her latest song, Raise Your Glass.
Rihanna, Black Eyed Peas and Kid Rock were among the other performers.