2011 American Music Awards: A Viewer’s Guide

By: Becky Bain / November 18, 2011

The 2011 American Music Awards returns once again this Sunday, and though its main purpose is to honor the best in music by handing out trophies, the greatest honor an artist can receive is landing one of the many, many performance slots during the three-hour show. This year’s crop of performers is certainly an all-star cast featuring the biggest names and loudest voices in pop, country, hip-hop and R&B, and as last year’s show received the lowest ratings in the history of the telecast, there’s nowhere to go but up, right? Head below for everything you need to know about music’s big night, or just watch the AMA performances:

**Expect the show to kick off with every single one of Nicki Minaj’s facial expressions, as she’ll be performing the first number, “Where Dem Girls At”, with David Guetta.

** will.i.am will be premiering his new solo tune, “T.H.E.” (aka “The Hardest Ever”), from his upcoming album #willpower. Jennifer Lopez will join him. Mick Jagger, who is also featured on the track, will not.

** More Jagger swagger! As Maroon 5 and Christina Aguilera are slated to perform, be prepared to shake your hips like a Rolling Stones frontman as the two coaches from The Voice bust out their hit single “Moves Like Jagger”. Adam Levine will be pulling double duty, as he’ll also be saddled up with Gym Class Heroes on their single “Stereo Hearts”.

** Ludacris and Enrique Iglesias are set to make the ladies swoon with “Tonight (I’m Lovin’ You)”.

** Pitbull, Marc Anthony and Lil Jon will make it rain by performing “Rain Over Me”.

** Drake will perform his Take Care track “Headlines”. Hopefully not while crying.

** Need more performances crammed into a three-hour broadcast? You’ve got it! Katy Perry, Kelly Clarkson, Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift, The Band Perry, OneRepublic, Mary J. Blige, LMFAO and Chris Brown are also scheduled to take the stage.

** Though she’s up for four awards (the most out of any artist this year), don’t expect Adele to sing — she’s still recovering after undergoing throat surgery.

** And finally, get ready for some potentially awkward run-ins: Rihanna and her ex Chris Brown are both up for Favorite Soul/R&B Album. Katy Perry and her ex Travie McCoy will have to avoid each other backstage before their respective performances, and ditto that for recently split couple Marc Anthony and Jennifer Lopez.

The 2011 American Music Awards will take place at the Nokia Theater in LA on Sunday November 20, and wil air on ABC at 8 p.m. EST. Make sure to keep one eye on the tube and one at @idolator, as we’ll be live-tweeting the big show all night long!