By Piya Sinha-Roy
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Male artists led the early on-screen winners at Sunday's American Music Awards, including British boy band One Direction and Canadian rapper The Weeknd, but it was the women of pop who kept all eyes on the stage with vibrant performances.
One Direction won best pop/rock album for the third consecutive year for the group's latest album, "Made in the A.M."
"To say that we have won this award for three years on the bounce is pretty incredible ... and we wouldn't have been able to do it without our fans," bandmember Niall Horan said on stage, with screaming fans in the audience.
The band is also up for the top award of the night, artist of the year.
R&B veteran Prince presented best soul/R&B album to The Weeknd, real name Abel Tesfaye, for his "Beauty Behind The Madness" record, while country star Luke Bryan was named favorite country male artist.
The women of pop music dominated the early performances, with singer and host Jennifer Lopez kicking off the show with a high-octane dance medley of this year's top pop songs, saying: "Tonight is about the music, and this year's music makes me want to dance."
Selena Gomez performed a sultry rendition of her latest hit "Same Old Love" dressed in a sequined cat suit, and country star Carrie Underwood belted her romantic ballad "Heartbeat."
Demi Lovato took to the stage to perform her feisty "Confident," while Ariana Grande got the crowd dancing with her upbeat hit "Focus."
Meghan Trainor and Charlie Puth sang their duet "Marvin Gaye" and took audiences by surprise with a steamy onstage kiss.
Unlike the irreverent and unexpected antics of MTV's Video Music Awards and the prestige of the Grammy Awards, the fan-voted AMAs offer up the year's most popular music acts, with a spotlight on performances.
(Reporting by Piya Sinha-Roy; Editing by Alan Crosby and Peter Cooney)