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Niall's delight as One Direction win Artist of the Year gong in US

One Direction have proved American girls love Irish and British boys after they won the artist of the year title at the American Music Awards as well as two other accolades.

The band were last night's big winner next to Katy Perry at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles.

Competition in the category was tough, with Iggy Azalea, Beyonce, Luke Bryan, Eminem, Imagine Dragons, John Legend, Lorde, Katy Perry and Pharrell Williams competing for the honour.

One Direction also won favourite band, duo or group (pop/rock) and favourite album (pop/rock) for Midnight Memories at the awards show, decided by fan votes.

"This has been a real perfect day... America feels like a second home to us," Liam Payne said on stage with his bandmates when they won the night's first award. The group released their new album, Four, last week.


Another British success was Sam Smith, who won the favourite male artist, pop/rock award, beating Pharrell and John Legend.

"Genuinely from my heart I didn't think I was going to be winning this. This is unreal," he said.

"But mainly, thank you to my fan base. You guys are amazing, and last year I wrote an album about being lonely and tonight, I couldn't feel further from lonely, so thank you so much."

Perry won three honours as well, including single of the year for No 1 hit Dark Horse, favourite female artist - pop/rock and favourite artist - adult contemporary.

Though she was absent - she is on tour in Australia - the 2014 AMAs was still jam-packed with star power.

Breakthrough Australian newcomer Azalea (24), who was the top nominee with six nods, won favourite album (rap/hip-hop) for The New Classic and favourite artist (rap/hip-hop), defeating rap heavyweights Eminem and Drake.

Australian boy band 5 Seconds of Summer won new artist of the year, and performed a cover of The Romantics' What I Like About You.

Taylor Swift kicked off the show as a maneater by feeding a boy a poisonous apple, holding burning roses and giving crazy eyes during a performance of her new number one song, Blank Space.

She received the first-ever Dick Clark award for excellence from singer Diana Ross.