Given the reception she received from fans on the red carpet, there's little wonder Katy Perry loves the American Music Awards.
Perry arrived in a strapless black dress with silver accents Sunday night and walked the red carpet before preparing to open the live ABC broadcast with her latest single "Unconditionally."
"I appreciate all the other awards shows for what they are," Perry said in an earlier interview. "Some are just kind of shock jock shows. Some are just like, 'Hey, let's see how many celebrities we can get together.' Some are actually legitimate like the Grammys, and the AMAs is a very legitimate show with musicality to it."
Three hours after Perry opens the show at 8 p.m. EST at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles, Miley Cyrus will close things down. In between, most of the year's top performers are scheduled to take the stage, including Justin Timberlake, Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Luke Bryan and Florida Georgia Line, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis. Pitbull hosts and will perform with Ke$ha, and Jennifer Lopez will offer a tribute to Celia Cruz.
Pre-show performances in a lounge-like area could be heard from the nearby red carpet as stars began to arrive. Aloe Blacc, in a Fedora, performed "Wake Me Up" flawlessly, and the crowd went crazy for him.
The decibels really went off the scale when One Direction arrived, all smiles and dapper suits. The quintet's Harry Styles stopped to take a picture with three fans. Billy Ray Cyrus also mingled with fans, signing autographs and taking photos.
Hanging over the spectacle was the question of how his daughter might up the ante in an especially memorable year that's included some brinksmanship, a few totally odd moments and plenty of skin?
When last we saw Perry, she was floating above the stage at the MTV European Music Awards, a human maypole of sorts. Cyrus was at the Amsterdam show, too, smoking a joint and sharing the stage with a little person — proving just how easily she could top her over-the-top twerk-a-thon on the MTV Video Music Awards.
Macklemore and Lewis are the fan-voted AMA's top nominees this year with six, while Swift and Timberlake have five apiece. All three acts are up for top honor artist of the year, along with Rihanna and Bruno Mars.
Swift and Justin Bieber, who is not nominated for artist this year, have alternated victories in the category the last four years, cashing in on their rabid, social media-driven fan bases.
Only the adventurous would vote against Swift this year. Timberlake has the year's top-selling album and Macklemore and Lewis tickled everyone's fancy with "Thrift Shop." But the category winner has been either young or country since the award's inception in 2004. Swift is both.
Associated Press writer Jessica Herndon in Los Angeles contributed to this report.
Follow AP Entertainment at http://twitter.com/APEntertainment for frequent updates during Sunday night's broadcast. Follow AP Music Writer Chris Talbott: http://twitter.com/Chris_Talbott.