LOS ANGELES-Canadian rapper Drake won his first ever American Music Awards on Sunday, Ariana Grande was named artist of the year, and punk band Green Day took aim at newly-elected US President Donald Trump.

“No Trump, no KKK, no fascist USA,” sang Green Day, performing their controversial anti-gun violence single “Bang Bang” on the live show and re-writing some of the lyrics.

It was the most overt reference to the Nov.8 US presidential elections at the three-hour awards show where the focus was otherwise mostly on music.

Pop singer Selena Gomez, 24, who surprised fans by making her first major public appearance since cutting short her world tour in August to deal with panic attacks and depression, won the best pop/rock female artist award.

In an emotional speech, Gomez thanked her fans for their loyalty and explained why she felt the need to take a break.

“Most of you know a lot of my life whether I like it or not. I had to stop. I had everything, but I was absolutely broken,” said Gomez, who is also known for her on and off again romance with Justin Bieber for the past five years.

The American Music Awards are chosen by fans voting online.

Ariana Grande accepts the award for artist of the year at the 2016 American Music Awards in Los Angeles, California, US, November 20, 2016. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni  Drake, 30, who got a leading 13 nominations, won best rap/hip-hop artist, song and album for his best-selling “Views”, which earlier this year became the first album to earn one billion streams on Apple Music.

“For our genre, I like to keep things exciting and keep making music... more like this is coming soon,” Drake said, accepting the award.

But pop singer Grande, 23, was chosen artist of the year, beating Justin Bieber, Rihanna and Gomez.

“I can’t believe this. I am shaking with nerves,” she said. “I hope that I can bring joy to you and make you feel unified and happy.”

Former One Direction member Zayn Malik, who quit British boy band One Direction last year to launch a solo career, bested Canadian Shawn Mendes to take the best new artist trophy.

“It’s been a crazy year... I didn’t expect anyone to still vote for me,” said Zayn, who now uses only his first name.

British singer Sting, who last week released his first pop/rock album in a decade, “57th and 9th,” sang a medley of his hits and was presented with an honorary award recognizing his contribution to the music industry.

Sting said he owed a debt to American rock and roll, adding “While I may be an Englishman in New York, my musical soul is all American.”

Bieber performed “Never Give Up” via satellite from a concert in Italy and won awards for best pop/rock male artist, album, song and video.

Lady Gaga, Kendrick Lamar, Nicki Minaj, The Weeknd, Niall Horan, James Bay and John Legend were among the dozens of other performers on the Los Angeles stage.

The American Music Awards were created in 1973 as an alternative to the Grammys.

Full list of winners

Artist of the year Ariana Grande

New artist of the year Zayn

Collaboration of the year Fifth Harmony featuring Ty

Dolla $ign: Work From Home

Tour of the year Beyonce: Formation World Tour

Video of the year Justin Bieber: Sorry

Favourite male artist (rock/pop) Justin Bieber

Favourite female artist (rock/pop) Selena Gomez

Favourite group (rock/pop) Twenty One Pilots

Favourite album (rock/pop) Justin Bieber: Purpose

Favourite song (rock/pop) Justin Bieber: Love Yourself

Favourite male artist (country) Blake Shelton

Favourite female artist (country) Carrie Underwood

Favourite group (country) Florida Georgia Line

Favourite song (country) Tim McGraw: Humble And Kind

Favourite artist (hip-hop) Drake

Favourite album (hip-hop) Drake: Views

Favourite song (hip-hop) Drake: Hotline Bling

Favourite male artist (R&B) Chris Brown

Favourite female artist (R&B) Rihanna

Favourite album (R&B) Beyonce: Lemonade

Favourite song (R&B) Rihanna featuring Drake: Work

Favourite artist (alternative rock) Twenty One Pilots

Favourite artist (adult contemporary) Adele

Favourite artist (Latin) Enrique Iglesias

Favourite artist (contemporary inspirational) Hillsong

Favourite artist (dance) The Chainsmokers

Top soundtrack Purple Rain