This year marks the 40th anniversary of the American Music Awards, which has spawned some truly memorable fashion moments over the years. Here, a look back at a few of my favorites.

Michael Jackson was feeling “Dangerous” in 1993 and his AMAs performance – complete with male backup dancers wearing matching black suits, skinny ties, and fedoras – made him look like the leader of an army of well-dressed mobsters.

In 2007, Fergie took to the stage in a barely there sequined Jenny Packham sheath and sky-high red stilettos, giving Tina Turner a run for her money in the legs-up-to-there department, while her Black Eyed Peas bandmate will.i.am looked every inch the gentleman in his top hat and velvet smoking jacket. That same year, Avril Lavigne transitioned from teen punk rocker to grown-up divorcée in a black T-shirt and silver skirt.

A year later, Beyoncé channeled her alter ego, Sasha Fierce, and tore up “Single Ladies” wearing a plunging black and white Armani Privé satin jacket with matching black booty shorts beside backup dancer (and current Glee star) Heather Morris in a coordinating one-armed bodysuit.

Jennifer Lopez went for the gold – literally – during her boxing-inspired 2009 AMAs performance of “Louboutins,” with a 24K microphone and glittering gold, leather, and lace romper that almost made us forget she fell on her butt mid-song, while Rihanna opted for a skin-baring white bandage jumpsuit. Thankfully, there were no wardrobe malfunctions during her performance, despite having only a thin strip of leather covering her lady bits.

Not one to be outdone, Lady Gaga also went the jumpsuit route in 2009 but in her case, it was flesh-toned, covered by a plastic exoskeleton that extended from her ankles to her rib cage, completely obscuring the upper half of her face and lighting up when she moved.

And in 2010 Katy Perry set off “Fireworks” in a sparkly crimson Marco Marco jumpsuit that did her figure all kinds of favors.

With Nicki Minaj and Rihanna leading the 2012 AMAs with four nominations each, and Katy Perry, Justin Bieber, Maroon 5, Adele, and Taylor Swift also in the running, we know this year’s AMAs is sure to have more than a few looks to remember.

The 2012 American Music Awards will be broadcast live on Sunday, November 18, at 8PM ET on ABC.

Lauren David Peden writes for Rue La La as a Contributing Editor.

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November 16, 2012