For the most part, the Jan. 17 American Music Awards adhered faithfully to tradition: Garth Brooks was a big winner I (three trophies), Mariah Carey wore a revealing dress ("It's ! a little ensemble," she said, " 'little' being the operative word"), and Diana Ross echoed the demand of fashionable divas everywhere when she noted that her black gown had been designed "to make me as thin as possible."

But at least one new trend slithered into L.A.'s Shrine Auditorium: snakeskin, worn by several of the stars, including musician Lenny Kravitz and Sporty Spice Mel C. Not that we'll likely see such reptilian rapture repeated at the Grammys. The AMA—which picks winners by a nationwide poll of record buyers—is "more loose, more rock and roll, more fun," said actress Carmen Electra. "It's about having a good time." The nonreptiles seemed to do just that, adjourning backstage after the three-hour show to feast on ribs, pasta and carnitas. Only for DMX, who won favorite rap/hip-hop artist honors, was the night not enough. "I appreciate it," he said, "but I should have won a few awards [over the years]. Give it all to me."