One Direction didn't experience a 'perfect' start at the beginning of this year. Zayn Malik's departure from the band -- to live a "normal 22-year-old's life" and later to make "real music" -- was a huge blow to the British-Irish boyband. However, as the saying goes 'all is well if it ends well', the boys had the 'perfect' year end as they took home the coveted "Artist of the Year" award in this year's American Music Awards (AMA).

Nominated alongside the likes of Luke Bryan, Nicki Minaj, Ariana Grande and Taylor Swift, the now-quartet group toppled everyone in the category of the fan-voted award show.

They also took home the award for Best Pop/Rock Duo or Group for third year in a row -- they have won the award every year since 2013.

It marked their first AMAs without Zayn Malik (22), who left the band in March 2015.

After receiving the award from Oscar-nominated actor Jeremy Renner, the "Perfect" hitmakers -- Louis Tomlinson (23), Niall Horan (22), Liam Payne (22) and Harry Styles (21) -- took the opportunity to thank their fans or "directioners".

"Wow, this is absolutely incredible, to win two years in a row. It's a testament to how incredible our fans are so thank you, thank you, thank you," said Louis, according to reports.

Liam also thanked their fans, but talked about the upcoming hiatus that One Direction is going to take.

"We can't believe we get to win awards like this and we are obviously going on a little break to spend a little time with our families obviously we want to thank our families," he said.

Nicki Minaj, another nominee in the "Artist of the Year" category, earlier presented the Best Pop/Rock Duo or Group award to the boys.

Niall addressed the fans and said, "We won't be able to do it without our fans."

The "Drag Me Down" stars also burnt up the AMA house with their performance of recent single "Perfect".

Their new album "Made in the A.M", which was released on 13 November, has topped the UK charts and reached No. 2 in the US Billboard, behind Justin Bieber's "Purpose".

One Direction's massive win at the AMAs comes days after former bandmate Zayn Malik, in his first interview since leaving the group, termed One Direction's music "generic as fuck".

"There was just a general conception that the management already had of what they want for the band, and I just wasn't convinced with what we were selling. I wasn't 100% behind the music. It wasn't me. It was music that was already given to us and we were told this is what is going to sell to these people. As much as were the biggest, most famous boyband in the world, it felt weird. We were told to be happy about something that we weren't happy about," Zayn said Fader magazine.