Whether it’s a case of Stockholm Syndrome or not, award ceremonies might actually be starting to feel normal again. Last night’s American Music Awards was a showcase for reinventions of the live performance. Whether it was a live stadium show, singing from the ceiling of the Royal Albert Hall or a steamy J-Lo and Maluma performance that looked anything but COVID safe, it was exceedingly easy to forget that artists beaming in virtually from around the world isn’t exactly par for the course.
Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber, Doja Cat and The Weeknd were the AMAs biggest winners but let’s take you through all of the best moments of the night.
Taraji P. Henson steers the ship
Unlike many of 2020’s award shows, the AMAs didn’t have to rely solely on manufactured crowd noise as a small, masked-up crowd joined show host, Taraji P. Henson, in the Microsoft Theatre in L.A. The movie star was the perfect captain for the night, bringing energetic dance moves, sharp quips – “the votes are in and no, we ain’t doing no recount” and wardrobe changes galore, to remind us how much fun award ceremonies can be in the right hands – even when they’re socially distanced.
Megan Thee Stallion bodies the competition
Fresh off releasing her excellent debut album ‘Good News‘, Megan Thee Stallion ate up the stage with a killer performance of ‘Body’. “I love my body, every curve, every inch” she proclaimed, before descending from the ceiling and treating us to a spectacularly choreographed version of her latest single. Meg didn’t go home empty-handed either, picking up the Favourite Rap/Hip Hop Song award for what else? but song of the summer, ‘WAP’. She did have to accept the award alone, as Cardi B proved that dental hygiene waits for no woman.
The Weeknd can’t feel his face
The Weeknd isn’t one to miss a party, even if he’s barely in one piece. Dressed in his now signature blood-red suit and leather gloves, the Canadian star accepted the award for Favourite Soul/R&B Album with a heavily-bandaged face. But it was just a facade. The eagle-eyed will spot that the bandages are identical to those worn in his deeply unsettling video for ‘Too Late’ and serve as part of his drunk-driving awareness campaign. He dedicated his award to the late, great Prince and later made the streets of Los Angeles his stage for a Joker-esque performance of ‘Save Your Tears’ and ‘In Your Eyes’.
BTS give us the stadium experience
Even the American Music Awards would be foolish to ignore the unstoppable behemoth of K-Pop and who better than BTS to close out the night. The South Korean seven-piece, who took home the Favourite Duo/Group award, recreated the stadium experience from an empty one in Seoul for the world premiere performance of new single ‘Life Goes On’ and smash-hit ‘Dynamite’, complete with drones, neon lights and fireworks. Plus, why wait for the Army to create their own fan cams when you have ones you made earlier?
Dua Lipa dances on the ceiling of the Royal Albert Hall
There were a few Brits who got a look in, too. Everyone’s favourite regency-era darling Harry Styles won Favourite Pop/Rock Album for ‘Fine Line’ and Dua Lipa pocketed her first AMA for Favourite Pop/Rock Song thanks to disco smash ‘Don’t Start Now’. But it was her cosmic performance of ‘Levitating’ that truly stole the show. Slick cinematography, opulent intergalactic landscapes and electric stage presence gave Dua the perfect opportunity to dance her arse off in mid-air and if this is anything to go by, fans certainly won’t be disappointed when her upcoming Studio 2054 project crashes down to Earth later this week.
And Taylor confirms that she’s back in the studio
In the final category of the night, Taylor Swift won the coveted Artist of the Year – a category she has swept a record-breaking five times before. The most decorated artist in AMA history was bundled up in a cosy sweater to accept the award and she used her speech to give a touching tribute to her fans: “You guys have been beyond wonderful for all the years of my career, but especially this one, when we’ve been so far apart. We haven’t been able to see each other in concert, but I still feel really connected to you through the music”.
Taylor also confirmed what we’d already assumed from a tongue-in-cheek Twitter post last night: she’s back in the studio to re-record her pre-‘Folklore’ albums, sending a not-so-subtle middle finger to Scooter Braun in the process. If you’re not caught up, the record executive unceremoniously acquired and sold Taylor’s master recordings following her acrimonious split with Big Machine Records in 2019. Determined to not see him profit from her work, Taylor has decided to to re-record all of her earlier albums. That’s dedication!
Full List of AMA 2020 Winners
Artist of the Year:
New Artist of the Year:
Collaboration of the Year:
Dan + Shay with Justin Bieber – ‘10,000 Hours’
Favourite Social Artist:
Favourite Music Video:
Taylor Swift – ‘cardigan’
Favourite Male Artist – Pop/Rock:
Favourite Female Artist – Pop/Rock:
Favourite Duo or Group – Pop/Rock:
Favourite Album – Pop/Rock:
Harry Styles – ‘Fine Line’
Favourite Song – Pop/Rock:
Dua Lipa – ‘Don’t Start Now’
Favourite Male Artist – Country:
Favourite Female Artist – Country:
Favourite Duo of Group – Country:
Dan + Shay
Favourite Album – Country:
Blake Shelton – ‘Fully Loaded: God’s Country’
Favourite Song – Country:
Dan + Shay with Justin Bieber – ‘10,000 Hours’
Favourite Male Artist – Rap/Hip Hop:
Favourite Female Artist – Rap/Hip Hop:
Favourite Album – Rap/Hip Hop:
Roddy Ricch – Please Excuse Me For Being Antisocial
Favourite Song – Rap/Hip Hop:
Cardi B ft. Megan Thee Stallion – ‘WAP’
Favourite Male Artist – Soul/R&B:
Favourite Female Artist – Soul/R&B:
Favourite Album – Soul/R&B:
The Weeknd – ‘After Hours’
Favourite Song – Soul/R&B:
The Weeknd – ‘Heartless’
Favourite Male Artist – Latin:
Favourite Female Artist – Latin:
Favourite Album – Latin:
Bad Bunny – ‘YHLQMDLG’
Favourite Song – Latin:
KAROL G & Nicki Minaj – ‘Tusa’
Favourite Artist – Alternative Rock:
Twenty One Pilots
Favourite Artist – Adult Contemporary:
Favourite Artist – Contemporary Inspirational:
Favourite Artist – Electronic Dance Music:
Birds of Prey