Stars Make Statements at American Music Awards

Mallory Boring 
Arts & Entertainment Staff Writer

Taylor Swift (cover photo) had a big night at the AMAs, winning Artist of the Decade. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons 

Profanity is quoted in this article

The 2019 American Music Awards (AMAs) aired live from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles on Nov. 24. The AMAs are an American music award show typically held each fall. They are also the world’s largest fan-voted awards show. This year the show was hosted by American singer-songwriter Ciara. 

Selena Gomez opened the show with the live debut of her new single “Lose You To Love Me.” The performance of the emotional ballad was filmed in black and white, but when Gomez transitioned to her latest single, “Look At Her Now,” the set became vibrant with color. Gomez herself changed from a black floor length gown into a sparkly silver costume. After her performance, Gomez received criticism for not performing to the best of her ability, but she allegedly suffered a panic attack just before going onstage according to EOnline.

The first award of the night presented by Chadwick Boseman went to Billie Eilish for Alternative/Rock Artist. Eilish was also the winner of the AMA for New Artist. Later in the show Eilish came onstage for a performance of “All The Good Girls Go To Hell,” wearing a statement shirt reading “No music on a dead planet.”

The AMA for Pop/Rock song went to Halsey for her 2018 hit “Without Me.” In her acceptance speech, Halsey said the awards that artists earn at shows like the AMAs are not adequate validation for the hard work that goes into making the music. 

“I’m thankful for the fans ‘cause they’re the ones who give a shit about music,” Halsey said. 

She ended her speech with a promise that real fans, artists and stories will prevail in the music industry. Halsey returned later in the show for a very artistic performance of her latest song “Graveyard.” 

Lizzo was another artist who made a statement with her performance of her single “Jerome.” Before she began singing, Lizzo asked the audience to turn their flash on as a symbol of their love for themselves. Then she proceeded to sing amongst a sea of twinkling lights while wearing a gorgeous pink dress. 

The AMA award for Collaboration of the Year went to Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello for their hit “Señiorita.” The duo had a chance to perform their song prior to receiving the award, and it was just as steamy as their previous performance at the VMAs. Shawn’s part of the song was just as beautiful as the original recording, but Camila’s left much to be desired. As a whole, the performance was a lot of deja vu. 

Cabello returned to the stage later in the evening to perform the latest single “Living Proof” off her upcoming second album. The visuals behind Camila and the dancers joining her were reminiscent of the Garden of Eden, which is precisely what she was going for. The song, which features a chorus full of falsetto, sounded better in the music video she dropped just before the AMAs. 

Carrie Underwood also was honored with two AMAs. Underwood came on the stage in a stunning purple gown to accept the award for Country Album with “Cry Pretty,” and later won the award for Female Country Artist. 

Few of the awards for the Rap/Hip Hop genre were presented live. The Rap/Hip Hop Song award went to Lil Nas X for his “Old Town Road” collaboration with Billy Ray Cyrus. Post Malone’s “Hollywood’s Bleeding” earned him the AMA for Rap/Hip Hop Album. The award for Rap/Hip Hop artist was not shown live; however, the award went out to Cardi B. 

The AMAs saw a wide range of performances from rock to country to R&B. Notable returns came with Toni Braxton’s performance of her hit “Un-Break My Heart” and Shania Twain’s medley of some of her greatest hits.

The band Green Day was also at the AMAs to play their song “Basket Case.” Post Malone was joined by Ozzy Osborne and Travis Scott onstage for “Take What You Want” and Christina Aguilera joined A Great Big World for the second time with “Fall On Me.” 

Other notable performances were Thomas Rhett’s performance of “Look What God Gave Her,” Kesha’s “Raising Hell” and “Tik Tok,” and Jonas Brothers with “Only Human” from their Happiness Begins tour. 

Perhaps the most suspenseful part of the night was Taylor Swift’s performance for Artist of the Decade. This performance comes amid a battle for artists’ rights, something Swift has long been advocating. Wearing a crisp white button down with the names of her six previous albums, Swift began a medley of her songs with feminist anthem “The Man.” Swift then traveled through the years and memories with “Love Story,” “I Knew You Were Trouble,” “Blank Space” and “Shake It Off.” The medley was rounded off with a new rendition of Swift’s title track “Lover,” which she sang while playing a beautiful piano covered with the names of her albums and intricate detailing. 

From start to finish the medley was the pure mastery that has come to be expected of an expert like Swift. Along with the award for Artist of the Decade, Swift took home five other awards including Artist of the Year, Pop/Rock Female Artist, Pop/Rock Album, Adult Contemporary Artist and Video of the Year. The night was definitely a success for Swift, proving that she is, in fact, the man.

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