2018 AMAs Recap: Taylor Swift Makes History, Cardi B Lights Up the Stage

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Whatever “unhealthy” factor Taylor Swift did, she’s getting handsomely rewarded for it, from lately breaking her personal report for the highest-grossing U.S. tour by a girl to cleansing up on the American Music Awards on Tuesday evening (Oct. 9).

The pop star, who opened the present with a choreo-heavy, snake-filled efficiency of “I Did Something Bad” from final yr’s status, topped Whitney Houston’s report for probably the most AMA wins by a feminine artist in this system’s historical past, taking dwelling 4 trophies (tour of the yr, favourite album — pop/rock, favourite feminine artist — pop/rock and artist of the yr) and bringing her grand complete to 23. 

“Every single time [I win an award], it means one thing totally different,” Swift stated whereas accepting the artist of the yr award, the ultimate honor of the evening. “[This one] represents encouragement and motivation for me to be higher and work more durable and attempt to make you guys proud.”

She additionally famous that AMA winners are decided by public voting, and referenced her current Internet-breaking candidate endorsement on the finish of her speech: “You know what else is voted on by the individuals? The mid-term elections on November 6. Get out and vote.” (Earlier within the night, presenter Billy Eichner paused his awarding of favourite grownup up to date artist to reference her endorsement as effectively, telling viewers to go vote "like Taylor Swift instructed you to.")

Her (actually) explosive efficiency of “I Did Something Bad” set the tone for the night, not simply when it got here to pyrotechnics — although there was loads of that, due to Twenty One Pilots’ exploding-car set piece and Cardi B’s firework pinwheels — but additionally when it got here to girls dominating the present: Most of the night’s lead performers have been feminine artists, girls offered many of the present’s most eye-catching performances, and — even outdoors of Swift — they took him most of the key awards, from Cardi (favourite artist rap/hip-hop) to Camila Cabello (favourite pop/rock tune, video of the yr, new artist of the yr and finest collaboration).

Many of music’s largest male superstars have been additionally hardly current, in additional methods than one. Sometimes they have been actually not current: Panic! on the Disco coated “Bohemian Rhapsody” satellite tv for pc from Australia. At different occasions, they cultivated a extra ghostly vibe on function: Twenty One Pilots’ dramatic, ominously lit set-up for “Jumpsuit” emphasised the music, not the artists making it — and nonetheless ended up being one of many night’s highlights.

Still, a couple of pop juggernauts barely made an impression on the night’s programming regardless of their omnipresence within the tradition: Neither Drake nor Ed Sheeran attended the present or gained any of the awards they have been nominated for. And some of the notable winners of the night was truly a posthumous win: XXXTentacion gained the award for favourite album — soul/R&B, which was accepted by his mom, Cleopatra, who gave a short speech. 

The performances have been a mixture of the spectacular and the delicate. Cardi B teamed up with J. Balvin and Bad Bunny to show the AMAs into Latin paradise, full with palm bushes, throughout “I Like It.” Dua Lipa led audiences right into a glow-in-the-dark rave with a medley of “One Kiss,” her hit collab with Calvin Harris, and “Electricity,” her current team-up with Silk City (a.ok.a. Mark Ronson and Diplo). Jennifer Lopez — following her show-stopping MTV Video Music Awards efficiency in August — carried out her new tune "Limitless" amid a stormy backdrop and a big phalanx of dancers. And Ciara and Missy Elliott reunited for a pulse-spiking medley of “Level Up” and “Dose” that ended with a marching band storming the stage, and will have doubled as a work-out class for anybody making an attempt to observe together with Ciara’s strikes. (Even Cardi B obtained to her toes to groove alongside by the efficiency’s finish.)

Other artists, like Mariah Carey and Camila Cabello, saved it low-key: The former, debuting new single “With You” for the primary time on TV, stood principally nonetheless in an elaborate pink gown that opened as much as reveal a small squad of dancers. Later within the night, Cabello took the stage backed by a mini orchestra to carry out the ballad “Consequences,” which the singer revealed on Instagram this week is the ultimate single from her debut album, Camila.

Cabello’s efficiency was one among a number of that felt like victory laps for a brand new artists who lately graduated from the JV squad of pop stardom to varsity gamers. Cabello’s star-making solo album arrived in early January of this yr, and by this time final yr, “Havana” was barely a month outdated. Dua Lipa’s “New Rules” was nonetheless a couple of months away from its Hot 100 peak final fall, and she or he’s additionally closing the chapter on her debut album with a deluxe version (that includes each “One Kiss” and “Electricity”) out later this month.

Meanwhile, Ella Mai, nonetheless new to the awards-show circuit, carried out this yr’s runaway hit “Boo’d Up” forward of her debut album dropping this Friday. And then there’s Khalid: At the 2017 AMAs, the then-newcomer obtained a profile-raising enhance when he joined Imagine Dragons for a joint efficiency; this time, the singer (who took dwelling the award for Favorite Male Artist — Soul/R&B) lent his star energy to producer Benny Blanco, now releasing music below his personal identify, in Blanco’s first awards present efficiency ever. (Well, “efficiency” could also be beneficiant — Blanco principally lounged round a recreation of his dwelling studio whereas Khalid and fellow “Eastside” vocalist Halsey did the heavy lifting.)

Despite the younger-leaning programming, the American Music Awards did commit one of many most necessary efficiency slots to a history-making icon: Aretha Franklin. For the grand finale, the present recruited soul legend Gladys Knight in addition to Ledisi, Mary Mary and Donnie McClurkin for a efficiency that paid tribute to Franklin’s gospel roots. It's not precisely the form of factor you'd anticipate on a present just like the AMAs, the place Gen-Z tastes and high 40 favorites appear to rule, however following Madonna’s much-criticized Aretha tribute on the VMAs, this one properly caught to simply the music — and pumped as a lot power into the present as something involving flames and explosions. At the 2018 AMAs, solely the divas obtained the primary and final phrase.

2018 AMAs Recap: Taylor Swift Makes History, Cardi B Lights Up the Stage