2018 American Music Awards Performances Ranked


This yr's American Music Awards delivered a improbable spectrum of stay performances, starting from diva-house medleys to thrashing alt-rock rave-ups to gospel tributes to not too long ago handed icons. Star energy was on show from established icons and thrilling up-and-comers, and one explicit comeback efficiency felt like a brand new profession peak for a still-young breakout artist.

Read on under to see how Billboard ranked the 15 performances on the night, counting all the way down to our favourite efficiency of the evening. 

15. Panic! At the Disco, "Bohemian Rhapsody"

Introduced by Bohemian Rhapsody star Rami Malek and beamed in stay type Sydney, Australia, Panic! At the Disco dutifully carried out their devoted rendition of the Queen basic the biopic is known as after. The band was as much as the duty, actually, as they've been in performances since even earlier than the quilt debuted on the Suicide Squad soundtrack in 2016, however given the quilt's age and the truth that the efficiency was occurring midway all over the world, it didn't precisely make for the night's most enjoyable or revelatory second. 

14. Post Malone feat. Ty Dolla $ign, "Psycho" / "Better Now"

Wearing silver within the strobe mild like Michael Jackson within the "Rock With You" video, Post Malone carried out the lushest model of "Psycho" you ever heard -- making the music sound like one thing off Ty Dolla $ign's Beach House sequence, acceptable given Ty Dolla's minked-out presence because the music's visitor performer. Newer Post single "Better Now" in all probability would've made extra sense as a full efficiency, given its extra full-throttle, full-band vitality, however sadly it was consigned to extra of a coda right here. Maybe for the Grammys. 

13. Jennifer Lopez, "Limitless"

J.Lo proved to nonetheless be on the very peak of her powers along with her Video Vanguard medley efficiency at this yr's VMAs, so there's no questioning her being given any awards present efficiency she deems worthy of taking. Her debut efficiency of the Sia-written empowerment anthem "Limitless" was robust sufficient, however the music itself doesn't fairly rise above soundtrack-single standing, and the clip from Lopez's upcoming Second Act appeared slightly uninspired too. 

12. Benny Blanco, Halsey & Khalid, "Eastside"

Shout out to any efficiency that begins with its producer in a tie-dye hoodie sitting at a pc adjusting ranges, actually. The living-room staging of "Eastside" was actually intelligent, giving the music a fascinating just-messing-around-with-friends vitality to it, helped by the constantly compelling charisma of its two principal performers. The music remains to be slightly middling for performers of their skills, however the three managed to wring most attraction out of it on the AMAs stage. 

11. Mariah Carey, "With You"

Is that every one a part of the identical costume? Apparently not, as a few dozen backup dancers sprouted from the sprawling practice of Mariah Carey's scarlet robe to gyrate round her whereas the stationary R&B legend belted out her new mid-tempo single "With You." Inspired staging for a efficiency that allowed Mariah to focus on her vocals whereas others labored up a sweat on her behalf -- although "With You" as a music simply isn't essentially the most dynamic of numbers for an awards present efficiency.

10. Shawn Mendes x Zedd, "Lost In Japan"

Great to see "Lost in Japan," one of many highlights from Shawn Mendes' Billboard 200-topping self-titled album, lastly changing "In My Blood" because the younger singer-songwriter's award present go-to, and even higher to carry Zedd in tow to tickle the ivories in help. Sorta ironic that the model carried out hews nearer to Mendes' unique model than Zedd's remix at present being promoted, however the DJ appeared to be having sufficient enjoyable getting misplaced within the efficiency's blue-eyed funk to actually thoughts. 

9. Ella Mai, "Boo'd Up"

Feels unusual that that is the second awards present efficiency of "Boo'd Up," a radio hit unavoidable sufficient that it feels prefer it's been half of popular culture for a decade already. Even final evening it got here considerably without warning, following instantly after Shawn Mendes and Zedd, however the music's bottomless enchantment actually wants no introduction, and Ella Mai's sweetly profitable efficiency felt like an acceptable victory lap for the ascendant British R&B star.

eight. Dua Lipa, "One Kiss" / "Electricity"

First and foremost, it's simply enjoyable to have a pop diva with two totally different throwback-house hits (alongside a mixed three megaproducers) to carry out as an awards present medley. Dua's vocals verged on the pitchy at occasions, however the efficiency's vibe was appropriately ecstatic, peaking with a dramatic ten-foot trustfall and ending with the singer within the midst of what seemed to be a day-glo rainstorm. Good occasions. 

7. Camila Cabello, "Consequences"

The not too long ago launched "Orchestra" model of Camila ballad "Consequences" isn't fairly the Big Ballad that Cabello deserves as a signature quantity, however made for the breakout pop star's most elegant TV efficiency to this point on the AMAs. The former Fifth Harmony singer each appeared gorgeous in her black costume and silver sleeves and sounded gorgeous along with her closing vocal runs. The standing ovation she acquired after, together with a beaming Taylor Swift, was all of the evaluation the efficiency wanted, although subsequent presenter Amandla Stenberg additionally gave a memorable analysis: "Oh my God, that was ethereal." 

6. Ciara feat. Missy Elliott, "Level Up" / "Dose"

One of essentially the most frenetic hits of 2018 by some means even sounded much more pulse-racing in its AMAs efficiency, Ciara and Missy performing like an LP being performed at 45 RPM. A obligatory jolt of vitality for an award present's third hour, and unattainable to not smile at both the transient dip into Trillville's crunk basic "Neva Eva," or the response shot of Missy's "funky white sister" Mary Halsey within the viewers.

5. Carrie Underwood, "Spinning Bottles"

A daring selection to not carry out both her established lead single and title observe to this yr's Cry Pretty album or her more moderen single "Love Wins," as a substitute choosing an emotional efficiency of the set's alcoholism-afflicted heartbreak ballad "Spinning Bottles." Performing on an appropriately rotating stage, Underwood's always-showstopping vocals carried the emotional efficiency, making it really feel like a misplaced scene from the latest A Star Is Born remake. 

four. Twenty One Pilots, "Jumpsuit"

Less bodily than among the Twenty One Pilots awards present performances of album cycle previous, however actually no much less bombastic: You'd in all probability need to go fairly far again in AMAs historical past to search out the final rock efficiency this heavy. The duo's new album Trench has a handful of songs that in all probability would've made safer lead-single decisions than "Jumpsuit," however their with-us-or-against-us efficiency of it right here reveals why it was nonetheless a great name: If you're nonetheless in on the band from right here, nice; if not, nicely, we've already given them as massive of a platform as they'll ever want. 

three. Gladys Knight, Donnie McClurkins, CeCe Winans, Ledisi & Mary Mary, Aretha Franklin tribute

For an Aretha Franklin tribute on the American Music Awards -- a present the place Aretha had in depth historical past as a number, performer, and winner -- you'd count on them to go heavy on the hits. But the AMAs took a unique tack with their tribute, getting among the best soul and gospel performers from Franklin's lifetime to ship renditions of hymns that Aretha had delivered signature interpretations of, together with a number of from her best-selling 1972 stay gospel album, Amazing Grace. Not a efficiency for the informal followers, however the ardour and vocal expertise on show was completely simple, and Aretha herself undoubtedly would've cherished it -- although she'd additionally be livid she couldn't take part herself. 

2. Taylor Swift, "I Did Something Bad"

Pretty massive flex to open an award present together with your album's fifth single -- in case you even resolve to formally launch it -- however as a end result of a yr during which Taylor Swift has been answerable for one of many greatest albums, one of many greatest excursions, and one of many greatest voter-registration spikes, it appears well-earned sufficient. Anyway, her "I Did Something Bad" was appropriately large, with brilliantly deliberate pacing, an ideal pause-for-effect after her “If a person talks shit then I owe him nothing” lyric, and the very best awards present use of a large snake since Britney Spears in in 2001.  

1. Cardi B feat. J Balvin & Bad Bunny, "I Like It"

Featuring a stay horn part and each essentially the most glamorous costuming and complicated staging of any televised Cardi B efficiency to this point, "I Like It" on the AMAs was main even earlier than Bad Bunny was wheeled in for his verse in a grocery cart. Reaching near-Cirque du Soleil ranges of spectacle -- or, dare we are saying it, near-BeyoncĂ© -- by the top of J Balvin's flip the efficiency was absolutely worthy of a pop star with three Hot 100 No. 1s to her identify already -- and it reveals that giving delivery to her first little one hasn't slowed down Cardi's momentum one bit. 

2018 American Music Awards Performances Ranked