American Music Awards provides night with uplifting performances, unexpected wins

The American Music Awards were broadcasted live on Nov. 22. Only 3.8 million people tuned in, as opposed to last years 6.73 million.

Courtesy of ABC

The American Music Awards were broadcasted live on Nov. 22. Only 3.8 million people tuned in, as opposed to last years 6.73 million.

Music doesn’t stop for a pandemic. And according to the American Music Awards (AMAs), neither should the awards celebrating the artists behind the music of the past year. The AMAs were broadcast on Nov. 22. As they had already faced backlash over their lack of diversity in nominations, many were interested to see who the winners would be. In addition to the numerous awards, the AMAs are known for their celebrity performances, which, for those of us tuning in at home, are often the highlight of the night. 

Justin Bieber opened the show with two of his hit songs “Lonely” and “Holy.” Shawn Mendes then joined him on stage to perform their new collaboration “Monster.” This opening received mixed reactions from the media. While many Bieber fans flooded the AMA’s Twitter account to praise his performance, the New York Post called it “tone deaf.”

Bieber later received two AMAs for Favorite Male Artist – Pop/Rock and Favorite Song – Country for his collaboration on “10,000 Hours” by Dan + Shay. 

Taraji P. Henson was an energetic and relatable host.  She entered the AMA stage dancing to “WAP” by Megan Thee Stallion and Cardi B. Henson welcomed fans, saying, “I know you’re still at home, but tonight, you’re at home with me.”

Taylor Swift won the top AMA, Artist of the Year. She was the only woman nominated in that category. Swift has won the award three years in a row and currently has the most AMA wins of any artist in the history of the show. Swift did not come to the AMAs to receive the award, choosing instead to send in a video from her recording studio. 

She announced that the reason she wasn’t at the ceremony was that she was busy re-recording all of her old albums. Swift also won Favorite Music Video for “Cardigan” and Favorite Female Artist – Pop/Rock.

The Weeknd won Favorite Album, Song and Male Artist in the Soul/R&B category. He came on stage to receive his awards with bandages wrapped around his head and nose. 

The Weeknd’s unconventional choice in awards ceremony attire was a fuel of many quips throughout the show. “2020 kinda smacked him around a little, but he’s here,” Henson joked. The Weeknd then performed “In Your Eyes” and “Save Your Tears” with an impressive pyrotechnic display. 

BTS won Favorite Duo or Group – Pop/Rock and Favorite Social Artist. They could not be there in person to accept their awards, but they sent in an acceptance video thanking their fans for their love and support. They then performed “Life Goes On” and “Dynamite” in an empty stadium in Seoul, South Korea. Despite being on the other side of the Pacific, the performance was one of the best of the night. 

Dua Lipa won Favorite Song – Pop/Rock for “Don’t Start Now.”. The win was well deserved, but it raised the question as to why her album, “Future Nostalgia,” wasn’t nominated for any awards. She performed her hit song “Levitating” later that night. Lipa’s performance brought bubbly pop energy to the stage, and for the final part of the song, she brought the title to life by levitating above the audience. 

Megan Thee Stallion did a standout job in performing her song “Body” and won Favorite Song – Rap/Hip-Hop for “WAP” with Cardi B. 

Dan + Shay won Favorite Song – Country and Collaboration of the Year for “10,000 Hours” with Bieber. They also performed their song “I Should Probably Go To Bed.” 

The fan-voted awards proved to be the antidote to unbalanced nominations. In many instances, such as with the Artist of the Year award, the only woman nominated won the category due to fan votes. However, the question still arises: will the AMAs listen to criticism and revise their nomination practices, or will they continue to be complacent about a lack of diversity in the music industry?