The American Music Awards gave three trophies apiece to Taylor Swift, The Weeknd and Dan + Shay in a present that proceeded alongside the strains of a typical annual AMAs telecast whereas acknowledging that the stay viewers consisted of a handful of cheering followers within the Microsoft Theater’s balcony.
Viewers preferring their reveals politics-free lastly had a 2020 awards present to choose not a single bone with. Host Taraji P. Henson set the tone in her introductory remarks, saying that “we’re one nation. We have to heal. We have to love one another a little extra, and that’s what tonight is about.” Current or present occasions didn’t rear their head after that, apart from occasional fleeting allusions to the COVID-19 disaster — like Doja Cat’s parting admonition in an acceptance speech to “keep secure.”
The solely direct point out of the nation’s quickly rising pandemic got here when Henson referred to “our small however mighty COVID-free viewers,” referring to a smattering of followers within the entrance rows of the Microsoft’s balcony, all sporting masks and scattered in small batches of what have been stated to be pre-tested household groupings. The cutaways to those followers have been considerably at odds with the telecast’s audio, which sounded as if the theater have been stuffed with its regular 1000’s of individuals.
The closest factor to drama got here with Swift’s climactic look, successful for favourite artist, a specific shock since viewers may need figured they wouldn’t be seeing her — she didn’t carry out and the opposite two awards she gained weren’t introduced on-camera. Swift injected a trace of intrigue by saying she was too busy re-recording her outdated catalog to attend the present, an unmistakably pointed apart coming lower than a week after the famous person confirmed that her masters had once more been bought towards her needs.
Swift, The Weeknd and Dan + Shay weren’t the one a number of winners. Choosing up two apiece within the fan-voted honors have been BTS, Doja Cat, Unhealthy Bunny, Nicki Minaj and Justin Bieber (sharing a kind of with Dan + Shay). Singular winners: Harry Types (who, surprisingly, aced out each Swift and The Weeknd for favourite pop/rock album), Dua Lipa, Kane Brown, Maren Morris, Blake Shelton, Juice WRLD, Roddy Ricch, Cardi B, Megan Thee Stallion, Becky G, Karol G, Twenty One Pilots, the Jonas Brothers, Lauren Daigle and Woman Gaga.
Though lots of the performances have been filmed on the Microsoft stage, both pre-taped or stay, the 2 greatest highlights of the present have been closely choreographed, one-take numbers filed from a secure social distance. The Weeknd strolled throughout an L.A. bridge — described as being a block away from the host theater, however clearly a lot farther than that, with the downtown skyline a long way away — for a fireworks-fueled efficiency that had rigorously executed pyrotechnics going off in site visitors strains in addition to excessive above in a 360-degree pan. The different, additionally executed with none cuts, got here in from England, with a smiling Dua Lipa joined by eight dancers in a facsimile of the Milky Means talked about within the lyrics of “Levitating.”
The Weeknd appeared together with his head almost totally coated in bandages not only for that quantity however for 3 separate acceptance speeches, as if compensating for the extremely mainstream qualities of his most up-to-date music with an excellent deeper dive into visible/character efficiency artwork. There was nothing artsy about his turns at the dais, although, as he stored his talks brief, if not nearly shy, significantly providing due to Prince, as a result of “he’s the rationale I get to always problem this style of R&B.”
Though Kenny G’s collaboration with The Weekend was closely anticipated, he appeared solely within the opening moments of the reigning star’s one-shot video, preceded by host Henson saying, “That intercourse is answerable for a lot of infants,” laughing over her intercourse/sax stumble.
Henson gave her all regardless of being saddled with some questionable ideas and writing, like a gap dance medley that inserted her into a number of choreographed conditions earlier than she give up the bit as twerking took over (“That is household TV… Inform that dancer to show me the twerk after the present” was the punchline), or a aspect journey into sketch comedy with Megan Thee Stallion by which she feigned having kidnapped the present’s producers to take over Megan’s profession (“Girls increase girls by kidnapping folks” being the kicker for that one).
Whereas it wasn’t at all times clear the place the performances have been happening, attributable to not all the songs having cutaways to what small viewers there was, it was not lengthy unsure the place Shawn Mendes was doing his cleverly staged “Great” efficiency. The quantity began on a living-room set, which was finally revealed to have been constructed at the rear of the Microsoft Theater’s ground, as he exited out a aspect door and run up the aisle to affix his band on stage. There was much less ingenuity to Mendes’ earlier look on the present, a woe-is-us duet with Justin Bieber that opened the telecast.
Different performances included Machine Gun Kelly, launched by surprisingly indifferent-seeming vital different Megan Fox; Billie Eilish, doing a stay premiere of her new single on a darkroom-red set, with a shock drop-off; Bell Bid DeVoe and Nelly, readily available for nostalgic functions; lately most-streamed act 24kGoldn, balancing out that nostalgia with a music that the majority of community viewers would nonetheless not have heard; Lewis Capaldi, providing what Henson referred to as “an unpleasant cry” with the somber “Earlier than You Go”; Katy Perry and Darius Rucker quietly dueting on “Solely Love,” a humanistic anthem from her latest document that the host described as being about “in the event you had in the future left to stay”; Jennifer Lopez and Maluma, assuring the present didn’t descend too far into pathos with stripes strategically projected onto curves; additional curviness squared occasions a hundred with Megan Thee Stallion’s new “Physique”; and Dan + Shay singing present hit “I Ought to In all probability Go to Mattress,” a surprisingly adventurous option to program at 9:45 in an awards present.
Though the present couldn’t be accused of undue topicality, Lil Child could have gotten to the center of 2020 by staging his music, “Emotionally Scarred,” as one thing sung to a therapist, and ending it with an on-screen message: “Defend Your Psychological Well being.” Nobody dared proffer a message about bodily self-protection at the AMAs, however at least Lil Child was on the market reminding viewers it was okay to placed on their emotional masks.