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Here's what went down at the AMAs 2018

Politics took centre stage at the awards ceremony this year.

Here's what went down at the AMAs 2018

Last night, Los Angeles switched its attention away from movies to shine the light on music. The American Music Awards saw countless of the hottest artists crowd into the Microsoft Theater, eager to showcase their latest hits and see who will take home a crystal pyramid. Once again, the event was hosted by ‘Black-ish’ star Tracee Ellis Ross, who lead the evening with excitement and enthusiasm throughout. But this years AMAs sang a slightly different tune to previous editions; the musicians came riled up - ready to perform and ready to get political.

Who won and who lost?

First things first, here’s the breakdown of the biggest winners (and losers) of this year’s AMAs. While some results arguably could have been foreseen, there were some nice surprises thrown into the mix. Drake and Cardi B both had eight nominations each, with the ‘I Like It’ star pipping her male counterpart for ‘Favourite Artist - Rap/Hip-Hop’. She took home another two awards for ‘Favourite Song’ of both the Rap/Hip-Hop and Soul/RnB categories, the latter of which was a collaboration with 2017’s top AMA winner, Bruno Mars (‘Finesse’). Despite strong YouTube predictions for Drake to take home ‘Artist of the Year’, it sadly wasn’t in ‘God’s Plan’, and he went home empty handed.

Ed Sheeran was another nominee to have missed out on the top spot. Despite being a contender for six categories, the record-breaking artist set for a massive stadium tour in 2019 was beaten by the likes of Post Malone (‘Favourite Male Artist - Pop/Rock’), pop pal Taylor Swift (‘Tour of the Year’), and Shawn Mendes (‘Favourite Artist - Adult Contemporary’).

One of the biggest winners to depart the AMAs 2018 was former Fifth Harmony singer, Camila Cabello. As a solo artist, Cabello has had huge success with her sultry latin song ‘Havana’ ft Young Thug. This track saw Cabello take home ‘Favourite Song - Pop/Rock’, ‘Collaboration of the Year’ and ‘Favourite Music Video’. The 21-year-old also won ‘New Artist of the Year presented by Capitol One Savor Card’.

But of course, not even Cabello could outshine the official Queen of AMAs, Ms. Taylor Swift. The ‘Shake It Off’ pop sensation has truly gained a ‘Reputation’ at the award ceremony, as she scooped up four awards, including ‘Favourite Female Artist - Pop/Rock’, ‘Favourite Album - Pop/Rock’ and ‘Artist of the Year’. She is now the artist with the most titles in the history of the AMAs.

Other winners of the night included BTS (‘Favourite Social Artist’), Khalid (‘Favourite Male Artist - Soul/R&B’), Carrie Underwood (‘Favourite Female Artist - Country’), Migos (Favourite Duo or Group - Pop/Rocks’), XXXTENTACION (‘Favourite Album - Soul/R&B’), Kane Brown (‘Favourite Male Artist - Country’, ‘Favourite Album - Country’ and ‘Favourite Song - Country’), Florida Georgia Line (‘Favourite Duo or Group - Country’), Rihanna (‘Favourite Female Artist - Soul/R&B’), Panic! At the Disco (‘Favourite Artist - Alternative Rock’), Daddy Yankee (‘Favourite Artist - Latin’), Lauren Daigle (‘Favourite Artist - Contemporary Inspirational’), Mashmello (‘Favourite Artist - EDM’), and Black Panther (‘Top Soundtrack’).


The star-studded show featured several performances, including Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood, Camila Cabello, Shawn Mendes and Twenty One Pilots. It offered audiences a wide range of musical genres, from gospel to alternative, and paid a special tribute to stars who have recently passed. Here’s the list of Billboard’s ranking of the 15 performances:

15. Panic! At the Disco ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’

14. Post Malone ft. Ty Dolla $ign ‘Psycho/Better Now’

13. Jennifer Lopez ‘Limitless’

12. Benny Blanco, Hasley & Khalid ‘Eastside’

11. Mariah Carey ‘With You’

10. Shawn Mendes x Zedd ‘Lost in Japan’

9. Ella Mai ‘Boo’d Up’

8. Dua Lipa ‘One Kiss/Electricity’

7. Camila Cabello ‘Consequences’

6. Ciara ft. Missy Elliot ‘Level Up/Dose’

5. Carrie Underwood ‘Spinning Bottles’

4. Twenty One Pilots ‘Jumpsuit’

3. Gladys Knight, Donnie McClurkins, CeCe Winans, Ledisi & Mary MAry, Aretha Franklin Tribute

2. Taylor Swift ‘I Did Something Bad’

1. Cardi B ft. J Balvin & Bad Bunny ‘I Like It’

According to Billboard, Cardi B’s performance was a show stopping affair that reached a par with Cirque du Soleil. Taylor came in as runner up due to her Britney-inspired use of a snake for dramatic effect and impressive new song, while Gladys Knight lead the way for a tribute to fellow legend and the Queen of Soul, the late Aretha Franklin. Meanwhile, fourth place Twenty One Pilots were described as ‘Bombastic’, bringing a long-awaited heavy rock performance to the AMAs. Check out their live performance below:


Beyond the awards and performances, the AMAs 2018 had a rather significant theme; politics. As Taylor Swift accepted the ceremony’s coveted prize she stated:

"This award and every single award given out tonight were voted on by the people, and you know what else is voted on by the people… the midterm elections on November 6th." 

It follows her recent Instagram posts earlier in the week that broke Swift’s formerly silent stance to politics, as she announced she was voting for Tennessee Democratic Senate candidate Phil Bredesen.

“In the past I’ve been reluctant to publicly voice my political opinions, but due to several events in my life and in the world in the past two years, I feel very differently about that now”  she claimed. According to USA Today, her pronouncement has encourage 65,000 to register to vote.

Take a look at her acceptance speech below:

Actor Billy Eichner also made a passionate plea for people to vote,

"The biggest election of our lifetime is happening. Please grab your friends and tell them to vote. Now is the time. If you believe in equality for women, for people of color, for the LGBTQ community. If you believe that climate change is real and that we need to do something about it," he said onstage before presenting an award. And you can go to like Taylor Swift told you to."

Meanwhile presenter Tracee Ellis Ross sported a ‘I am a voter’ t-shirt and Khalid gave a "shout out, Beto - thank you" to Beto, O’ Rourke, nominee of the Democrat Party for this year’s Texas Senate election.

The AMAs certainly brought a different, more ferocious vibe this year. Meanwhile if you feel like you missed out, plenty of the stars are heading out on tour around the UK. Follow your favourite artist to receive alerts for when tickets are available.

Written by
Aminah Barnes
10th October 2018

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