Despite some of the negative vibes country-pop artist Taylor Swift has generated of late with her penchant for targeting ex-boyfriends in her music, her popularity with her fan base continues to soar. This was demonstrated at Sunday night’s 41st American Music Awards telecast as fans voted her Artist of the Year for a record third time. “My lucky number is 13, and so far you guys have made 2013 the most magical year of my life,” she said in her acceptance speech.
Swift not only took home the evening’s top award, she also took home the most awards, having also won for Favorite Female Country Artist, Favorite Female Pop/Rock Artist and Favorite Country Album, for a total of four trophies.
Other big winners of the night included Justin Timberlake, whose year of returning to music with The 20/20 Experience paid off with a total of three awards. One Direction, who failed to score an AMA last year, went home with two last night, for Favorite Pop/Rock Album and Favorite Pop/Rock Band, Group or Duo. Rihanna also went home with two awards, including the first-ever Icon Award, which was presented to her by her mother.
As is typically the case, the memorable moments of this year’s AMAs were the performances, both for good and bad reasons. While high-profile production numbers like Katy Perry’s Japanese-themed rendition of “Unconditionally” got the night’s first standing ovation, some of the night’s better moments came in the form of stripped-down performances. Ariana Grande (who won New Artist of the Year) allowed her stellar voice to carry the day with her vocal-driven doo-wop-themed “Tattooed Heart,” while newcomer duo A Great Big World delivered a captivating performance with Christina Aguilera of their emotionally devastating single “Say Something.” On the louder side of the spectrum, Imagine Dragons proved why they deserved to win Favorite Alternative Rock Artist, beating a stage full of big drums during a stunning performance of “Radioactive.”
However, the evening’s most talked-about performances also constitute the lo-lights—two performances by artists who coincidentally were not nominated in any category this year. Lady Gaga and R. Kelly role-played as POTUS and secretary in a scandalous affair for Gaga’s “Do What U Want,” obviously drawing inspiration from both the Clinton-Lewinski and the Kennedy-Marilyn Monroe affairs. Considering that this week marked the 50th anniversary of JFK’s assassination, this made for the most tasteless moment of the evening. Miley Cyrus managed to keep her overly twerking rear end in check during her performance of “Wrecking Ball,” but the massive lip-syncing, crying kitten on the big screen behind her had people scratching their heads. (It was actually a pretty good vocal performance if you closed your eyes.) With the exception of these two examples, overall, this year’s AMA’s telecast seems to have taken its cue from the blowback encountered by last summers MTV VMA Awards, keeping the outrage pretty much to a minimum.
Unlike the Grammy Awards, which are voted on by music industry professionals in the Recording Academy, the American Music Awards are voted on each year by fans of the artists. The full winner’s list is below.
AMA 2013 WINNERS
Favorite Male Artist, Pop/Rock: Justin Timberlake
Favorite Female Artist, Soul/R&B: Rihanna
Favorite Album, Country: Taylor Swift/Red
Favorite Album, Rap/Hip-Hop: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis/The Heist
Favorite Artist, Alternative Rock: Imagine Dragons
Favorite Artist, Latin: Marc Anthony
Favorite Album, Pop/Rock: One Direction/Take Me Home
New Artist of the Year: Ariana Grande
Favorite Male Artist, Soul/R&B: Justin Timberlake
Favorite Female Artist, Country: Taylor Swift
Single of the Year: “Cruise” by Florida Georgia Line, featuring Nelly
Favorite Album, Soul/R&B: Justin Timberlake/The 20/20 Experience
Favorite Artist, Electronic Dance Music: Avicii
Favorite Male Artist, Country: Luke Bryan
Favorite Band, Duo or Group, Pop/Rock: One Direction
Favorite Female Artist, Pop or Rock: Taylor Swift
Favorite Band, Duo or Group, Country: Lady Antebellum
Favorite Artist, Rap/Hip-Hop: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
Favorite Artist, Adult Contemporary: Maroon 5
Favorite Artist, Contemporary Inspirational: Matthew West
Top Soundtrack: Pitch Perfect
Artist of the Year: Taylor Swift