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After a week of will she-won’t she lead-up and contentious debate about her own access to her catalogue of hits, in the end Taylor Swift was able to deliver a stunning performance at Sunday night’s American Music Awards. The pop superstar was honoured with the Artist of the Decade Award, making her the first female artist to receive the award and marking just one of the many ways she made history during the show. Swift took home a total of six awards, including Favorite Pop/Rock Album for Lover, Favorite Music Video for “You Need To Calm Down,” Favorite Pop/Rock Female Artist and the highly coveted Artist of the Year, a stacked category that had Swift facing off against Drake, Post Malone, Ariana Grande and close friend Halsey.

Accepting the award for Artist of the Year near the end of the telecast, Swift said she was at a loss for words, but thanked her fans who have stood by her for the past 15 years of her career. “”This year for me has been a lot,” she said from the stage. “It’s been a lot of good, it’s been a lot of really complicated.” Swift’s final win of the night brought her career total of AMAs to 29, surpassing the record of 24 previously set by Michael Jackson.

Swift’s first appearance on stage Sunday night was to accept the award for Favorite Pop/Rock Album. While many tuned in to see whether Swift would address the ongoing drama between the singer and the owners of her former label Big Machine Records, Swift kept things positive, only slightly hinting at the feud by thanking her new label. “I really love my record label, Universal Republic. Thank you for being so generous and letting me make whatever music I want to make,” said Swift, who beat out Billie Eilish and Ariana Grande for the AMA.

The cameras stayed on Swift throughout the night, with the singer continuing her tradition of being the audience member having the most fun at any award show. Swift cheered for BFF Selena Gomez, who opened the AMAs with her two new singles “Lose You To Love Me” and “Look At Her Now,” while continuing to stan friends Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello during their sultry performance of “Senorita.” So close, but still no kiss.

Starting with “The Man”

But the real highlight of the show was Swift’s iconic performance of some of her greatest hits. Marking what will likely go down as one of the best performances of her career to date, Swift opened the number with a subtle (not so subtle?) dig at the ongoing issue with her music licencing and former label by wearing a white dress shirt with the names of her albums printed on the front and back as she performed her 2019 track, “The Man.”

Moving through a theatrical medley of “Love Story,” “Blank Space” and “I Knew You Were Trouble,” Swift was later joined on stage by Cabello and Halsey for a high energy performance of “Shake It Off.”


The superstar ended her performance at the piano to play her latest single “Lover,” with the romantic rendition capped off with a beautiful appearance by dancers Misty Copeland and Craig Evans.

Swift was presented her Artist of the Decade AMA by Carole King and thanked the prolific songwriter and artist for the influence King had on Swift’s parents and on the singer herself. “I just remembered that when I fell in love with music, it was right around the time I realized how marvelous it was that artists could transcend so many different phases and changes in people’s lives,” Swift said to King. “You taught me that that’s a possibility.”

“The fact that this is an award that celebrates a decade of hard work and of art and of fun and memories, all that matters to me is the memories that I’ve had with you guys, with you the fans, over the years,” said Swift. “We’ve had fun, incredible, exhilarating, extraordinary times together and may it continue. Thank you for being the reason why I am on this stage. From the very first day of my career until tonight,” added Swift. “I love you with all of my heart. Thank you for everything.”

 

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