Taylor Swift, Iggy Azalea and J. Lo! Girls Rule the AMAs

by Zach Seemayer 9:44 AM PST, November 24, 2014
Playing Taylor Swift, Iggy Azalea and J. Lo! Girls Rule the AMAs

One Direction may have won the night's biggest award, but Taylor Swift stole the show.

Looking back on Sunday night's 2014 American Music Awards, one thing stands out from the cacophony of stellar performances and heartfelt acceptance speeches: it was ladies night for sure. Between Swift, Iggy Azalea, Jennifer Lopez and Charli XCX, every number that swept the audience off their feet was delivered by a female artist.

The star-studded, performance-filled celebration – which often seemed more like a huge concert than an awards show – opened with a spectacular live rendition of Swift’s latest hit "Blank Space," which set the fun, fast-paced tone for the rest of the (three-hour) evening.

Later in the night, Taylor was honored with the Dick Clark Award For Excellence – presented by music legend Diana Ross – and she gave a heartfelt speech that showed how much she really cared for and appreciated the fans who made her most recent album 1989 a record-shattering success. "I love having a glimpse into your life," she told her fans. "I'm so unbelievably happy that you want to have a glimpse into my life. Thank you so much."

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Azalea also had huge night, beating out Drake and Eminem to win Favorite Rap/Hip-Hop Artist, which she said was the "first award I've ever won in my entire life."

It wouldn't be the only award she'd win. An hour later she took home the trophy for Favorite Rap/Hip-Hop album for her record The New Classic, beating out Drake and Eminem yet again. "Musicians, we receive so much critiques and this really validates that I am on the right path," she confessed.

Later, Iggy and Charli XCX performed their infectiously catchy hit "Fancy," but Iggy really shined when she broke into "Beg For It," while backed by more mesh shirted back-up dancers and spandex-sweatpants ensembles than you could shake an early-90s breakdancing video at.

But Charli XCX's number with Iggy was the second time she had dominated the stage. Earlier in the show, Charli sang her hit song "Boom Clap" – which she performed in front of a pink, prom-themed background complete with balloon pillars and flower arches – before transitioning into her new rebellious hit "Break The Rules." After changing into a sexy, black leather ensemble, she proceeded to smash the set apart like an old-school rock star.

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Later, Lorde performed her new single "Yellow Flicker Beat," which she wrote for the upcoming The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1. However, bucking the "bigger means better" conventions of other singers that evening, Lorde's performance started off with her seemingly imprisoned inside a small, red cube and looked more like performance art piece than an awards show number (but in a good way). The performance also marked the first (but thankfully not the last) time that Swift was seen dancing in the audience shot – -- because really, it's pretty much a requirement for all awards shows at this point.

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Selena Gomez brought an emotional tone to the show when she sang her powerful, dramatic single "The Heart Wants What It Wants" in front of a giant screen that projected huge, striking images mirroring the passionate tone of her lyrics. While Selena seemed to get emotional, she was able to keep from crying. That didn't stop Swift, and a few of Selena's friends in the audience, from getting a bit choked up themselves.

Fergie also delivered a strong performance with her infectious hit "L.A. Love," set in front of a crazy neon-sign-covered, multi-colored, hippie party bus. Unfortunately the song concluded with a minor wardrobe malfunction - nothing exciting, just embarrassing, as her robe was much harder to get off than anyone likely anticipated. Somehow (static electricity maybe?) it stuck to her butt as she tried to get back on the bus.

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The show closed with a sexy, high-energy performance of the internet-beloved single "Booty" by Jennifer Lopez and Iggy Azalea. And, as you would expect, the night came to a pretty scintillating conclusion. Can you believe J.Lo is 45 years old?!

Other artists to perform on Sunday included Ariana Grande, Sam Smith, Mary J. Blige, Imagine Dragons, Lil Wayne, 5 Seconds of Summer, One Direction, Magic! and Wyclef Jean. But with a bookend of wow-worthy performances on the broadcast, it was clear that girl power was in full effect.