2019 American Music Awards: The Biggest Moments From the Star-Studded Show!
By Meredith B. Kile
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The 2019 American Music Awards were a star-studded spectacle featuring the year's biggest artists, chart-topping hits and jaw-dropping performances!
From Taylor Swift's girl-powered Artist of the Decade medley, to Kesha and Toni Braxton wowing the audience with performances of their biggest throwbacks, to buzzworthy acceptance speeches from Halsey and Post Malone, there were so many moments at Sunday's awards show that sent the internet into a frenzy and kept music fans on the edge of their seats.
Read on for some of the biggest moments from the 2019 AMAs!
Taylor Swift Brings Girl Power to Her Artist of the Decade Medley
Sunday's awards show was Swift's big night. The "ME!" singer was recognized as the Artist of the Decade, performing a medley of some of her biggest hits and accepting her career-honoring award from musical legend Carole King.
But Swift made her moment about more than just her own record-breaking hits, pulling in some of her signature girl power for a truly show-stopping performance. She brought pals Camila Cabello and Halsey onstage to sing "Shake It Off" with her, featured a performance from renowned ballerina Misty Copeland during her piano-driven rendition of "Lover," and paid tribute to King's trailblazing career in her heartfelt acceptance speech.
"When I fell in love with music, it was right around the time that I realized how marvelous it was that an artist could transcend so many different phases and changes in people's lives," she shared with the singer-songwriter, recalling how her parents saved King's albums throughout their lives and played them for her. "You taught me that that's a possibility."
"I grew up watching shows like this and I would sit at home, wide-eyed, and watch artists in these beautiful gowns and handsome suits stroll up the stairs to the stage and they would hold up these awards and they were usually gold-plated and shiny and weighted, these, like, metaphors, these trophies that were supposed to be some kind of validation for the soul-crushing and heartache-inducing work that they put into writing a song and bringing it to life," she told the crowd. And to be honest with you, I really believed that fairy tale. I believed these awards."
"When I was a kid, I used to believe that this award was the ultimate validation and that I'd come up here and laugh and cry and my fans at home would rejoice because we accomplished this thing together," she continued. "But the truth is, I am older now and I'm also an artist and apparently I'm doing OK. But most of these awards really aren't what they seem at all."
"But that's OK because I'm up here right now and I am so thankful to the AMAs because they are the world's largest fan-voted awards show," Halsey concluded, adding that fans are "the people who give a s**t about music."
"Earlier this year, my album, Igor, was No. 1 in the country," the rapper told the crowd before Eilish took the stage to perform her song, "All the Good Girls Go to Hell." "But then this 17-year-old girl who dresses like a quarterback decided to change that. Everybody give it up for Billie Eilish!"
Lizzo Slows It Down With Show-Stopping Performance of 'Jerome'
Since bursting onto the charts last year, Lizzo has given us truly unforgettable, high-energy awards show performances (remember that big inflatable booty at the VMAs?). But for her AMAs moment, Lizzo slowed it down a bit, belting out her heartfelt breakup ballad, "Jerome," in a rose-colored, ruffled dress while surrounded by thousands of twinkling lights.
The performance was a stunner from the flute-playing, twerk-happy superstar -- who recently scored eight nominations, the most of the year, for the 2020 GRAMMYs -- reminding us (and Jerome, wherever his sorry self may be these days) that she has the range, darling.
Taran Killam Gives T.Swift a Run for Her Money in Best Audience Cutaways
As always, Swift was a highlight in the audience as well as onstage, rooting on pal Selena Gomez during her performance -- which kicked off the show -- and singing along to nearly every live performance. However, she got a run for her money from cutaway artist extraordinaire Taran Killam.
The Single Parents star, who attended the show with his wife, Stumptown star and AMAs presenter Cobie Smulders, clearly remembers how to give a great reaction shot from his days at Saturday Night Live, and brought some hilarity to the awards show every time the camera landed on him -- like during Kesha's surprise performance of "Tik Tok."
Speaking of Kesha, as if it weren't enough that the singer and Big Freedia took us to church with their performance of "Raising Hell," she also dropped perhaps the biggest surprise on the audience when she kept the show going with her iconic 2009 hit, "Tik Tok." Find one person in the audience who wasn't singing along, we dare you.
Post Malone Baffles Everyone With a Shout-Out to Grapes in His Acceptance Speech
A cowboy hat-clad Posty had a great night at the AMAs, enjoying his beer in the audience, performing alongside Ozzy Osbourne, and winning Favorite Album - Rap/Hip-Hop for Hollywood's Bleeding. However, it was his acceptance speech for the latter that really got the internet talking.
"Thank you for all the fans for showing love and support," the rapper told the crowd. "We busted our a** for it, so you know, it feels good to walk away [with a win.] We love you very much and, um, I love grapes."
Camila Cabello Goes Airborne With 'Living Proof' Debut
Cabello took the AMAs stage for three performances -- joining Swift for her girl-powered medley, and boyfriend Shawn Mendes for their steamy collab, "Señorita." But it was her debut performance of new song "Living Proof" that really wowed the crowd.
Clad in a white corset with a flowing, sheer skirt, the singer was surrounded by dancers in a screened-in box, which projected a sunset sky with fluffy clouds, a perfect match for the dreamy pop track. Cabello also dropped the "Living Proof" video on Sunday, describing the aesthetic as "pretending I was a little fairy nymph cuz that’s all I wanna be !!!!"
Though Dookie came out seven years before she was born, Eilish was thrilled to take the AMAs stage to introduce Green Day's performance, in honor of the iconic album's 25th anniversary. "Growing up, there was no band more important to me or my brother," the GRAMMY-nominated star told the crowd, as Billie Joe Armstrong, Mike Dirnt and Tré Cool took the stage to perform their new single "Father of All," as well as an old classic, "Basket Case."
Perhaps the most infectious sing-along of the night, "Basket Case" had the audience rocking out, from Eilish and her brother, Finneas O'Connell, to Post Malone and Watt!
Toni Braxton Returns to the AMA Stage to Unbreak Our Hearts
And just in case the night wasn't emotional enough, Toni Braxton took the stage for her first AMAs performance in 25 years, bringing major emotion and nostalgia with her soulful 1996 hit, "Un-Break My Heart," which had everyone belting along in their seats.
"Great to be home #AMAs," Braxton tweeted after the show, also sharing a selfie with Lil Nas X.
The country star closed out the 2019 AMAs with a medley of some of music's biggest hits. Twain appeared sitting onstage in a hot pink gown, strumming a pink bedazzled guitar and sang riffs from Twenty One Pilot's "Stressed Out," Swift's "Shake It Off" and Drake's "God's Plan," among others, before using a few lines from her own hit, "You're Still the One," to transition into a wild, colorful, over-the-top performance that included shirtless back-up dancers gyrating while she sang "That Don't Impress Me Much" and "Man! I Feel Like a Woman!"
With psychedelic video projections, an army of different back-up dancers and a whole lot of neon, Twain's unexpectedly and wonderfully chaotic number was certainly a memorable way to close out the performance-packed show.