From Justin Bieber's soulful medley of new hits -- which came 10 years after he made his AMAs debut with a performance of "Pray" -- to Jennifer Lopez and Maluma's world premiere performance of "Pa' Ti" and "Lonely," the night was jam-packed with incredible highlights.
The awards show kicked off with Justin Bieber performing his heartbreaking song, "Lonely" -- his emotional collaboration with Benny Blanco -- before delivering a lively, romantic performance of "Holy." The 26-year-old musician was accompanied by a group of backup dancers wearing masks as the group performed under neon purple crosses. The opening number then jumped up a notch as Shawn Mendes joined the fray, strumming a guitar and joining Bieber for a performance of their collaboration/duet, "Monster."
Later in the evening, Mendes took the stage by himself for a powerhouse performance of his new song "Wonder," that left his fans fawning over the 22-year-old musician for his vocal talent and magnetic charm.
Taraji P. Henson Celebrates Music and Dance to Kick Things Off
The Empire star kicked off the show with a tribute to music, owning the entire stage as she performed and danced with a slew of backup dancers to a few modern mega-hits -- including two TikTok favorites, "Savage" and "WAP." Henson disrobed down to a golden, glittery bodysuit throughout the musical medley performance, and certainly proved that she wasn't afraid of embracing her wild side.
The Weeknd Wows With Pyrotechnics
The 30-year-old singer wowed by performing a special rendition of "In Your Eyes" -- featuring the legendary Kenny G -- just blocks away from the venue in downtown L.A., on one of the city's famous bridges over the Los Angeles River. The Weeknd -- sporting the same bandaged look he's been rocking all year, on theme with the promotion for his After Hours album -- walked along the bridge as cascades of pyrotechnic sparklers burst into the sky around him. He also performed "Save Your Tears," which marked the song's TV debut.
Megan Thee Stallion Shares Self-Love Declaration Before 'Body' Performance
Megan Thee Stallion turned up the heat with her debut TV performance of her new single, "Body." Dramatically descending from the sky while reclining in an aerialist's ring to kick off her set, Megan brought down the house with her enthusiastic, body-positive number. Rocking a skintight black bodysuit, and flanked by backup dancers, Megan brought her trademark style and unapologetic sexuality to the risqué performance.
Nelly Takes Us Back to the 2000s With Medley of His Biggest Hits
After spending all season on Dancing With the Stars reminding fans why he's such an iconic entertainer, Nelly hit the AMAs stage for a performance of some of his biggest retro hits from his 2000 album, Country Grammar. The 46-year-old rapper, joined by City Spud, performed his classic hits "Country Grammar," "E.I." and "Ride Wit Me" to the absolute delight of the limited, socially distanced audience.
Jennifer Lopez and Maluma took over the stage for the world premiere performances of "Pa' Ti" and "Lonely" -- two of the songs they wrote for their upcoming flick, Marry Me. Lopez looked sensational in a semi-sheer bodysuit as she danced in what appeared to be a Chicago-inspired jail motif for her verse on "Pa' Ti," before she was joined by Maluma, looking suave in a pinstripe double-breasted suit, for "Lonely," and the chemistry between the gorgeous performers was palpable.
Becky G Uses Her Acceptance Speech to Share a Meaningful Message
When Becky G took home the award for Favorite Female Latin Artist, the "Mayores" singer used her acceptance speech to express her appreciation for her multi-cultural heritage. "I proudly wave both flags, Mexican and American," she shared. "Like many, many children and grandchildren of immigrants, no matter where they're from, we have learned from the ones before us what sacrifice and hard work looks like, and I dedicate this to our immigrant workers."
You can't ever go wrong with a reunion of Bell Biv DeVoe, especially when they are delivering a flawless medley performance of "Poison" and "Do Me." The nostalgia was next level and more than appreciated.
Cardi B Makes History (But Can't Attend)
Thank you guys soooo much .Me and Meg really appreciate all the love from fans ,celebs everybody that supported the song .Also thanks for voting .Ugh if I would have known all this was going down today I would of rescheduled my dentist https://t.co/xIkG1eOunD so swollen 😩😂 pic.twitter.com/bUCEHtedcd
The celebrated rapper made AMAs history this year when she took home the trophy for the Favorite Song - Rap/Hip Hop category (along with Megan Thee Stallion) for their hit single "WAP." Cardi is the only artist to claim victory in that category twice, having previously won in 2018 for "Bodak Yellow." Unfortunately, she couldn't be at the show to accept the award in person, and explained why in a message she posted for her fans: "Thank you guys soooo much. Me and Meg really appreciate all the love from fans, celebs everybody that supported the song. Also thanks for voting. Ugh, if I would have known all this was going down today I would of rescheduled my dentist [appointment]. I'm so swollen."
Taylor Swift Wins Big and Reveals an Update
🏆 | Taylor Swift accepting Artist of the Year at the 2020 #AMAs
“I love you so much. The reason I’m not there tonight is i’m actually re-recording all of my old music in the studio in which we originally recorded it.” pic.twitter.com/2jqxbnEvMv
The Folklore songstress won the night's biggest honor, Artist of the Year, and accepted the award virtually, because she was unable to attend. As it turns out, her absence was due to something that is likely going to be a big deal to her fans. "The reason I'm not there tonight is I'm re-recording all of my old music in the studio where we originally recorded it," explained Swift, who also took home the awards for Favorite Female Pop/Rock Artist and Favorite Music Video for "cardigan."
After they took home two AMAs -- for Favorite Social Artist and Favorite Pop/Rock Duo or Group -- RM, Jin, Jimin, Jungkook, J-Hope, Suga and V delivered a dreamy performance of "Life Goes On," before ending the ceremony on a high note with an energetic performance of their mega-hit "Dynamite."
Check out the video below for more on the star-studded American Music Awards!