1. BTS Take Home First Award of the Night: Favorite Social Artist
Unfortunately, the boys themselves weren’t present to accept the award in person since they’re currently in London on their Love Yourself tour, but they did record a sweet message, thanking their ARMYs for their support. BTS beat out Cardi B, Ariana Grande, Demi Lovato, and Shawn Mendes for the the title of Social Artist (which came as no surprise, really).
2. Taylor Swift owned the night
There was one name on everyone’s minds last night and it was T-Swift. From the start of the night, there was a thrum of anticipation following her because she needed only three wins that night to become the female artist with the most AMAs ever (of course, she did it). There was also her opening performance, which was nothing short of hard-core af. She did a fiery number, “I Did Something Bad”, complete with lowkey political statements (“They’re burning all the witches, even if you aren’t one,” being a pretty obvious attack on the Kavanaugh nomination), and her symbolic snake persona in the form of a huge cobra background.
3. BUT Tracee Ellis Ross came in a close second
Comedian and star of “Blackish”, Tracee Ellis Ross returned to host the AMAs this year, for obvious reasons. She was funny without being insulting, upbeat and energetic without being too over-the-top, and her bold fashion certainly drew attention. She opened the show with a performance of her own, a high-energy mashup of dance hits, such as “Bodak Yellow”, “This is America”, “Uptown Funk”, and “Who Run the World”. Also, nothing had me laughing louder to myself, alone in my room, than Tracee standing with A-Rod (Mr. Rod) after J-Lo’s performance and asking him for his skincare routine. Legendary.
4. Cardi B, Bad Bunny, and J Balvin perform “I Like It” for the first time on TV
It’s a bop! It’s a banger! It’s a jam! It’s finally been performed live, and it was so freaking cool! Don’t just take my word for it, check it out here.
5. Halsey Live-Tweeting During Her Performance of “EastSide” With Khalid and Benny Blanco
The performance begins with Halsey and Khalid just chillin’ in a living room set, with Halsey scrolling on her phone. H decided to take that prime opportunity to hop on Twitter and let her fans know what was up (as if they weren’t already watching).
6. Panic! At The Disco’s tribute to Queen
Raise your hand if you think Brendon Urie was the most talented person in the room last night!!! It was a rendition of “Bohemian Rhapsody” that Freddie Mercury would be proud of, certainly. The high notes, the runs, the piano playing – and have you ever noticed how expression Brendon’s face is when he sings? Why isn’t he starring in the upcoming Queen movie again?? (Because Rami Malek, that’s why.)
7. Aretha Franklin Tribute
To honor the recent passing of the Queen of Soul, Gladys Knight and other prominent African American soul/gospel singers did a set of songs, starting with Knight singing “Amazing Grace”, and following with the other artists doing spiritual takes on songs like “Climbing Higher Mountains,” “Mary, Don’t You Weep” and “How I Got Over.”
8. Message of the Night : VOTE!!!
If you DIDN’T have the sudden overwhelming urge to be an active participant in our democracy after watching the AMAs last night, wyd?? From Taylor Swift’s short and sweet reminder to get out and vote at the end of her final acceptance speech of the night, to Tracee Ellis Ross’ very obvious ‘Vote’ t-shirt, it seemed like everyone last night wanted to make sure that young people get out there in November and really make a difference. It was comedian/actor Billy Eichner who made the most impactful statement, in my opinion, saying, “Now is the time for change – if you believe in equality for women, for people of color, for the LGBT community, if u believe climate change is real and we need to do something about it. Don’t let anyone tell you that your vote doesn’t count.”