Music

Taylor Swift voted artist of year at American Music Awards

LOS ANGELES – Taylor Swift was named artist of the year at the American Music Awards on Sunday and won two other trophies in a ceremony held live in Los Angeles amid tight coronavirus curbs.

It was the US pop star’s record sixth win of the top prize at the fan-voted show, although she was absent from the ceremony and thanked fans on video for their support of her surprise lockdown album Folklore.

Canadians Justin Bieber and The Weeknd – the latter sporting a large white face bandage – were the other big winners, with three awards each.

In this handout image courtesy of ABC singer Justin Bieber performs during the 2020 American Music Awards at the Microsoft theatre on November 22, 2020 in Los Angeles.AFP

Bieber was named favourite male pop/rock artist and picked up his two other wins for his collaboration with country singers Dan + Shay on 10,000 Hours, while The Weeknd took home trophies for best soul/R&B male artist as well as for his album After Hours and song Heartless.

In this handout image courtesy of ABC rapper The Weeknd poses with his three awards after the 2020 American Music Awards aired from the Microsoft theatre on November 22, 2020 in Los Angeles. - The Weeknd won Favorite Soul/R&B album, Favorite Soul/R&B Artist and Favorite Song Soul/R&B. AFP

He gave no reason for his bandaged appearance, which confused fans on social media, but appeared to be an artistic choice that started with his March album cover on which he sported a bloodied and broken nose.

The show featured a mix of live and pre-recorded performances across Latin, country, pop, rap and R&B in front of a handful of socially distanced fans.

“It has been a long year and now that 2020 is coming to an end it’s time to remember that we are one country, y’all. We need to heal,” said host and US actress Taraji P. Henson as she opened the ceremony.

Masked dancers were the order of the night, kicking off with Bieber singing his hits Lonely and Holy before being joined by Shawn Mendes for their duet Monster.

In this handout image courtesy of ABC singer Jennifer Lopez and Columbian singer Maluma perform during the 2020 American Music Awards at the Microsoft theatre on November 22, 2020 in Los Angeles.AFP

The awards celebrated the surge in popularity of Latin music with expanded categories and a steamy performance by Jennifer Lopez and Colombian singer Maluma singing Lonely in both English and Spanish.

Becky G, whose parents are Mexican-American, won for best female Latin artist and dedicated her award to immigrant workers.

In this handout image courtesy of ABC Boy band BTS performs during the 2020 American Music Awards aired from the Microsoft theatre on November 22, 2020 in Los Angeles.AFP

K-pop group BTS won two, for best pop/rock group and favourite social artists, and closed the show with a version of their hits Dynamite and Life Goes On from South Korea.

Rapper Megan Thee Stallion marked her debut performance at the American Music Awards with Body and later accepted the best rap/hip-hop song trophy for her raunchy summer collaboration WAP with Cardi B.

But she was beaten in the best new artist category by Los Angeles singer Doja Cat, who was also named favourite female soul/R&B artist. - REUTERS

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