The curtain has dropped on the 2019 American Music Awards as the end of the decade approaches.
The awards show, which took place Sunday, was spearheaded by artists reminiscing on their musical pasts. Leading the pack was Taylor Swift, who was honored with the Artist of the Decade award along with five additional titles – including Favorite Pop/Rock Album and Artist of the Year.
Following her public dispute with Scooter Braun and Big Machine Label Group over her right to perform songs the label owns the masters for, Swift performed a medley of her songs from the past 10 years to celebrate her new honorific. She also noted her strong commitment to her current label Universal Music Group, as she thanked it for supporting her with the release of her album “Lover.” Racking up five additional awards from the night, Swift has officially become the most decorated artist in the history of the AMAs – surpassing Michael Jackson’s record of 24.
However, Swift was not the only artist honoring an anniversary. Green Day took the stage and performed “Basket Case” as a nod to the 25th anniversary of its album “Dookie,” along with “Father of All…,” its more recent song. The latter was released in anticipation of the band’s Hella Mega tour with Fall Out Boy and Weezer. Pete Wentz and Rivers Cuomo of the two bands, respectively, were also among those presenting for the night.
Billie Eilish was also a notable winner of the evening, as she was presented with her first ever American Music Award. Eilish was the second-most nominated artist of this year’s award – behind Post Malone – with a total of six overall nominations. By the end of the night, she took home two trophies for New Artist of the Year and Alternative Rock Artist of the Year.
The night carried on with performances by Halsey and the Jonas Brothers. Between these performances, Post Malone, with nominations spanning seven categories, received one award. The artist – reigning over Meek Mill and Travis Scott – had his “Hollywood’s Bleeding” crowned Favorite Album Rap/Hip-Hop. But Malone wasn’t as lucky facing newer rising artists, such as Lil Nas X, who was favored over him for Favorite Song Rap/Hip-Hop with “Old Town Road.”
Piled on top of moments reflecting on the past were performances of the latest music. Christina Aguilera sang her newest release “Fall on Me,” featuring A Great Big World. To that note, Ozzy Osbourne, Post Malone and Travis Scott performed recent release “Take What You Want” from Post Malone’s “Hollywood’s Bleeding.”
As many artists were quickly ushered on and off stage, Camila Cabello was a constant presence, sometimes with Shawn Mendes attached at the hip. The couple sang a much anticipated and passionate production of their collaboration “Señorita,” which later was awarded Collaboration of the Year. Following later, Cabello sang her own song “Living Proof” and joined Swift on stage for “Shake It Off” to celebrate her friend’s victories.
There proved to be distinct favorites in other genres’ categories – made clear by the lack of nuance in this year’s winners. Carrie Underwood repeated her 2018 Favorite Female Country Artist award and added Favorite Country Album to her repertoire for her song “Cry Pretty.” Dan + Shay swept the other half of the country category, winning out over chart-toppers Florida Georgia Line for Favorite Duo or Group and taking home Favorite Country Song for “Speechless.”
The night ended on a moment celebrating musical hits of the past with a performance by Shania Twain. After drifting through acoustic covers of “Stressed Out” by Twenty One Pilots and “Rockstar” by Post Malone, Twain reminisced on her older hits with “Any Man of Mine” and “Man! I Feel Like a Woman!”
As the last AMAs show to round out the decade, the event had moments that looked back on music events that have made their mark on history. The music industry is being ushered into a new era, and this year’s AMAs focused on Swift as the face of the decade – recognizing the past while honoring the future.