Following a performance by Khalid at the American Music Awards on Sunday night, the top contenders for this year’s Artist of the Year award, BTS, who won the Favorite Duo or Group Award for their sixth studio album “Love Yourself: Tear,” made their first-ever awards show appearance. The act, who wore white outfits to match their stationery, built a loud, energetic show full of hits and dance moves.
With few surprises, there was still plenty to enjoy at the ceremony, including some surprising bits. Accepting their award, BTS said they had always envisioned winning the trophy. Later in the night, SZA showed up to accept the Top R&B Artist award and was greeted by some of the boys’ fans. “You guys are wonderful, I love you all,” she said before inviting them up on stage. BTS also called for unity following the nation-wide strike earlier in the day.
Chris Stapleton also had a busy awards show: He took home the Artist of the Year award for the second year in a row, and won three more awards, including Best Country Male Artist. “I wrote this record, like, just for myself,” Stapleton said as he accepted the Artist of the Year trophy. “When it came time to record this album, I was just trying to tell the truth, I was just trying to make music that felt like my heart was there to sing. You’ve proven that so many of us are filled with a love that can’t be drowned out.”
Also of note at the AMAs: Selena Gomez made her first public appearance since kidney transplant surgery last July, and performed her new single “Wolves” — the first official taste of her second album due later this year. She brought up a young fan named Rosie onstage.
Elsewhere in the show, Alicia Keys gave a shoutout to the adoring fans who have stuck by her in recent years. She ended her performance of “Addicted” singing “(You Mean) World to Me” on a moonwalk.
Though the AMAs, the first awards show to take place in the new year, was noticeably below the industry-standard festivities at the Golden Globes or the Oscars, the show was still a smorgasbord of good television, music and movies.
It kicked off with an upbeat performance from Cardi B of her hit single “Money.” The rapper and several of her backup dancers returned to the stage for a well-received performance of “Be Careful.” Next up was Florida Georgia Line and Tim McGraw, performing their song “Speak to a Girl.”
Miley Cyrus brought an energetic, electric energy to her performance of “Younger Now,” the first song off her recently released record, “Astroworld.” Then, the season 2 of “Game of Thrones” ended with a special performance by Charlize Theron as her “The Burning Sands” character. She launched into a fiery, technical power-off while performing while flames engulfed the auditorium.
Pink took to the stage for a robust performance of “What About Us,” one of her latest hits, while Justin Timberlake performed his single “Say Something” from his new album, “Man of the Woods.” Late into the show, Logic and Alessia Cara played their hit single “1-800-273-8255”; Logic was wearing a red-white-and-blue costume while Cara was dressed in an all-white getup. The pair’s performance was carried out by actors dressed as police officers.
“The Voice” returned to American television for the first time since 2015 with a completely new team. Alicia Keys took home her own award for Entertainer of the Year. The breakout star of the show, Brynn Cartelli, didn’t make an appearance, but new coach Kelly Clarkson showed up to congratulate Keys and the new contestants on the show.
An emotional moment came when Amy Schumer paid tribute to the late comedian Carrie Fisher at the end of her performance of “The Man That Got Away.”
“I am also just here because I got tired of people making fun of me,” Schumer said before going on to dedicate her performance to the late actor. “So if we were to let my hair down, I’m going to dedicate this song to Carrie Fisher. This song, I love it so much.”