Taylor Swift, Justin Timberlake, Rihanna and One Direction all won multiple trophies at the American Music Awards, last night. Swift took home four trophies, including Artist of the Year. "I'm 23 and I have no idea what's going to happen to me in my life," she said in her acceptance speech. "But if [the fans] decided on something as wonderful as this [award], then we're pretty much in it together."
In addition to the awards, the show featured performances by Miley Cyrus, Katy Perry, Kendrick Lamar, One Direction and Luke Bryan. Rihanna performed the song "Diamonds," off her latest album Unapologetic, before accepting the show's first-ever Icon Award. Lady Gaga put on a JFK–Marilyn Monroe-like show in which she and R. Kelly played out a presidential tryst before launching into their duet, "Do What U Want." Jennifer Lopez performed a tribute to Celia Cruz. Justin Timberlake wielded an acoustic guitar for his bluesy, rockish number "Drink You Away." And Florida Georgia Line traded verses with Nelly on the country duo's "Cruise" and the rapper's "Ride Wit Me." Other performers included Imagine Dragons, Ariana Grande, Maklemore and Ryan Lewis, Pitbull featuring Ke$ha, Christina Aguilera and Ian Axel, and TLC with Lil Mama filling in for Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes.
Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, who were performing a concert in Miami, took time out to accept the award for Favorite Album, Rap/Hip-Hop for their LP The Heist. Playing off their Florida locale, the duo used their win as platform to talk about racial profiling by bringing up slain teenager Trayvon Martin and quoting Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. "I want to acknowledge Trayvon Martin and the hundreds and hundreds of kids that are dying due to racial profiling and the violence that follows it," Macklemore said. "This is really happening [to] our friends, our neighbors, our peers, our fans, and it's time that we look out for the youth and fight against racism and the laws that protect it."
Meanwhile, comedian Sarah Silverman used race as a platform for comedy. When presenting the award for Favorite Album, Soul/R&B – which could have gone to Rihanna, Robin Thicke or Justin Timberlake – she mentioned that one possible recipient was "a woman of color" while the others were "a white guy from The Mickey Mouse Club and the son of the dad from Growing Pains." When Timberlake accepted the award he joked that it was the "first time I've ever been racially profiled by a white woman." Timberlake ended up taking home three American Music Awards, including Favorite Male Arist, Pop/Rock.
All the artists expressed gratitude to their fans and for being there. In his acceptance speech for Favorite Artist, Alternative Rock, Imagine Dragons frontman Dan Reynolds said, "To share the stage with [presenters] Dave Grohl and Joan Jett, you guys are legends and that's incredible. Seriously. We've been a band for five years. And to be here at the American Music Awards is very surreal to us." Perhaps the most grateful, though, was Swift. When she accepted the Artist of the Year award, just as Miley Cyrus finished singing "Wrecking Ball," she ran to the stage exhausted. "I'm really out of breath," she said. "I was really going hard with the whole 'Wrecking Ball' thing." When she collected herself she said, "My lucky number is 13 and so far you guys have made 2013 the most magical year of my life. I cannot thank you enough."
Here are the winners of the 2013 American Music Awards:
Artist of the Year: Taylor Swift
Favorite Male Artist, Pop/Rock: Justin Timberlake
Favorite Female Artist, Soul/R&B: Rihanna
Favorite Album, Country: Taylor Swift, Red
Favorite Album, Rap/Hip-Hop: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, The Heist
Favorite Artist, Alternative Rock: Imagine Dragons
Favorite Artist, Latin: Marc Anthony
Favorite Album, Pop/Rock: One Direction, Take Me Home
New Artist of the Year, Presented By Kohl’s: Ariana Grande
AMA Icon Award: Rihanna
Favorite Male Artist, Soul/R&B: Justin Timberlake
Favorite Female Artist, Country: Taylor Swift
Single of the Year: Florida Georgia Line featuring Nelly, "Cruise"
Favorite Album, Soul/R&B: Justin Timberlake, The 20/20 Experience
Favorite Artist, Electronic Dance Music (EDM): Avicii
Favorite Artist, Rap/Hip-Hop: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
Favorite Male Artist, Country: Luke Bryan
Favorite Band, Duo or Group, Pop/Rock: One Direction
Favorite Female Artist, Pop/Rock: Taylor Swift
Favorite Band, Duo or Group, Country: Lady Antebellum
Favorite Artist, Adult Contemporary: Maroon 5
Favorite Artist, Contemporary Inspirational: Matthew West
Top Soundtrack: Pitch Perfect