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