American Music Awards: Winners, Losers, and Everyone in Between

BY: MAREMA LO

This years American Music Awards was packed with celebrities new and old, and what many may have thought would be a predictable night quickly shifted into what was the most interesting and unexpected awards show of the 2018 season.

After a three year break from performing at any awards show, Taylor Swift came back from hiatus to begin the ceremony with a bang.

Singing “I Did Something Bad” from her latest album Reputation, Taylor delivered a sassy and passionate performance which even earned her her first “bleep”, as she swore on stage and was censored.

Anyone who’s followed her career since her “Fearless” days knows that this is very much a first for the singer, whose performances, and music, are almost never explicit. It only goes to show that when Taylor said “The old Taylor can’t come to the phone right now, cause she’s dead” she really was being honest.

Swift also won four awards, including Artist of the Year, Tour of the Year, Favorite Female Pop Artist, and Favorite Pop Album; in the process she beat out serious competition including Drake, Cardi B, and Beyonce & Jay Z. These victories allowed her to cement her status as the female artist with the most AMA wins, the latest of Taylor Swift’s long list of accomplishments.


One fresh new face who got a lot of attention at the ceremony was country singer Kane Brown. The “What Ifs” singer was nominated for three categories: Favorite Male Country Artist, Favorite Country Album, and Favorite Country Song; Brown won every single category, beating out veteran country stars such as Luke Bryan and Thomas Rhett.

Brown, a twenty-four year old country singer from Georgia, is extremely new to the music industry, as he only released his debut album titled Kane Brown in 2016. Brown quicky gained a following, even making history in the country scene as his most popular single “What Ifs” was the first to occupy all five country charts simultaneously.

Brown’s success was even record breaking, as he now holds the title of most-awarded country star who hadn’t won a single AMA before. In fact, these are his first awards ever! Needless to say, Brown’s fans were blowing up social media with support for his newfound success.

Everyone knows that Cardi B is having the best year of her life: she just welcomed her first child Kulture in July, celebrated her first year of marriage with rapper Offset in September, and can now call herself the winner of three American Music Awards.

Nominated for eight awards, Cardi took home Favorite Rap Song, Favorite Rap Artist, and Favorite Soul Song. In one of her many acceptance speeches, Cardi thanked her daughter Kulture for inspiring and influencing her drive to create music. We can’t wait to see what she does next!

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I love you, @iamcardib #AMAs

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One of the more unusual aspects of the awards was XXX Tentacion’s post-mortem victory for Favorite Soul/R&B album, which was accepted by his mother in an emotional speech. He was also nominated for the New Artist Of the Year award, but he lost to Camilla Cabello.

XXX’s win is controversial.  On the one hand, he has a monumental fan base, who raised an outpouring of grief and love upon hearing of the artist’s untimely death in June. On the other, the artist was also accused of several heinous crimes, including physical and sexual abuse of many people ranging from his ex girlfriend to his former juvie cellmate.

While many believe he deserves this award, others argue that by granting him this AMA, his alleged abuse is being legitimized, as his music is still being given a platform with little or no mention over his alleged abuse.

This debate is especially relevant in light of the #metoo movement and the often volatile climate which exists for those who come forward with stories of their abuse. This debate still rages on even after his passing, but it is clear that the XXX Tentacion’s fan base remains supportive regardless of his divisive past.

One of the most surprising aspects of the AMA’s was the multiple categories for which Drake was nominated but failed to win. Drake was up for eight titles, including Artist of the Year, Video of the Year, and Favorite Artist, yet failed to win in a single category.

This came as a surprise to many, especially those of us who spent half of the summer watching “Kiki, do you love me?” dance videos, and saw how much overall attention and rave reviews that Scorpion was receiving.

Of course, this snub doesn’t take away the huge phenomenon that Drake has become, especially considering his latest album broke the record for five simultaneous Hot 100 top 10 hits, which was originally set by The Beatles. For any disappointed Drake fans, We’ll Be Fine!

Overall, this year’s AMA’s was filled with surprise, and celebrity evolution. A year ago, would you have believed that that there could be an American Music Awards ceremony where Drake didn’t win anything, a dead rapper would beat out SZA and Khalid for best R&B album, and Taylor Swift would be censored on live television?

The American Music Awards, like so many other ceremonies dedicated to celebrating the talent and entertainment value of our artists, is a platform where artists can show the world what they are passionate about and how they have evolved.

Cardi B told us about how her daughter is now her whole life, Taylor proved to us that she has truly grown up, and fresh talent such as Kane Brown showed us how they are on the rise. Now, only three months until the Grammys!