Taylor Swift kicked off her week with a rare political post on social media, and at the American Music Awards she continued the conversation by encouraging fans to vote in the upcoming midterm elections.
Swift won four honors including artist of the year at the fan-voted show last night in Los Angeles, beating out Drake, Ed Sheeran, Imagine Dragons and Post Malone for the top prize.
Swift announced on Sunday that she was voting for Tennessee’s Democratic Senate candidate Phil Bredesen, breaking her long-standing refusal to discuss anything politics.
Voting was a hot topic at the AMAs. Host and Golden Globe-winning “black-ish” actress Tracee Ellis Ross wore a shirt that said, “I am a voter,” and comedian-actor Billy Eichner told the audience, “The biggest election of our lifetime is happening.”
Swift made history by becoming the most decorated woman in the show’s history with a total of 23 AMAs.
Despite having the year’s top-selling album and three No. 1 hits, Drake didn’t win a single award. He did not attend the show but tied Cardi B with most nominations walking into the AMAs.
Swift kicked off the show with a performance of “I Did Something Bad,” while Cardi B — who won three honors — picked up the night’s first award, favorite hip-hop/rap artist, which she dedicated to her daughter.
The rapper hit the stage to give a festive and colorful performance of her No. 1 hit, “I Like It,” where she was joined by J Balvin and Bad Bunny, who was wheeled onstage inside a shopping cart.
Cardi B’s husband, Offset of the rap trio Migos, danced along in the audience with group member Quavo as Cardi B worked the stage with vibrant dance moves, including the salsa.
Cardi B returned the favor, screaming happily when Migos was named favorite pop/rock duo or group, beating out Maroon 5 and Imagine Dragons, later in the show.
Like Cardi B’s performance, rising newcomer Ella Mai also won over the crowd when she sang the year’s biggest R&B hit, “Boo’d Up”.
Others who shined onstage included R&B singer Ciara, who showed off her skilled dance moves and was joined by a fierce Missy Elliott.
The three-hour show closed with a rousing tribute to Aretha Franklin, who died in August. Gladys Knight, Ledisi, Mary Mary, Donnie McClurkin and CeCe Winans were among the musicians who paid tribute to the Queen of Soul’s gospel roots and her iconic album, “Amazing Grace.”
Rapper-singer XXXTentacion, who was fatally shot in June, was also honored: He won favorite soul/R&B album for his 2017 debut, “17.”
His mother, Cleopatra Bernard, said she was honored to accept the award on behalf of her son.
Kane Brown swept the country categories with three wins, including male artist, album and song.
Post Malone, who wore a baby blue suit and performed, won favorite pop/rock male artist, Underwood was named favorite country female artist and Khalid picked up favorite soul/R&B male artist.
Other performers included Mariah Carey, Jennifer Lopez, Shawn Mendes and twenty one pilots.