The 2018 American Music Awards will open with the first awards show performance in three years from Taylor Swift. The pop star will open Tuesday night’s show at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, which airs live on ABC at 8 p.m. ET.
The lineup also includes Cardi B with Bad Bunny and J Balvin, Mariah Carey, Carrie Underwood, twenty one pilots and Jennifer Lopez.
Khalid wins soul/R&B male artist
8:58 p.m.: Shawn Mendes and Zedd performed “Lost in Japan” together on stage against a purple, foggy stage with hundreds of paper lanterns hanging from the ceiling. Ella Mai performed next, opening from the back of the theater as she walked through the audience down toward the stage. Mai sang “Boo’d Up” she stood in the middle of the AMAs crowd.
Busy Philipps and John Stamos took the stage, and Philipps admitted that she used to have a big crush on him when she was younger. He asked, “What happened?” and she said the poster in her room aged faster than he did and, “It freaked me out.” The two presented soul/R&B male artist, which went to Khalid. He thanked his mom, family members and fans, and then gave a shout-out to Texas, making it political by adding, “Shoutout [Texas Democratic Senate candidate] Beto [O’Rourke].”
Taylor Swift wins tour of the year
8:44 p.m.: Heidi Klum presented the award for tour of the year, which went to Taylor Swift — her first award of the night. Swift thanked her tour mates Camila Cabello and Charli XCX, as well as her tour crew and their families. Swift did not mention politics in her speech; on Monday, Swift made headlines for breaking her political silence to support Tennessee Democrats.
Chloe x Halle introduced a performance of new song “With You” by Mariah Carey, who wore a pink gown with a larger-than life skirt that covered the stage. Later, several male dancers sprung out from the layers of her skirt. Meanwhile, the backdrop showed a reflection of the singer and her dancers from behind.
Post Malone wins pop/rock male artist
8:30 p.m.: Ross returned, and pointed out that if Swift wins three more awards on Tuesday, she will be the most decorated artist in AMAs history. Ross wondered out loud how musicians come up with their names, mentioning that Halsey must have gotten her name from having lots of sore throats and eating Halls when she was a kid. Then Ross joked that she wondered how Lil Dicky got his name.
“Aquaman” star Amber Heard took the stage to introduce Twenty One Pilots, which she joked was the number of pilots she starred in that were not picked up. The duo opened their performance of “Jumpsuit” behind a sheer screen, as different patterns and beams flashed across. The screen came up and the two stood in front of a burning car onstage. The performance closed with a shower of confetti.
Macaulay Culkin presented the next award for pop/rock male artist, which went to Post Malone, who thanked his family and fans.
Cardi B wins rap/hip-hop artist
8:17 p.m.: Tracee Ellis Ross took the stage by rapping along to Cardi B’s “Bodak Yellow,” complete with a blinged out grill on her teeth that said “TER.” Ross removed her jacket to reveal a sequined bodysuit before she danced onstage to the song “This is America.”
Ross continued to dance along to an impressive number of songs, including “APES**T” by Beyonce and Jay-Z, “Respect” by Aretha Franklin and “Uptown Funk” by Bruno Mars. Ross moved onto “Run the World (Girls)” by Beyonce, dancing against a backdrop of photos of influential women, including Mother Teresa, Oprah and Carol Burnett.
Ross was out of breath when she wrapped up and said, “I’m not a dancer. I’m just a lady with some moves. I don’t even know if I can say that. I think I’m just a lady who moves.”
She asked her “black-ish” children Marsai Martin and Miles Brown how she did, and they held up signs, giving her only “3” and “7” out of 10. Ross brushed off the low numbers and said she was having fun. She also announced that she was wearing clothes created by black fashion designers.
Florida Georgia Line and Bebe Rexha presented the first award of the night for rap/hip-hop artist, which went to Cardi B. Cardi B said in her acceptance speech, “I really want to thank my daughter. And not just because she’s my daughter. When I was pregnant, I was so influenced to be like, ‘Yo, I gotta do this. I gotta show people wrong. I gotta prove people wrong because they said I wasn’t going to make it after I had a baby.”
A tribute to Aretha Franklin
Gladys Knight, Ledisi, Mary Mary, Donnie McClurkin and CeCe Winans will pay tribute to late Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin. They will remember her with performances from her album, “Amazing Grace.”
Tracee Ellis Ross will host the show. Fans vote for the winners at the AMAs. Presenters include Tyra Banks, Chloe x Halle, Macaulay Culkin, Sara Gilbert, Heidi Klum, Lenny Kravitz, John Stamos, Amandla Stenberg, The Chainsmokers and Rami Malek.