10 Can’t Miss Moments From the 2020 AMAs

The American Music Awards took place live and socially distanced at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles on Sunday (Nov. 22) night. Taylor Swift nabbed the artist of the year award, but as with so many awards shows, it was really all about the live music.

From a Nelly medley to the Weeknd’s explosive outdoor performance to Becky G’s heartfelt speech, these are the 10 best moments from the 2020 AMAs.

Hootie & Hudson

Katy Perry slowed it down for a duet with Darius Rucker, crooning the heartfelt Smile ballad “Only Love” and giving her robust vocals a moment to take the spotlight. Sometimes ballads can drag down an awards show’s energy, but the stark simplicity of Perry and Rucker together helped this one stick the landing.

Kenny Gknd 

Strutting down an empty L.A. freeway while fireworks exploded around him, The Weeknd’s performance of “In Your Eyes” and “Save Your Tears” was a stunning visual highlight of the night. The face bandage shtick is still a bit puzzling, but no explanation was needed for that silky-smooth Kenny G cameo.

Becky G’s Message

After winning favorite female artist – Latin, Becky G gave the night’s most meaningful speech, dedicating her win to immigrant workers and immigrant families. “I proudly wave both flags, Mexican and American,” she said. “I dedicate this award to all of our immigrant workers in this pandemic.”

‘Body’ Bags a Victory

Megan Thee Stallion was absolutely on fire during her performance of “Body,” K.O.-ing her choreography and twerking without breaking a sweat. Book this Stallion for more awards shows, people.

‘Mood’ Swings Onto TV

Whether it’s because their song is currently sitting atop the Hot 100 or that they’re newcomers to the whole TV awards show realm, 24kGoldn and Iann Dior brought an irrepressible energy to a kinetic performance of “Mood.” The set was inventively designed, too, showing them performing as if standing on the front of an apartment building, defying gravity while smiling through the jaunty No. 1 smash.

Nelly Takes Us to Grammar School

Years before Lil Nas X put some yeehaw in hip-hop, Nelly was all about the Country Grammar, and he busted out three hits from that 20-year-old classic on the AMAs stage. Honestly, it’s never a bad time to hear “E.I.”, “Country Grammar” and “Ride Wit Me.”

Dressed to Kill

Host Taraji P. Henson did a lovely job emceeing the evening – especially considering the mostly empty auditorium she was performing to thanks to COVID-19 – but that mini-dress she wore halfway through the show with a pianist on the front, paired with a bolero hat, deserves an AMA all unto itself.

J.Lo & Maluma Sizzle

We have to wait until 2021 to find out what Jennifer Lopez and Maluma bring to the big screen together in Marry Me, but if it’s anything half as hot as their AMAs performance, that movie is gonna be sizzling. The chemistry between J.Lo and Maluma as they sang “Pa Ti + Lonely” was a masterclass in how to sell a song.

Taylor Offers An Update

Taylor Swift won the artist of the year award and sent in a digital thank you to her fans. “You guys have been beyond wonderful all the years of my career, but especially this one when we’ve been so far apart,” Swift said before explaining why she didn’t attend the ceremony in person. “The reason I’m not there tonight is I’m re-recording all of my old music in the studio we originally recorded it.” Now we sit back and wait for Twitter to endlessly analyze the poster on the wall behind her for Easter eggs.

BTS Brings the Night to an End With a Bang

After showing off their gorgeous harmonies on “Life Goes On,” BTS kicked it into high gear to end the night on a hyper-energetic note with “Dynamite.” The Weeknd might’ve had actual fireworks in his performance, but the boy band’s dance moves were every bit as explosive.

The American Music Awards are produced by dick clark productions, which is owned by MRC Entertainment, the parent company of Billboard.

BTS Perform ‘Life Goes On’ and ‘Dynamite’ In a Seoul Stadium for the 2020 AMAs

The 2020 American Music Awards wouldn’t be complete without a performance from the winner of favorite duo or group — pop/rock. To close out the star-studded show, BTS delivered a high-energy performance all the way from Seoul.

The Hot 100-topping K-pop group — which also took home the award for favorite social artist — first performed the tender “Life Goes On” complete with a stunning light show that filled the empty stadium they were in.

They then kicked it into high gear for their No. 1 hit “Dyanamite,” which wrapped with a stunning and vibrant explosion of fireworks and a beautiful aerial view — nodding to the larger-than-life presence of the group.

The American Music Awards are produced by dick clark productions, which is owned by MRC Entertainment, the parent company of Billboard.

Machine Gun Kelly Travels Back to High School with Travis Barker for Pop-Punk Medley at the 2020 AMAs

We’re all feeling at least a little angsty as 2020 finally comes to a close — so Machine Gun Kelly decided to let it all out onstage at the 2020 American Music Awards on Sunday (Nov. 22).

Decked out in a white jumpsuit covered in neon-pink straps, Kelly whipped out his pink guitar in front of a set of pink lockers (graffitied with the words “Downfall High”) to deliver a pop-punk medley of songs from his latest album, Tickets to My Downfall.

The star started off with “Bloody Valentine,” singing and shredding on his guitar to the angsty single. Before long, the back wall of the stage opened up to reveal Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker providing a solo for the track, much to the socially distanced audience’s delight.

Kelly then immediately launched into his final number of the night, “My Ex’s Best Friend,” joining Barker on his miniature stage for a rocked-out finale. “I swear to God, I never fall in love,” he wailed. “Then you showed up and I can’t get enough of it.”

The American Music Awards are produced by dick clark productions, which is owned by MRC Entertainment, the parent company of Billboard.

Bebe Rexha and Doja Cat Go Cavewoman Chic For ‘Baby I’m Jealous’ at 2020 AMAs

Bebe Rexha and Doja Cat brought their new hit collab “Baby I’m Jealous” to the stage at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles at the 2020 American Music Awards, in the song’s award show performance debut.

The two took it back to cavewoman times — one of the many eras covered in the song’s music video — with a high-energy performance of the slinky pop jam. The pair navigated the rocky set in clever costumes and huge hair, as masked backing dancers cavorted around them.

“Baby I’m Jealous” debuted at No. 58 on the Billboard Hot 100 in October. Doja Cat was already a two-time winner at this year’s AMAs by the time of her performance, taking home both new artist of the year and favorite female artist – soul/R&B. She’s also nominated for best music video (for “Say So”) and favorite album – soul/R&B (for Hot Pink).

Lil Baby Delivers Passionate Performance of ‘Emotionally Scarred’ at the 2020 AMAs

On Sunday night (Nov. 22), Lil Baby delivered a heartfelt rendition of his Hot 100 hit “Emotionally Scarred” at the 2020 AMAs. 

With a therapist by his side, Baby spilled his truths during his electric performance. “A love letter came through the mail, it said, ‘I Miss You’/I ripped it up and flushed with the tissue, try to forget you,” he rapped while sitting on his therapist’s chair. Baby continued to pound through the rock-laden performance with searing honesty, as the band matched his intensity every step of the way. At the end of the performance, the words “Protect Your Mental Health” appeared on the screen. 

Before Lil Baby bloomed into a hip-hop titan, he at first didn’t take the craft seriously. In an interview with T.I. Expeditiously podcast, Young Thug explained how he used to pay the Atlanta star to go harder in the studio. 

“I used to read that young n—- ‘s captions on his pictures and call him like, ‘bruh, you know you can rap,'” said Thug. “He in jail like, ‘bruh, I’mma f—–g get out, I’mma f—–n get me some money, get me a bag and do what I need to do. Just to groom him to you really could get paid from doing it, like, no cap.”

The American Music Awards are produced by dick clark productions, which is owned by MRC Entertainment, the parent company of Billboard.

Shawn Mendes Delivers Soaring Performance of ‘Wonder’ at the 2020 AMAs

For the second time during the 2020 American Music Awards on Sunday (Nov. 22), Shawn Mendes delivered a soaring performance. This time, he delivered the lead single, “Wonder,” of his upcoming fourth album of the same name.

Seated at a piano in a homey-looking stage set-up, the singer delivered the introspective pop ballad. He then walked out the door of the makeshift space to reveal he was singing from the center of empty rows of venue seats. He ran through the aisle, hopping on stage to join his band for the high-energy closing of the hit.

Earlier in the night, Mendes opened the show with his new Justin Bieber collaboration “Monster,” the second single from Wonder, which will arrive on Dec. 4.

The American Music Awards are produced by dick clark productions, which is owned by MRC Entertainment, the parent company of Billboard.

Dan + Shay Stay Up Late for ‘I Should Probably Go To Bed’ Performance at the 2020 AMAs

Country pop duo Dan + Shay stayed up late at Sunday’s American Music Awards (Nov. 22) to make sure they gave the audience a new performance of their track “I Should Probably Go to Bed”

With Dan striking it out on the piano, and Shay taking center stage, the pair opted not to give a massive, blockbuster performance, instead keeping the focus on their vocals. “I should probably go to bed/ I should probably turn off my phone,” the two crooned. “I should quit while I’m ahead/ I should probably leave you alone.”

Dan + Shay weren’t just at the 2020 AMAs for their performance — the duo were nominated for 3 awards at Sunday’s ceremony, including favorite country duo or group, favorite country song and collaboration of the year for their single “10,000 Hours” featuring Justin Bieber.

The American Music Awards are produced by dick clark productions, which is owned by MRC Entertainment, the parent company of Billboard.