Music was the surprising star of the American Music Awards
The 2018 American Music Awards were, surprisingly, mostly about the music.
There were some moments, including comedian Billy Eichner going off script to urge people to vote and XXXTentacion’s mother, Cleopatra Bernard, accepting the award for favorite Soul/R&B album for her late son.
But it was the performances at Tuesday’s ceremony that captured attention.
Taylor Swift, who just wrapped the North American leg of her “Reputation” tour, kicked off the show with her single, “I Did Something Bad.”
Tuesday marked Swift’s first live awards show performance in three years.
She also made history by snagging the artist of the year award, making Swift the most awarded artist in American Music Awards history.
Here are some of the other stage moments that put the “music” in “American Music Awards:”
Ledisi, CeCe Winans, Donnie McClurkin, Mary Mary and Gladys Knight pay tribute to Aretha Franklin
The legendary singer was honored with a gospel tribute.
Franklin died of advanced pancreatic cancer in August.
Her friend, Gladys Knight, began with a stirring rendition of “Amazing Grace.” The tribute then transitioned into more rollicking performances by the other artists with selections that harkened back to Franklin’s influential gospel roots.
The tribute closed out the show.
Carrie Underwood’s emotional “Spinning Bottles”
The country superstar offered a moving rendition of her single, “Spinning Bottles.”
She also took home the award for favorite country female artist.
Panic at the Disco’s “Bohemian Rhapsody”
It’s not easy doing a Queen cover, especially when it’s an iconic song.
But Panic at the Disco more than pulled it off.
The group performed via satellite from Sydney, Australia.
The performance was introduced by Rami Malek, Joseph Mazzello, and Gwilym Lee, who star in the upcoming film “Bohemian Rhapsody.”
Cardi B, J Balvin and Bad Bunny’s “I Like It Like That”
Welcome back, Cardi B!
The new mother gave fans plenty to like with a tropical themed rendition of her hit song.
It was her first awards show performance since the July birth of her daughter with husband Offset, Kulture Kiari Cephus.
Mariah Carey debuts new song “With You”
When you are a diva who has been in the game for a minute, you don’t need to dance around.
Wearing a pink gown and surrounded by the same color, Carey gave notes, not moves.
Ella Mai is all “Boo’d Up”
Newcomer Mai has a hit with her new single.
That was made obvious the crowd’s reaction to the English singer/songwriter as they jammed to her performance.
Jennifer Lopez brings the power with “Limitless”
J-Lo did double duty, both singing and reminding us that she’s also an actress.
She sang “Limitless,” from her forthcoming movie, “Second Act.”
Lopez began with a poem by writer Jasmi Kuar, which read: “Scream so that one day a hundred years from now another sister will not have to dry her tears wondering where in history she lost her voice.”
The performance evoked the power of women, and her backup dancers accentuated the song’s lyrics, “I am here to stay.”
Camilla Cabello has “Consequences”
The former Fifth Harmony singer brought in an orchestra to perform her single, “Consequences.”
It was good night for Cabello, who also took home awards for favorite new artist of the year and favorite pop/rock song for “Havana,” featuring Young Thug.