2020 American Music Awards

Riley Daniels, Staffer

On Nov. 22, The American Music Awards took place live at Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. The American Music Awards is an annual show recognizing the most popular artists and albums of the year. On Oct. 26, the nominees were announced, chosen by streaming, album and digital song sales, radio airplay, social airplay and touring numbers. Billboard, an entertainment media brand consisting of an online database, elects the nominees. Six days later, actress Taraji P. Henso was announced as the host for the show. 

Due to COVID restrictions, only a small audience of invited guests were present, having glimpses of screen time throughout the show. Although the show’s main purpose is giving recognition to artists, many fans love the show because of its performances. Attendees/viewers expected prerecorded performances, but the show actually had all artists live on stage performing. 

Starting off the show, Justin Bieber performed “Lonely” with Benny Blanco on the piano. Bieber also performed “Monster,” a new release with Bieber and Shawn Mendes. Elected as a nominee for “Artist of the Year,” The Weeknd lit up downtown Los Angeles with “In Your Eyes,” featuring legendary saxophonist Kenny G accompanied by a brilliant firework display. Reaching number two on Billboard Top 100, Billie Eilish performed “Therefore I Am” with her brother and producer, Finneas. Then came Lewis Capaldi. Capaldi performed “Before You Go,” his second most streamed song recently hitting 700 million plays on Spotify. Later in the night, Lil Baby performed “Emotionally Scared,” informing his fans about the importance of their mental health. Lastly, possibly the biggest performance of the night, 24kGoldn performed the top chart song “Mood” featuring Iann Dior. The song was the top song on Billboard Top 100 for 16 weeks straight. 

Every year, many artists leave as winners while others leave as losers. The Weeknd, Dan + Shay, Bieber and Taylor Swift were big winners of the event, all going home with three awards, tied for the most received. Swift won Favorite Music Video for her song “cardigan,” Favorite Female Pop/Rock Artist and the biggest award of the show, Artist of the Year. The Weeknd won Favorite Soul/R&B Male Artist, Favorite Soul/R&B Album and Favorite Soul/R&B Song. Bieber won three awards, but two were as a featured artist on “10,000 Hours” by Dan+Shay. His only solo award was Favorite Male Pop/Rock Artist. Dan+Shay won Favorite Country Group, Collaboration of the Year and Favorite Country Song for “10,000 Hours” featuring Bieber. Roddy Ricch, Dababy and Post Malone were all “losers”, having a cumulative 15 nominations, but only one award. Ricch was nominated for eight, and won Favorite Rap/Hip Hop Album for “Please Excuse Me For Being Antisocial.” Dababy was nominated for four awards and Post Malone for three awards, both leaving with nothing. 

Another reason for the millions of viewers is the presenters of the awards. Every year, famous celebrities and artists are chosen to present the awards to the artists. This year, the list consisted of Megan Fox, G-Eazy, Paris Hilton and David Dobrik.

The show only received 4 million viewers, a 40 percent dropoff from the year prior. This is partly because of a lack of audience members, but also other popular channels were on such as NBC Sunday Night Football. Although the show didn’t receive as many views as normal, the 2020 American Music Awards still received plenty of attention for music listeners around the world.