The dust is still settling from the explosive 2018 American Music Awards and the fans have spoken to crown a new crop of winners. Memorable events from the extraordinary evening are still lingering in our minds. So, in case you couldn’t attend or watch ABC’s live broadcast of the ceremony, or if you just want to relive some AMA magic, we’ve put together a list of our picks for the five greatest moments from the 2018 American Music Awards.
5. Panic! At the Disco smashed their “Bohemian Rhapsody” cover
Rock fans across the globe may wage a strong argument that “Bohemian Rhapsody” is one of the greatest songs across all genres in music history, especially as excitement continues to build for the Queen biopic which premieres in London at SSE Arena, Wembley on Oct. 23 (Tickets) and hits theaters in the U.S. on Oct. 24.
The film stars Rami Malek as late, great frontman Freddie Mercury. That’s why it was extra-special when Malek and his “Bohemian Rhapsody” co-stars Joe Mazzello (who plays John Deacon) and Gwilym Lee (who plays Brian May) hit the AMAs stage at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles to introduce Panic! At the Disco (namely frontman Brendon Urie), who rocked an epic cover of the song which shares the film’s title via satellite from a sold-out live show in Sydney, Australia.
Urie simply nailed the song and all its glorious shifts in style and tone. He soared to the critical falsetto peaks and dug down deep into his soul to tap into the revered rock opera’s dark and desperate core. It was breathtaking.
4. Twenty One Pilots lit up the stage with “Jumpsuit” performance
Hot on the heels of the Oct. 5 release of their fifth studio album Trench, Twenty One Pilots literally and figuratively lit up the stage with their electrifying performance of “Jumpsuit.” The band commanded the stage and the AMA audience while belting the album’s ferocious lead single. The backdrop eventually collapsed to unveil wicked pyrotechnics and a car engulfed in flames. Overall, the live “Jumpsuit” performance was a sonic and visual scorcher.
3. The voting message was loud and clear at the AMAs
In the days leading up to the 2018 American Music Awards, Taylor Swift made a rare political statement on social media, urging everyone to vote in the upcoming midterm elections. Other celebs carried her message forward to the AMAs, with host Tracee Ellis Ross sporting an “I Am a Voter” t-shirt, to presenter Billy Eichner’s impassioned plea before he handed out the Favorite Adult Contemporary Artist award to Shawn Mendes.
Eichner said, “Please grab your friends and tell them to vote. Now is the time. If you believe in equality for women, for people of color, for the LGBTQ community. If you believe that climate change is real and that we need to do something about it,” adding “And you can go to Vote.org like Taylor Swift told you to.”
Swift raised her voice again for the cause at the end of her moving Artist of the Year acceptance speech saying, “This award and every single award given out tonight were voted on by the people, and you know what else is voted on by the people is the midterm elections on Nov. 6. Get out and vote. I love you guys!”
2. Girl power ruled the night and Cardi B sent a message to her naysayers
There were so many strong female performances and impressive wins this year that it’s safe to say female artists proved they have nothing to prove to anyone who thinks women in the music industry need to step up in any way. From Taylor Swift’s fierce “I Did Something Bad” opener to expectant mother Carrie Underwood’s vulnerable “Spinning Bottles” performance to Cardi B’s incredible Bad Bunny, J Balvin collab delivery of “I Like It,” J-Lo’s off-the-chain performance of her empowering song “Limitless” and Camila Cabello’s ethereal, standing ovation-garnering “Consequences” performance, Girl Power was in full force at the 2018 AMAs.
Cardi B kicked off the awards portion of the night by being the first artist to receive an award. She won Favorite Artist – Rap/Hip-Hop and dedicated it to her baby daughter Kulture and checked her naysayers in her acceptance speech. She said, “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 got to do this, I got to show people wrong. I got to prove people wrong.' Because they said I wasn't going to make it after I had a baby."
1. Taylor Swift made history sweeping four major categories, including Artist of the Year
Swifties crowned their favorite artist 2018 AMA Queen, as Taylor Swift took home four huge awards for Tour of the Year, Favorite Female Artist – Pop/Rock, Favorite Album Pop/Rock for reputation and the night’s biggest award, Artist of the Year. Swift’s latest wins bring her career AMA total to 23 victories, which is the most AMA wins by a female artist in music history. Her sixth studio album may arguably be the “Delicate” singer’s most vulnerable, as it candidly examines her life in the spotlight and how her public persona and reputation affect her and her relationships.
She was poised and humble in all her acceptance speeches, thanking her fans above all else, for embracing her work and their continued love and support. She also teased an exciting future saying, “Guys, I always look at albums as chapters in my life, and to the fans, I am so happy that you liked this one, I'm so happy that this means that you liked this one. But I have to be really honest with you about something, I'm even more excited about the next chapter." So are we!