Taylor Swift’s fans voted her the top award at the American Music Awards in Los Angeles on Sunday. She won a total of four awards, dominating the stage along with Justin Timberlake, who won three. Katy Perry and Miley Cyrus were not nominated for awards, but they did perform during the ceremony.
Perry opened the show with a performance of “Unconditionally,” in a costume that combined Japanese and Chinese elements. Some viewers felt her routine implied that Asia is a single country. Cyrus’s performance featured a large image of a kitten, a reference to digital culture that Lindsey Weber and Jesse David Fox write was remarkably self-aware:
“Let’s give them something to talk about” is what we can only assume Miley Cyrus sings to herself in the mirror every night before brushing her tongue. Again she nailed it, but this time in a completely above-aboard, pretty-damn-clever way. Miley’s AMA’s performance subverted her months spent promoting her new album exclusively through Internet chatter, as if to say, “All my controversy was just another meme like a cat singing and crying diamonds.” Every audience can appreciate an appropriation of feline culture.
Another performance was T.L.C., which a nostalgic Veronica Toney found disappointing:
TLC truly represented the ’90s. The music. The girl power. T.L.C. M.T.B. We’ve been living in the warm nostalgia of “What About Your Friends,” “Creep,” “No Scrubs” and “Waterfalls” for the last month, so when it was announced that TLC would take the stage at Sunday’s American Music Awards with a special guest there was hope, anticipation and even a bit of excitement. . . .
The performance brought a mixture of depression and confusion: Would a medley have been a better choice? Why didn’t they just present like at the MTV VMAs? How are Chilli’s abs still so amazing? Would I be so sad if they had performed the new song, “Meant to Be”? How quickly can I YouTube the music video and forget this ever happened?
A full list of winners is here. See the musicians’ outfits on the red carpet in the gallery below.