At tonight’s American Music Awards, the fans voted, the host danced, and there were plenty of moments that you’ll hear about tomorrow morning. Even though Tracee Ellis Ross nearly stole the show, the other A-listers were out in full force — we’re talking all of the pop divas as well as 2018’s biggest breakout stars.
VIDEO: Every Head-Turning Look from the American Music Awards Red Carpet
Here’s what you missed, and what’s sure to make headlines.
Cardi B. Makes her AMAs Debut
Cardi was nominated for eight awards tonight, tying her with Drake as the most-nominated artist. It was a great way to remind fans that she’s more than just someone who gets into bar brawls and starts beef with Nicki Minaj. From her over-the-top red carpet floral look (complete with matching shoes) to her performance of “I Like It,” she gave viewers plenty to love — and no misdemeanors this time around. Instead of a mark on her record, she took home the first award of the night: Favorite Artist – Rap/Hip-Hop.
The Butterfly Returns
Mariah Carey performed at the AMAs for the first time since 2008. And while it’s been a decade since Mimi graced this particular stage, she brought the all glitz and glam that she’s built her career on — not to mention those amazing pipes. Carey performed a new song, “With You,” but critics were ready to accuse her of lip synching. Whether or not she had a little backup help, one thing was true: she put on a show.
Billy Eichner and Kathryn Hahn Make a PSA
Before they handed out the award for the year’s Favorite Adult Contemporary Artist, Billy Eichner and Kathryn Hahn made a plea to viewers: vote. Eichner mentioned Taylor Swift, telling everyone who tuned in that they should take some notes from the singer. “Go to Vote.org like Taylor Swift told you to,” he said before handing a trophy to Shawn Mendes.
Jennifer Lopez stole the red carpet with her neon pink dress, which included an airy sheer cape. But she wasn’t the only caped celeb tonight. Tracee Ellis Ross, who played host for the second time, wore a Gucci cape for her opening performance, which included choreography to some of the year’s biggest hits, including “Bodak Yellow,” Childish Gambino’s “This Is America,” Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s “APESHIT,” Aretha Franklin’s “Respect,” Bruno Mars’ “Uptown Funk,” and Beyoncé’s “Run the World.”
Oh Yeah, Karyn Made an Appearance
Taylor Swift brought her best friend to the show. No, it wasn’t a Victoria’s Secret Angel, Selena Gomez, or any of her other pals. It was Karyn, her stage snake. The cobra appeared during Swift’s performance of “I Did Something Bad.” Fans might recognize Karyn from all of the social media attention she commands during Swift’s reputation tour, but now that the snake’s made it to Twitter’s trending hashtags, she’s a bonafide star in her own right.
Swift’s Continuing Crusade
Taylor Swift had a busy night. She collected an award for Artist of the Year (in addition to another one for Favorite Album – Pop/Rock), making her the most-awarded female artist at the AMAs, ever. But she used her acceptance speech to stump. Swift doubled down on her politics, telling viewers that if they had enough time to vote for her, they could do the same on November 6.
“And you know what else is voted on by the people…” she said. “Is the midterm elections on November 6th. Get out and vote.”
Earlier this week, Swift made her political stance known. After years of staying quiet about voting, candidates, and her own voting, she released a statement supporting Democrat Phil Bredesen and imploring her fans to get out and vote.
“Please, please educate yourself on the candidates running in your state and vote based on who most closely represents your values,” she said. “Go to vote.org and you can find all the info. Happy Voting!”
XXXTentacion’s Winning Moment
XXXTentacion won for Best R&B Soul Album for 17 and his mother accepted the award in his honor. The singer passed away earlier this year and E! reports that the singer actually got more popular after his death. It was a touching moment and fans rallied around his mother’s strength.
“Since his death, more than 4.5 million copies of his records have been sold, while he also received major award nominations for the first time; two posthumous 2018 American Music Awards nods, for New Artist of the Year and Favorite Album – Soul/R&B for 17, his debut album” the site reports.