Taylor, One Direction lead AMA wins

SOUNDS FAMILIAR - Baby A. Gil - The Philippine Star

Surprise! Taylor Swift did not show up. The top nominee — she got six nods — in the 2015 American Music Awards (AMAs), who has enlivened many an awards show in the past with her presence, was noticeably absent last Sunday evening, Nov. 22 at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. 

Has Swift decided to cut down on her socializing? Remember she was also not present at the MTV European Music Awards held some weeks ago in Italy. Or is she having so much fun just chilling around with her boyfriend, the hunky EDM wiz Calvin Harris, that awards nights do not matter anymore.

But no matter. Give the girl a break. Besides, it was still Swift who got the most number of trophies, three wins out of six nominations. Not that her absence affected the show either.  The AMAs served up a generous helping of great performances this year. Truth to tell, save for a few “why on earth” situations, it was one of its most entertaining, albeit predictable, presentations ever.

Top “why on earth” of the evening was Meghan Trainor and Charlie Puth carried away by their song Marvin Gaye. The two ended the number with an intense kiss that carried over to the commercials. Get a room guys. 

Another one was Nick Jonas interrupting his song for a few seconds of drumming. What for? To show off that he could play the drums? 

As for being predictable, aside from Swift’s wins, One Direction romped off with the Artist of the Year Award for the second year in a row and the Pop/Rock Favorite Duo or Group for the third time. Justin Bieber, who was not nominated in the Pop/Rock category, did not seem to be affected at all that the Brit Boys won this round. His album Purpose upped One Direction’s Made In The A.M. in the charts and he got to close the AMAs with a rousing medley of his latest hits, What Do You Mean? Sorry and the Collaboration of the Year winner, Where Are You Now?

While having Bieber and One Direction in one show was a teenager’s dream come true, it was really the girls who were fabulous at the AMAs. This year’s opener was assigned to host Jennifer Lopez, who looking more gorgeous than ever as she did a Vegas-style medley of this year’s big hits. Arianna Grande, again in her trademark white, high-heeled pumps and extensive vocal histrionics, went cabaret with her Focus. An emotional Gwen Stefani sang her new single titled I Used To Love You. Was she referring to her ex-husband Gavin Rossdale?

The real belle of the evening though was Demi Lovato who looked and sounded fantastic with her rendition of her latest hit, Confident. That was what she really was and the audience agreed by giving her a standing ovation. I love how Lovato has matured from problematic Disney princess into a real star. She seems to have found her right look and style. There is no mistaking her for anybody else anymore.

But of course, it was Celine Dion who brought on the most touching moment with a tribute to the fallen in the recent Paris terrorist attack. Introduced by Jared Leto who hoped that “peace is possible,” the diva from Quebec sang one of France’s most beloved melodies, Edith Piaf’s Hymne a L’Amour while images of beautiful Paris flashed on the screen.

And before I forget. Harrison Ford turned up, too. What was he doing at the AMAs? Pitching for the upcoming Star Wars: The Force Awakens movie. Nobody thought of creating a Star Wars theme song in any of the past six films of the series. But Star Wars has a lot of familiar melodies created by John Williams that can be sung a cappella. And that was what happened with the extraordinary voices of Pentatonix.

Here now is the complete list of the 2015 American Music Awards winners.

Artist of the Year — One Direction

New Artist of the Year Presented by Kohl’s — Sam Hunt

Song of the Year — Taylor Swift, Blank Space

Collaboration of the Year Un-Leashed by T-Mobile — Skrillex & Diplo feat. Justin Bieber, Where Are U Now

Pop/Rock Favorite — Male Artist: Ed Sheeran; Female Artist: Ariana Grande; Duo or Group: One Direction; Album: Taylor Swift, 1989

Country Favorite — Male Artist: Luke Bryan; Female Artist: Carrie Underwood; Duo or Group: Florida Georgia Line; Album: Florida Georgia Line, Anything Goes

Rap/ Hip Hop Favorite Artist — Nicki Minaj; Album

Soul/R&B Favorite — Male Artist: The Weeknd; Female Artist: Rihanna; Album: The Weeknd, Beauty Behind the Madness

Alternative Rock Favorite — Fall Out Boy

Adult Contemporary Artist — Taylor Swift

Latin Favorite Artist — Enrique Iglesias

Contemporary Inspirational Favorite Artist — Casting Crowns

EDM Favorite Artist — Calvin Harris

Top Soundtrack — Pitch Perfect 2

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