British boy band One Direction was a big winner at the 2014 ceremony, taking home both the artist of the year award and the trophy for favorite pop/rock band, duo or group.
Australian rapper Iggy Azalea, who walked into the ceremony as the lead nominee with six nods, also won two awards on Sunday, including the favorite rap/hip-hop album honor.
“This award is the first award I’ve ever won in my entire life, and it means so much to me that it is for best hip-hop because that’s what inspired me to move to America and pursue my dreams, and it’s what helped me when I was a teenager to escape and to get through my life and to better times,” Azalea told the audience while accepting her trophy.
Meanwhile, soulful British singer Sam Smith, who showcased his pipes during Sunday’s ceremony, was awarded the favorite pop/rock male artist trophy.
That’s not to say that homegrown artists were left out in the cold: Katy Perry, Beyonce and country stars like Luke Bryan also got their due.
But some stars shone brighter than others during what wound up being a rather tame affair. Once the AMAs were all said and done, here’s who left everyone talking:
1. Taylor Swift — and Diana Ross
Talk about star power. On Sunday, music’s reigning pop princess, Taylor Swift, received the Dick Clark Award of Excellence from none other than Diana Ross.
Swift, being the smart young woman she is, recognized the importance of having the trailblazer there, and honored Ross in her acceptance speech.
“I’m just so blown away to have just received an award from Diana Ross, who over the course of her career stood up for herself so many times in a time when it was not popular for a woman to stand up for herself,” she said. “I’m so honored.”
Swift, who performed her single “Blank Space” on Sunday, also thanked her fans for pushing sales of her new album “1989” well past one million. The album is not available on the streaming service Spotify, and during her speech for her Dick Clark award, Swift appeared to be sticking to her guns.
“What you did by going out and investing in music and albums is you’re saying that you believe in the same thing that I believe in, that music is valuable and should be consumed in albums, and albums should be consumed as art and appreciated,” Swift said.
2. Jennifer Lopez
Jennifer Lopez promised to perform her single “Booty” at the AMAs, and the singer/actress gave a set for the ages.
Iggy Azalea was there, too, but even she admitted that J. Lo (and her flexibility) stole the show.
Between her dance moves, outfit changes and very evident fitness, Lopez’s routine was the ultimate mic drop.
3. Selena Gomez
Selena Gomez is known for elaborate dance numbers, too, but on Sunday she dialed it way back with an emotional performance of her single, “The Heart Wants What it Wants.”
The slow-tempo track has lyrics that speak of an uncertain future, and the “million reasons” why she should give a certain someone up.
Considering the on-again, off-again relationship Gomez has had with Justin Bieber, it isn’t a stretch to imagine that this song could very well be inspired by the Canadian pop star.
“More than anything, I’m just excited that people everywhere that are feeling what I feel and feel that, will get to see that,” Gomez said on Instagram before her set. “I just want people to be able to relate to that.”
It’s been a while since we’ve seen Fergie take the stage, but the new mom returned in style at Sunday’s American Music Awards. With an introduction from husband Josh Duhamel, Fergie hit her marks with her single “L.A. Love.”
The one snag? Fergie had a minor wardrobe malfunction at the end of her performance. When she tried to suavely remove the jacket she was wearing, the clothing item ended up getting stuck to her rear for a beat before she could snatch it all the way off.
The best thing about a Lorde performance is that it’s always going to be uniquely her own.
The teen singer took the stage to perform “Yellow Flicker Beat” from “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1” soundtrack, and she completely rocked out, even beginning her set in a box.
Nothing precious or self-conscious here.
6. Nicki Minaj, Jessie J and Ariana Grande
This trio turned in a golden rendition of their hit “Bang, Bang.” Jessie J started the set in the audience, getting the crowd moving for what was a dance-filled performance.
Their routine was all the more impressive given that Grande had already blown the audience away with remixed versions of her singles “Problem” and “Break Free.”
As far as who took home actual trophies, here’s the list of 2014 winners:
Artist of the year: One Direction
New artist of the year: 5 Seconds of Summer
Single of the year: “Dark Horse,” Katy Perry feat. Juicy J
Dick Clark Award of Excellence: Taylor Swift
Favorite male artist — pop/rock: Sam Smith
Favorite female artist — pop/rock: Katy Perry
Favorite band, duo or group — pop/rock: One Direction
Favorite album — pop/rock: “Midnight Memories,” One Directio
Favorite male artist — country: Luke Bryan
Favorite female artist — country: Carrie Underwood
Favorite band, duo or group — country: Florida Georgia Line
Favorite album — country: “Just As I Am,” Brantley Gilbert
Favorite artist — rap/hip-hop: Iggy Azalea
Favorite album — rap/hip-hop: “The New Classic,” Iggy Azalea
Favorite male artist — soul/R&B: John Legend
Favorite female artist — soul/R&B: Beyonce
Favorite album — soul/R&B: Beyonce
Favorite artist — adult contemporary: Katy Perry
Favorite artist — contemporary inspirational: Casting Crowns
Favorite artist — electronic dance music: Calvin Harris
Favorite artist — Latin: Enrique Iglesias
Favorite soundtrack: “Frozen”