Taylor Swift won her third consecutive Artist of the Year prize at the American Music Awards, but she missed the show for a good reason: She said that she is busy rerecording her early music after her catalog was sold.
In a video that aired at Sunday’s awards show, the pop star said “the reason I’m not there tonight is I’m actually rerecording all of my old music in the studio where we originally recorded it. So it’s been amazing, and I can’t wait for you to hear it.”
Last year music manager Scooter Braun — who manages Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande — announced that his Ithaca Holdings company had acquired Big Machine Label Group, the home to Swift’s first six albums.
Photo:AFP / Courtesy of ABC
This month, Braun said that he has sold the master rights to Swift’s first six albums to an investment company.
Swift acknowledged the sale on social media and said that she would not work with the new buyers because Braun was still involved.
Instead, she headed back to the studio.
Photo:AFP / Courtesy of ABC
Swift beat out Bieber, Post Malone and Roddy Ricch to win the top award. She also won Favorite Music Video and Favorite Pop/Rock Female Artist, winning three honors and tying Bieber, Dan + Shay and the Weeknd for the most wins.
The Weeknd lost Artist of the Year, but he still began his all-star week as a big winner: Days before he is expected to land multiple Grammy nominations, he won Favorite Soul/R&B Male Artist, Favorite Soul/R&B Album for After Hours and Favorite Soul/R&B Song for Heartless.
“The last time I received this award it was given to me by the late, great Prince, and, you know, he’s the reason I get to constantly challenge the genre of R&B and yeah, I’d like to dedicate this to him,” he said after winning Favorite Soul/R&B Album.
Photo:AFP / Courtesy of ABC
The Weeknd did not break character throughout the three-hour show with his gauze-wrapped face, which matched the vibe of his recent album and music videos where he appears bloodied and bruised. He accepted his awards and performed with his face wrapped in gauze.
Kenny G joined the Weeknd for his performance, playing the sax in downtown Los Angeles as the Weeknd walked across a bridge singing In Your Eyes. He finished the performance singing Save Your Tears.
The Weeknd was one of several artists who appeared live at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles for the fan-voted awards show.
Others recently taped their performances because of the COVID-19 pandemic, although host Taraji P. Henson — who appeared live from the venue — said the few audience members sitting in the mezzanine practiced social distancing, wore masks and were tested for the virus.
Henson joked that A-list celebrities were in the audience, including Beyonce, although cardboard cutouts of Jay-Z and other stars appeared in seats.
Yet a good number of chart-toppers were in the building. Breakthrough singer-rapper Doja Cat performed and won New Artist of the Year and Favorite Soul/R&B Female Artist.
Grammy-winning country duo Dan + Shay beautifully performed I Should Probably Go to Bed and won Favorite Country Duo or Group, Collaboration of the Year and Favorite Country Song for 10,000 Hours, the latter two shared with Bieber.
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