American Music Awards: Taylor Swift beats Michael Jackson’s record
Going into the American Music Awards, Taylor Swift became embroiled in a feud with her former record label over whether she had the right to play her old hits.
In the end, she did get to perform songs like Blank Space and Love Story, while making a subtle nod to the spat.
The star took to the stage in a prison-style white shirt, stencilled with the names of the six albums her old label owns, and sang The Man: A song about women’s struggle to be taken seriously in the music industry.
But the moment passed quickly; and Swift shed the outfit to reveal a more characteristic gold sequinned one-piece outfit, before launching into a 13-minute medley of her biggest songs.
She was joined by Camila Cabello and Halsey to duet on an energetic performance of Shake It Off, and ended behind a pink piano, playing her recent single Lover as ballet dancers Misty Copeland and Craig Hall pirouetted in front of her.
After standing for applause, Swift was presented with the Artist of the Decade award by legendary singer-songwriter Carole King, whose hits include I Feel The Earth Move and (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman.
King commended Swift for the strength of her lyrics, and the relatability of her music before predicting: “The best is yet to come.”
In turn, Swift acknowledged the impact King’s music had had on her parents and her family, saying it was every musician’s goal “to create something that will last”.
Addressing her fans, Swift continued: “This is an award that celebrates a decade of hard work and of art and of fun and memories, all that matters to me is the memories that I’ve had with you guys, with you the fans, over the years.
“We’ve had fun, incredible, exhilarating, extraordinary times together and may it continue.”
The career-spanning honour wasn’t Swift’s only award at the ceremony – she picked up another five competitive awards, including artist of the year.
That brings her total tally of AMA trophies to 29 – breaking a record held by Michael Jackson, who received 24 American Music Awards.
But the show, held at LA’s Microsoft Theater, wasn’t just about Swift.
Billie Eilish made her award show debut, surrounded by pyrotechnics as she performed the brooding All The Good Girls Go To Hell.
The 17-year-old went on to win two prizes – best new artist and favourite alternative rock artist, the latter of which seemed to take her by surprise.
“I’m shaking,” she told the audience, holding a half-sucked lollipop in her left hand. “To even be mentioned in this category is insane to me.
“I grew up being in love with all of you – everybody in this row, everybody in that row, everybody in this room. And the fact you guys are looking at me right now? That’s crazy!”