During one of the hottest nights in music — the American Music Awards Sunday, Nov. 23 at the Nokia Theatre L.A. Live in Los Angeles — I was given the chance to sit next to artists such as Bastille, Imagine Dragons and 5 Seconds of Summer and attend the show as a seatfiller through the company Audiences Unlimited.
The AMAs were created in 1973 by Dick Clark after the ABC network lost its rights to broadcast the Grammys.
This year’s award show was hosted by Latin Rapper Pitbull and had exhilarating performances such as Imagine Dragon’s debut of “I Bet My Life,” as well as Sam Smith’s soulful rendition of his chart topping single “I Know I’m Not the Only One.”
The show opened with a magical live performance of “Blank Space” by Taylor Swift, which began with an elegant dinner scene and took its turn when Swift poisoned her dinner date.
Overall the performance was a bit over the top but nonetheless entertaining and filled with fire and a series of background dancers. It ended with Swift opening the door to reveal a mystery date unaware of what is to come.
Swift was awarded the Inaugural Dick Clark Award for Excellence by international success Diana Ross, formerly of The Supremes.
Although called the American Music Awards, international artists dominated each category and shined.
Some of the most interesting parts of the evening happened off-camera during the commercial breaks, including a bizarre performance of “Little Apple” by the Chopsticks Brothers that was broadcast live to China. The act included bearded males dressed as mermaids, and the song won the International Song Award.
The next commercial break brought another award for Chinese Mandopop singer Jason Zhang, also known as Zhang Jie. He is the first Chinese artist to receive the honor for Best International Artist, and his acceptance was filled with an awkward but genuinely excited speech. However it was confusing as to why he chose to accept the award in English when that part of the show was only being broadcast to China.
The night ended with a performance of Iggy Azalea and Jennifer Lopez’s hit single “Booty.” ABC executives, worried about just how much of their assets the duo might expose, aired it on a three-to-four-second delay. Fortunately, the performance was extravagantly choreographed while also being able to emphasize her famous body part without the need for censored interference.