Swift wins top prize at AMAs, says she's re-recording music

In this screen shot provided by ABC on Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020, Taylor Swift accepts the award for artist of the year at the American Music Awards at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. (ABC via AP)
In this screen shot provided by ABC on Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020, Taylor Swift accepts the award for artist of the year at the American Music Awards at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. (ABC via AP)

Credit: Uncredited

Credit: Uncredited

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 she’s busy re-recording her songs’ masters after her catalog was sold

NEW YORK (AP) — 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 she's busy re-recording her early music after her catalog was sold.

In a video that aired during Sunday's awards show, the pop star said “the reason I’m not there tonight is I’m actually re-recording 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. This month Braun said 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 she would not work with the new buyers because Braun was still involved.

Instead, she headed back to the studio.

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 most wins Sunday.

The Weeknd lost artist of the year, but he still kicked off his all-star week as a big winner: Days before he’s 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” two days before the 2021 Grammy nominations are announced.

“The last time I received this award it was given to me by the late, great Prince," he said after winning favorite soul/R&B album. “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."

The Weeknd didn’t 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 blooded 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 coronavirus pandemic, though 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 Beyoncé, though cardboard cut-out of the singer, Jay-Z and other stars appeared in seats.

But 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. And Megan Thee Stallion — won favorite rap/hip-hop songs for “WAP" with Cardi B — performed “Body" from her recently released debut album “Good News."

Bieber and Shawn Mendes kicked off the AMAs with a pre-taped performance of their new duet “Monster," marking the first time they performed the song together. It began with a stripped-down Bieber singing his recent hit “Lonely," with songwriter-producer Benny Blanco on piano, and “Holy," where background dancers wearing masks joined him.

Mendes, strumming his guitar, then appeared for “Monster," which featured the twentysomethings singing lyrics about about fame and growing up as celebrities who attracted massive public attention. Mendes later sang his song “Wonder" during the show, which aired on ABC.

Katy Perry, in her first performance since giving birth to her first child, gave a strong performance of the emotional and hopeful song “Only Love,” which featured a surprise guest appearance from Darius Rucker, who sang and played guitar. With flaming red lights glaring behind her, Billie Eilish sang her new song “Therefore I Am,” as her brother-songwriter-producer Finneas backed her on guitar. Jennifer Lopez and Maluma teamed up to perform their new songs “Pa’ Ti” and “Lonely” from the film “Marry Me,” which both of them star in, while Dua Lipa — who won favorite pop/rock song — floated in the air during her performance of “Levitating.”

24kGoldn and Iann Dior — who currently have the country's No. 1 song with the smash hit “Mood," also performed. The multi-genre track is the rare song that has reached No. 1 on both the rap and rock charts.

Other performers included BTS, Lewis Capaldi, Machine Gun Kelly, Lil Baby, Bell Biv DeVoe and Nelly, who performed hits from his diamond-certified debut album “Country Grammar," which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year.

This year the AMAs, which typically awards one Latin honor, launched more categories in the genre. Becky G — who burst on the music scene in 2014 with the pop hit “Shower" but has recently had success singing in Spanish and launching hits on the Latin charts — won favorite Latin female artist.

She used her speech to honor immigrant families.

“I proudly wave both flags, Mexican and American. And like many, many children and grandchildren of immigrants, no matter where they’re from, we have learned from the ones before us what sacrifice and hard work looks like," she said. “And I dedicate this award to all of our immigrant workers in this pandemic; the students and immigrant families. It’s because of my family, my abuelitos, that I stand here today."

Nominees for the AMAs were based on streaming, album and digital sales, radio airplay and social activity, and reflect the time period of Sept. 27, 2019, through Sept. 24, 2020.

The Weeknd accepts the award for favorite soul R&B song for "Heartless" at the American Music Awards on Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020, at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)
The Weeknd accepts the award for favorite soul R&B song for "Heartless" at the American Music Awards on Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020, at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

Credit: Chris Pizzello

Credit: Chris Pizzello

The Weeknd accepts the award for favorite soul/R&B album for "After Hours" at the American Music Awards on Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020, at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)
The Weeknd accepts the award for favorite soul/R&B album for "After Hours" at the American Music Awards on Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020, at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

Credit: Chris Pizzello

Credit: Chris Pizzello

The Weeknd accepts the award for favorite soul R&B song for "Heartless" at the American Music Awards on Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020, at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)
The Weeknd accepts the award for favorite soul R&B song for "Heartless" at the American Music Awards on Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020, at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

Credit: Chris Pizzello

Credit: Chris Pizzello

In this screen shot provided by ABC on Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020, The Weeknd performs for the American Music Awards at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. (ABC via AP)
In this screen shot provided by ABC on Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020, The Weeknd performs for the American Music Awards at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. (ABC via AP)

Credit: Uncredited

Credit: Uncredited

In this screen shot provided by ABC on Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020, Justin Bieber performs at the American Music Awards at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. (ABC via AP)
In this screen shot provided by ABC on Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020, Justin Bieber performs at the American Music Awards at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. (ABC via AP)

Credit: Uncredited

Credit: Uncredited

In this screen shot provided by ABC on Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020, Justin Bieber performs at the American Music Awards at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. (ABC via AP)
In this screen shot provided by ABC on Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020, Justin Bieber performs at the American Music Awards at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. (ABC via AP)

Credit: Uncredited

Credit: Uncredited

In this screen shot provided by ABC on Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020, Justin Bieber performs at the American Music Awards at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. (ABC via AP)
In this screen shot provided by ABC on Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020, Justin Bieber performs at the American Music Awards at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. (ABC via AP)

Credit: Uncredited

Credit: Uncredited

In this screen shot provided by ABC on Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020, Shawn Mendes performs at the American Music Awards at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. (ABC via AP)
In this screen shot provided by ABC on Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020, Shawn Mendes performs at the American Music Awards at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. (ABC via AP)

Credit: Uncredited

Credit: Uncredited

In this screen shot provided by ABC on Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020, Shawn Mendes performs “Wonder” at the American Music Awards at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. (ABC via AP)
In this screen shot provided by ABC on Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020, Shawn Mendes performs “Wonder” at the American Music Awards at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. (ABC via AP)

Credit: Uncredited

Credit: Uncredited

Doja Cat accepts the award for favorite female soul/R&B artist at the American Music Awards on Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020, at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)
Doja Cat accepts the award for favorite female soul/R&B artist at the American Music Awards on Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020, at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

Credit: Chris Pizzello

Credit: Chris Pizzello

In this screen shot provided by ABC on Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020, Doja Cat accepts the award for new artist of the year at the American Music Awards at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. (ABC via AP)
In this screen shot provided by ABC on Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020, Doja Cat accepts the award for new artist of the year at the American Music Awards at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. (ABC via AP)

Credit: Uncredited

Credit: Uncredited

Host Taraji P. Henson is seen at the American Music Awards on Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020, at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)
Host Taraji P. Henson is seen at the American Music Awards on Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020, at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

Credit: Chris Pizzello

Credit: Chris Pizzello

In this screen shot provided by ABC on Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020, Dua Lipa performs “Levitating” at the American Music Awards at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. (ABC via AP)
In this screen shot provided by ABC on Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020, Dua Lipa performs “Levitating” at the American Music Awards at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. (ABC via AP)

Credit: Uncredited

Credit: Uncredited

In this screen shot provided by ABC on Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020, BTS accepts the award for favorite pop/rock duo or group at the American Music Awards at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. (ABC via AP)
In this screen shot provided by ABC on Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020, BTS accepts the award for favorite pop/rock duo or group at the American Music Awards at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. (ABC via AP)

Credit: Uncredited

Credit: Uncredited

In this screen shot provided by ABC on Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020, 24KGOLDN, left, and Iann Dior perform “Mood”at the American Music Awards at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. (ABC via AP)
In this screen shot provided by ABC on Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020, 24KGOLDN, left, and Iann Dior perform “Mood”at the American Music Awards at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. (ABC via AP)

Credit: Uncredited

Credit: Uncredited

Dan Smyers, left, and Shay Mooney, of Dan + Shay, perform "I Should Probably Go to Bed" at the American Music Awards on Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020, at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)
Dan Smyers, left, and Shay Mooney, of Dan + Shay, perform "I Should Probably Go to Bed" at the American Music Awards on Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020, at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

Credit: Chris Pizzello

Credit: Chris Pizzello

Host Taraji P. Henson performs at the American Music Awards on Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020, at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)
Host Taraji P. Henson performs at the American Music Awards on Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020, at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

Credit: Chris Pizzello

Credit: Chris Pizzello

Dan Smyers, left, and Shay Mooney, of Dan + Shay, accept the award for favorite country song for "10,000 Hours" at the American Music Awards on Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020, at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)
Dan Smyers, left, and Shay Mooney, of Dan + Shay, accept the award for favorite country song for "10,000 Hours" at the American Music Awards on Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020, at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

Credit: Chris Pizzello

Credit: Chris Pizzello

Host Taraji P. Henson performs at the American Music Awards on Sunday, Nov. 22, 2019, at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)
Host Taraji P. Henson performs at the American Music Awards on Sunday, Nov. 22, 2019, at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

Credit: Chris Pizzello

Credit: Chris Pizzello

Ciara presents the award for favorite soul/R&B album at the American Music Awards on Sunday, Nov. 22, 2019, at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)
Ciara presents the award for favorite soul/R&B album at the American Music Awards on Sunday, Nov. 22, 2019, at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

Credit: Chris Pizzello

Credit: Chris Pizzello

Host Taraji P. Henson performs at the American Music Awards on Sunday, Nov. 22, 2019, at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)
Host Taraji P. Henson performs at the American Music Awards on Sunday, Nov. 22, 2019, at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

Credit: Chris Pizzello

Credit: Chris Pizzello

In this screen shot provided by ABC on Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020, Billie Eilish performs "Therefore I Am" at the American Music Awards at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. (ABC via AP)
In this screen shot provided by ABC on Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020, Billie Eilish performs "Therefore I Am" at the American Music Awards at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. (ABC via AP)

Credit: Uncredited

Credit: Uncredited

Becky G accepts the award for favorite latin female artist at the American Music Awards on Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020, at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)
Becky G accepts the award for favorite latin female artist at the American Music Awards on Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020, at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

Credit: Chris Pizzello

Credit: Chris Pizzello

Laverne Cox presents the award for favorite rap/hip-hop song at the American Music Awards on Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020, at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)
Laverne Cox presents the award for favorite rap/hip-hop song at the American Music Awards on Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020, at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

Credit: Chris Pizzello

Credit: Chris Pizzello

In this screen shot provided by ABC on Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020, Mauma performs at the American Music Awards at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. (ABC via AP)
In this screen shot provided by ABC on Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020, Mauma performs at the American Music Awards at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. (ABC via AP)

Credit: Uncredited

Credit: Uncredited

In this screen shot provided by ABC on Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020, Bad Bunny presents the award for favorite latin female artist at the American Music Awards at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. (ABC via AP)
In this screen shot provided by ABC on Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020, Bad Bunny presents the award for favorite latin female artist at the American Music Awards at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. (ABC via AP)

Credit: Uncredited

Credit: Uncredited

In this screen shot provided by ABC on Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020,  Mauma, left, and Jennifer Lopez perform at the American Music Awards at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. (ABC via AP)
In this screen shot provided by ABC on Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020, Mauma, left, and Jennifer Lopez perform at the American Music Awards at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. (ABC via AP)

Credit: Uncredited

Credit: Uncredited

In this screen shot provided by ABC on Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020, Nelly performs a medley at the American Music Awards at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. (ABC via AP)
In this screen shot provided by ABC on Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020, Nelly performs a medley at the American Music Awards at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. (ABC via AP)

Credit: Uncredited

Credit: Uncredited

In this screen shot provided by ABC on Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020, Kenny G performs
at the American Music Awards at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. (ABC via AP)
In this screen shot provided by ABC on Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020, Kenny G performs at the American Music Awards at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. (ABC via AP)

Credit: Uncredited

Credit: Uncredited

In this screen shot provided by ABC on Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020, Katy Perry, left, and Darius Rucker perform “Only Love” at the American Music Awards at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. (ABC via AP)
In this screen shot provided by ABC on Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020, Katy Perry, left, and Darius Rucker perform “Only Love” at the American Music Awards at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. (ABC via AP)

Credit: Uncredited

Credit: Uncredited

In this screen shot provided by ABC on Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020, Dua Lipa, center, accepts the award for favorite pop/rock song for "Don't Start Now" at the American Music Awards at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. (ABC via AP)
In this screen shot provided by ABC on Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020, Dua Lipa, center, accepts the award for favorite pop/rock song for "Don't Start Now" at the American Music Awards at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. (ABC via AP)

Credit: Uncredited

Credit: Uncredited

The Weeknd appears on stage to accept the award for favorite male soul/R&B artist at the American Music Awards on Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020, at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)
The Weeknd appears on stage to accept the award for favorite male soul/R&B artist at the American Music Awards on Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020, at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

Credit: Chris Pizzello

Credit: Chris Pizzello

The Weeknd accepts the award for favorite male soul/R&B artist at the American Music Awards on Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020, at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)
The Weeknd accepts the award for favorite male soul/R&B artist at the American Music Awards on Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020, at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

Credit: Chris Pizzello

Credit: Chris Pizzello

Lil Baby performs "Emotionally Scarred" at the American Music Awards on Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020, at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)
Lil Baby performs "Emotionally Scarred" at the American Music Awards on Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020, at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

Credit: Chris Pizzello

Credit: Chris Pizzello

Lil Baby performs "Emotionally Scarred" at the American Music Awards on Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020, at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)
Lil Baby performs "Emotionally Scarred" at the American Music Awards on Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020, at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

Credit: Chris Pizzello

Credit: Chris Pizzello

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