Taylor Swift kicked off the American Music Awards as a mad woman and man eater by feeding a boy a poisonous apple, holding burning roses, and giving crazy eyes during a performance of her song about her dating life. She was aggressive, grabbing her male dancers by their blazers when performing her new No. 1 hit, "Blank Space." She later received the first-ever Dick Clark Award for Excellence, presented by Diana Ross. "To the fans who went out and bought over a million copies of my last three albums, what you did by going out and investing in music and albums is you're saying you believe in the same thing I believe in—that music is valuable and that music should be consumed in albums and albums should be consumed as art and appreciated," she said. More highlights:
- One Direction won three honors, including artist of the year over powerhouse acts like Beyonce and Luke Bryan. The boy band also won favorite band, duo, or group—pop/rock,as well as favorite album—pop/rock for Midnight Memories at the fan-voted show.
- Breakthrough newcomer Iggy Azalea beat out heavyweights Eminem and Drake in the rap categories. Azalea won favorite album—rap/hip-hop for The New Classic and favorite artist—rap/hip-hop.
- Katy Perry, who was absent from the award show because of her world tour, matched One Direction for most wins with three.
- Sam Smith, who also performed "I'm Not the Only One" with A$AP Rocky, won favorite male artist—pop/rock. "Last year I wrote an album about being lonely and tonight, I couldn't feel further from lonely, so thank you so much," he told the crowd.
- Imagine Dragons, who won favorite artist—alternative rock for a second time performed their new folky single, "I Bet My Life."
- Australian boy band 5 Seconds of Summer won new artist of the year, beating out Azalea, Smith, Meghan Trainor, and Bastille.
(Read more American Music Awards