It’s official: Taylor Swift is the most decorated female artist in American Music Awards history. After accepting three trophies at Tuesday’s AMAs ceremony — for Artist of the Year, Best Pop/Rock Album, and Best Tour — Swift’s grand total of AMAs is now 22, besting the late Whitney Houston’s record of 21.
Swift owned the night from the moment the 2018 AMAs ceremony kicked off, opening the show in spectacular fashion with a fiery, witchy performance of the Reputation track “I Did Something Bad” alongside her famous mechanical snake, Karyn. But she later dropped the snaky bad-girl shtick of her Reputation era to sweetly thank her fans during her three speeches.
“I understand how lucky I am to have anyone that cares about me or my music,” Swift said during one of her trips to the podium. “Every time that you have made me lucky enough to ever get to stand on a stage and have something really sparkly in my hands and say thank you, every single time this happens, it means something differently to me. This time, it represents encouragement and motivation for me to be better, work harder, and make you guys proud as much as I possibly can. So, thank you for this incredible symbol of encouragement. And I wanted to make a mention of the fact that this award and every single award given out tonight were voted on by the people. And you know what else is voted on by the people? The midterm elections on Nov. 6! Get out and vote!”
Those last three sentences were a nod to Swift’s Oct. 7 Instagram post, when she broke her political silence (a silence that had long drawn criticism from the left, and even had some pundits speculating that she was a Trump supporter) with a strongly worded statement about the upcoming midterm elections and specifically her opposition to Marsha Blackburn, the current Republican representative for Tennessee’s 7th Congressional District. Some dismissed the move as too little, too late — but the polarizing post still racked up nearly 2 million “likes” and seemed to yield results, as voter registration nationwide and in Tennessee quickly saw a significant increase. Swift’s pro-voting speech elicited enthusiastic applause from the attendees at the AMAs Tuesday.
With three more wins under her belt, Swift didn’t just top Houston’s American Music Awards tally; she’s now just three wins away from beating Michael Jackson’s all-time record of 24 AMAs. And with this momentum, she will probably do just that during her next album cycle.
“I always look at albums as chapters in my life, and to the fans, I’m so happy that this means that you like this one,” Swift said during another acceptance speech. “But I have to be really honest with you about something: I’m even more excited about the next chapter.”
The 2018 American Music Awards took place Oct. 9 at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.
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