Taylor Swift, the pop superstar recently embraced by liberal America for her last minute endorsement of Democratic Senatorial candidate Phil Bredesen and House of Representatives hopeful Jim Cooper (she condemned Republican candidate Marsha Blackburn, saying Blackburn’s record of opposing equal pay and LGBTQ rights protections “appalls” and “terrifies” her) made history on Tuesday night at the 46th annual American Music Awards, from which she has now won a record-breaking 22 trophies, tying and then surpassing Whitney Houston as that show's most decorated artist.
Swift opened the show with a performance of "I Did Something Bad" off her album Reputation, for which she strutted and thrust around a red-lit stage in sequins and knee high boots in front of a giant snake statue. It was her first awards show performance in three years. And while her recent leap into the political fray made for good pre-show red carpet fodder for some attendees (who uniformly praised her using her platform for good), and Billy Eichner took the opportunity before presenting an award to Shawn Mendes to plead with the audience to register to vote "like Taylor Swift told you to", for most of the evening, Swift herself kept mum on the topic—with one major exception.
For her first acceptance speech, for the award for best tour, Swift thanked her tour mates, band, and backup singers, and crews, as well as the fans whose attendance made it possible. For the second speech, for best pop/rock album, she thanked her fans for liking "this chapter", and the friends who'd remained loyal. For the third, she thanked her fans for being "so nice, and fun, and cool, and loyal" and told them that "every time that you have ever made me lucky enough to win an award, it means something different" and that this one "represents encouragement and motivation for me to be better work harder and try and make you guys proud as much as I can...so thank you for this incredible symbol of encouragement." What makes the AMAs special, Swift added, was that they were voted on by the people. "And you know what else is voted on by the people?" Swift asked, as the audience cheered: "is the midterm elections on November 6. Get out and vote. I love you guys." You heard her.