11 Memorable American Music Awards Performances
Do you love America? And music? How about awards? Good news: the American Music Awards air this Sunday, Nov. 22. Let’s look back at some of the show’s best performances.
Though the AMAs generally don’t produce the kinds of performances that have made the VMAs and the Grammys must-watch events, it would be unfair to say that there haven’t been some legitimately thrilling moments on the AMAs stage over the years. We’ve selected 11 of the most memorable performances, presented in no particular order.
Lady Gaga – “Bad Romance” / “Speechless” (2009)
If Gaga’s “Paparazzi” performance at the VMAs earlier in 2009 was her most iconic of the year, this was a close second. Light-up alien gear, glass smashing, and a piano on fire? Violent, otherworldly perfection.
Taylor Swift - “Blank Space” (2014)
Taylor’s more recent 1989 Tour performances are notable more for the guest stars on stage than the theatrics. But at last year’s AMAs, all eyes were on her during this fiery “Blank Space” rendition.
P!nk – ‘Try” (2012)
P!nk beat Sia to the modern-dance-in-popular-music craze by years and showed off her incredible strength in the process.
Beyoncé – “Single Ladies” (2008)
Queen Bey paid perfect homage to her iconic black-and-white “Single Ladies” video with a “Single Ladies” performance in an iconic black-and-white ensemble.
Britney Spears – “Me Against the Music” (2003)
There was a time when Britney could command an audience with nothing more than the energetic fury of her dancing. This “Me Against the Music” performance occurred during that time.
Adam Lambert – “For Your Entertainment” (2009)
The year was 2009. Adam Lambert kissed a boy on stage and, presumably, liked it. The television audience, however, did not. But cut to 2015: gay marriage is legal in America, so sore losers stay losing.
Miley Cyrus – “Wrecking Ball” (2013)
This was Miley’s second performance of 2013 to generate a plethora of memes and parodies, though, to be fair, most of the credit goes to the giant cat.
*N SYNC – “Bye Bye Bye” (2000)
Giant hands! GIANT HANDS! (And good dancing.)
Lady Gaga and R. Kelly – “Do What U Want” (2013)
Whether you find the Theater Kid incarnation of Lady Gaga endearing or annoying is up to you, but of her cheekier, more overstated performances, this is certainly one of the best. Bonus points for the timely, bittersweet, and sadly self-aware ending.
Whitney Houston – Greatest Hits Medley (1994)
They just don’t make voices like this anymore. (Except for Adele).
Michael Jackson – “Dangerous” (1993)
They just don’t make entertainers like this anymore.
Did we miss your favorite American Music Awards performance? Let us know by leaving a comment, sending us some hate mail, or spamming our Twitter mentions with rage-filled gibberish.