Lorde performs at the 2014 American Music Awards. Photo by Kevin Winter Getty Images.
The American Music Awards carry about the same weight as the Teen Choice Awards. It’s a night where we consistantly find ourselves asking: “Is he/she still famous?” and “People actually like Pitbull?” (We’re looking at you, Lorde)
Regardless, there are a handful of good performances hidden among some of the mess, and this year Lorde, Sam Smith, Taylor Swift and others provided some good entertainment. We’ve gathered our favorite performances from the American Music Awards 2014. Watch them below:
Lorde “Yellow Flickr Beat”
Everything came full circle for “The Hunger Games” this weekend. The dystopian young adult book series scored the highest box office ticket sales this year before the big Thanksgiving weekend push. To celebrate, Effie Trinket from “The Hunger Games” introduced Lorde’s performance at the AMAs on Sunday. Lorde performed her new track, “Yellow Flicker Beat,” which appears on “The Hunger Games” soundtrack that Lorde also curated. She hasn’t been around long, but Lorde has a total command of her stage presence. Building suspense and performing inside of a box during the beginning of the track on Sunday, Lorde head-banged and crooned her way through the new song. With a flash of style, she ended the performance by smearing her lipstick along her face. Neat, Lorde, and kinda gross.
Taylor Swift “Blank Space”
We love that Taylor Swift has embraced her whole crazy thing. During a fun performance of “Blank Space” on Sunday, Swift brought back her trademark psycho eyes and male model boyfriend. Though we can’t tell how much she actually sang, she brought the confidence of an artist who just released the year’s best selling album. Plus, her acceptance speech for the Dick Clark Award for Excellence was brilliant.
Sam Smith “I’m Not the Only One”
Sam Smith is making capes cool. And buttoning up your shirt. And being emotional. While his latest single, “I’m Not The Only One,” feels like it’s stuck in third gear, the addition of A$AP Rocky on Sunday brought the performance to the next level.
One Direction “Night Changes”
Hey, Zayn Malik actually made it to this one. Nice job, dude. After being a no-show on their big “Today Show” performance last week, Malik showed up to the AMAs for the band’s performance of “Night Changes.” The band took home the Artist of the Year award, but also wins for getting by far the most ear-splitting screams of the night.
Jennifer Lopez and Iggy Azalea “Booty”
So, this song is exactly what you would imagine a track called “Booty” sung by Jennifer Lopez and Iggy Azalea would be. And the performance is also exactly what you would expect. The two debuted the track live on the American Music Awards on Sunday, and the most amazing part is that somehow this didn’t get shut down by the censors.
AMERICAN MUSIC AWARDS 2014 Winners
Single of the Year
Katy Perry Featuring Juicy J – Dark Horse
Artist of the Year
New Artist of the Year
5 Seconds of Summer
Dick Clark Award for Excellent
Favorite Male Artist – Pop/Rock
Favorite Female Artist – Pop/Rock
Favorite Band, Duo or Group – Pop/Rock
Favorite Album – Pop/Rock
One Direction – Midnight Memories
Favorite Male Artist – Country
Favorite Female Artist – Country
Favorite Band, Duo or Group – Country
Florida Georgia Line
Favorite Album – Country
Brantley Gilbert – Just As I Am
Favorite Artist – Rap/Hip-Hop
Favorite Album – Rap/Hip-Hop
Iggy Azalea – The New Classic
Favorite Male Artist – Soul/R&B
Favorite Female Artist – Soul/R&B
Favorite Album – Soul/R&B
Beyoncé – Beyoncé
Favorite Artist – Alternative Rock
Favorite Artist – Adult Contemporary
Favorite Artist – Latin
Favorite Artist – Contemporary Inspirational
Favorite Artist – Electronic Dance Music (EDM)
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Julio Enriquez is a Denver writer and photographer, editor of the Cause=Time blog and a regular contributor to Reverb
Flying Lotus performs at SXSW on March 15, 2014. Photo by Joe McCabe, heyreverb.com.
The festival circuit loves him. With every tour, Flying Lotus plays larger venues. His music is all over Adult Swim, and has been for years. He recently recorded a song and curated a radio station for the new “Grand Theft Auto,” one of his favorite video games. His growing list of collaborators includes artists as diverse as Thom Yorke and Mac Miller. Flying Lotus, meet The Good Life. And yet, despite this growing mass appeal, FlyLo’s music is not easily accessible.
Ariel Pink’s wonderfully weird “pom pom” is dumb, clever, grating and catchy all at the same time. Expect it to bookend this year’s best and worst of lists.
In the coming months, “pom pom,” Ariel Pink’s latest LP of satire-laced goof-pop, will serve as an unwitting litmus test. It will play at a party, and the room will part like boys and girls at a middle school dance: some ready to dance and sing feverishly with the de facto DJ to its songs about Jello, frog princes and “goth bombs,” while the rest beg them to turn it off. You’ll see the same thing shake out in the comment sections of year-end top ten lists, complete with ad hominem attacks on Pink that, let’s be honest, he’s more than tee’d himself up for in the preceding weeks.