Taylor Swift won three American Music Awards Sunday night, including the top “favorite artist” honor — explaining her absence as due to being busy in the studio re-recording her entire Big Machine catalog.
The climactic favorite artist award came as something as a surprise, since Swift’s name had not come up as a winner any time earlier in the three hours, leading to an underlying assumption that she might have been shut out in some or all of the four categories she’d been nominated in. But host Taraji P. Henson said after Swift’s filmed acceptance that she had also won favorite pop/rock female and favorite music video (for “Cardigan”), awards that were presumably left off-camera because Swift had only submitted one speech, or to heighten the final element of surprise.
“The reason I’m not there tonight is I’m actually recording all of my old music in the studio where we originally recorded it,” Swift told the viewing audience. “So it’s been amazing and I can’t wait for you to hear it.”
This was not a surprise to fans, since Swift had declared that she was already at work on a re-do of the catalogue this past week, while she was releasing a statement confirming that her master recordings had been sold without her consent yet again, this time by Scooter Braun’s Ithica Holdings to Shamrock Capital.
But Swift seems very much to want to emphasize her current recording status to fans, and/or to Shamrock and Braun.
Earlier Sunday, Swift had posted to Twitter a black-and-white photo of herself relaxing on a couch with the message, “Not a lot going on at the moment.” Fans immediately knew this was one of the star’s Easter egg moments, not an admission of laziness, since she’d posted the identical ironic caption when she was secretly beginning the recording of “Folklore,” her latest release, back in the spring. This time, she definitely doesn’t want to keep it a secret.
not a lot going on at the moment pic.twitter.com/54uGPH1ysF
— Taylor Swift (@taylorswift13) November 22, 2020
“This is a fan-voted award, which means so much to me,” she said. “You guys have been beyond wonderful all the years of my career, but especially this one, when we’ve been so far apart. .We haven’t been able to see each other in concert, but I still feel really connected to you through the music,” Swift said, citing “your reaction to ‘Folklore’ and all of the ways in which your imagination honored that album.”
BIG congratulations to @taylorswift13! Shes taking home the award for Artist of the Year! #AMAs pic.twitter.com/XfBOTPU5Nc
— American Music Awards (@AMAs) November 23, 2020
The only one of her four nominations Swift missed out on a win for was favorite pop/rock album, which went to Harry Styles for “Fine Line.”
With these three trophies, Swift broke her own record for the highest number of AMA wins, upping her tally from 29 to 32. The previous record-holder was Michael Jackson, with 24.
Other three-time winners were The Weeknd (favorite male soul R&B artist, favorite soul/R&B song, favorite soul/R&B song) and Dan + Shay (collaboration of the year, favorite country song, favorite duo or group).
Swift’s big AMAs haul precedes by a day and a half the announcement of the nominations for the 2021 Grammys, where “Folklore” is expected to contend as well.