Taylor Swift wins top prize at AMAs, says she’s rerecording music

NEW YORK — Taylor Swift won her third consecutive artist of the year prize at the American Music Awards, but she missed the show for a good reason: She said she’s busy rerecording her early music after her catalog was sold.

In a video that aired during Sunday’s awards show, the pop star said “the reason I’m not there tonight is I’m actually rerecording all of my old music in the studio where we originally recorded it. So it’s been amazing. And I can’t wait for you to hear it.”

ExplorePhotos: Taylor Swift in Atlanta through the years

Last year, music manager Scooter Braun — who manages Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande — announced that his Ithaca Holdings company had acquired Big Machine Label Group, the home to Swift’s first six albums. This month, Braun said he has sold the master rights to Swift’s first six albums to an investment company; Swift acknowledged the sale on social media and said she would not work with the new buyers because Braun was still involved.

Instead, she headed back to the studio.

Swift beat out Bieber, Post Malone and Roddy Ricch to win the top award. She also won favorite music video and favorite pop/rock female artist, winning three honors and tying Bieber, Dan + Shay and the Weeknd for most wins Sunday.

The Weeknd lost artist of the year, but he still kicked off his all-star week as a big winner: Days before he’s expected to land multiple Grammy nominations, he won favorite soul/R&B male artist, favorite soul/R&B album for “After Hours” and favorite soul/R&B song for “Heartless” two days before the 2021 Grammy nominations are announced.

“The last time I received this award it was given to me by the late, great Prince,” he said after winning favorite soul/R&B album. “And, you know, he’s the reason I get to constantly challenge the genre of R&B, and yeah, I’d like to dedicate this to him.”

The Weeknd didn’t break character throughout the three-hour show with his gauze-wrapped face, which matched the vibe of his recent album and music videos in which he appears blooded and bruised. He accepted his awards and performed with his face wrapped in gauze.

Kenny G joined the Weeknd for his performance, playing the sax in downtown Los Angeles as the Weeknd walked across a bridge singing “In Your Eyes.” He finished the performance singing “Save Your Tears.”

The Weeknd was one of several artists who appeared live at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles for the fan-voted awards show. Others recently taped their performances because of the coronavirus pandemic, though host Taraji P. Henson — who appeared live from the venue — said the few audience members sitting in the mezzanine practiced social distancing, wore masks and were tested for the virus.

Henson joked that A-list celebrities were in the audience, including Beyoncé, though cardboard cut-outs of the singer, Jay-Z and other stars appeared in seats.

But a good number of chart-toppers were in the building. Breakthrough singer-rapper Doja Cat performed and won new artist of the year and favorite soul/R&B female artist. Grammy-winning country duo Dan + Shay beautifully performed “I Should Probably Go to Bed” and won favorite country duo or group, collaboration of the year and favorite country song for “10,000 Hours,” the latter two shared with Bieber. And Megan Thee Stallion — who won favorite rap/hip-hop songs for “WAP” with Cardi B — performed “Body” from her recently released debut album “Good News.”

A list of the winners at the 2020 American Music Awards, held Sunday at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles:

Artist of the year: Taylor Swift

New artist of the year: Doja Cat

Collaboration of the year: Dan + Shay and Justin Bieber, “10,000 Hours”

Favorite pop/rock female artist: Taylor Swift

Favorite pop/rock male artist: Justin Bieber

Favorite pop/rock duo or group: BTS

Favorite pop/rock song: Dua Lipa, “Don’t Start Now”

Favorite pop/rock album: Harry Styles, “Fine Line”

Favorite rap/hip-hop female artist: Nicki Minaj

Favorite rap/hip-hop male artist: Juice WRLD

Favorite rap/hip-hop song: Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion, “WAP”

Favorite rap/hip-hop album: Roddy Ricch, “Please Excuse Me For Being Antisocial”

Favorite soul/R&B female artist: Doja Cat

Favorite soul/R&B male artist: The Weeknd

Favorite soul/R&B song: The Weeknd, “Heartless”

Favorite soul/R&B album: The Weeknd, “After Hours”

Favorite country female artist: Maren Morris

Favorite country male artist: Kane Brown

Favorite country duo or group: Dan + Shay

Favorite country song: Dan + Shay and Justin Bieber, “10,000 Hours”

Favorite country album: Blake Shelton, “Fully Loaded: God’s Country”

Favorite female Latin artist: Becky G

Favorite male Latin artist: Bad Bunny

Favorite Latin song: Karol G and Nicki Minaj, “Tusa”

Favorite Latin album: Bad Bunny, “YHLQMDLG”

Favorite alternative rock artist: twenty one pilots

Favorite adult contemporary artist: Jonas Brothers

Favorite contemporary inspirational artist: Lauren Daigle

Favorite electronic dance music artist: Lady Gaga

Favorite social artist: BTS

Favorite music video: Taylor Swift, “cardigan”

Favorite soundtrack: “Birds of Prey: The Album”