November 22, 2021
By Jill Serjeant
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – K-Pop band BTS and Taylor Swift were among the early winners at the American Music Awards on Sunday in a show hosted live by rapper Cardi B in Los Angeles.
BTS was named favorite pop group, the first of three awards the South Korean group is nominated for on the largest fan-voted show in the world.
“We’re just a small boy band from Korea which just united by the love of music, and all we want to do is spread good vibes,” said BTS singer Kim Nam-Joon, known as RM.
BTS joined Coldplay on stage for a rendition of their single “My Universe” in a post-pandemic return to live performances for the K-pop band, whose single “Butter” ruled the Billboard singles charts in the U.S. for 10 weeks this summer.
BTS will face off against Swift, newcomer Olivia Rodrigo, The Weeknd, rapper Drake and Ariana Grande for the night’s biggest prize – artist of the year.
Swift, who did not attend Sunday’s ceremony, last year won the title for a record sixth time.
On Sunday, she took home the trophies for favorite female artist and best pop album for her lockdown album “evermore.”
“I’m so lucky to be in your life, and to get to have you in mine,” Swift told fans in a video acceptance speech.
First-time host Cardi B pulled off a series of extravagant costume changes and confessed she was worried about messing up.
“I’m a little nervous. I’m shaking,” the “Bodak Yellow” rapper said, sporting a head-to-toe black feather headdress.
Rodrigo, 18, who burst onto the charts in January, went into Sunday’s show with a leading seven nods including artist of the year, best new artist, and favorite pop song for her debut single, “drivers license”.
Canadian R&B singer The Weeknd followed with six nominations, while Doja Cat, reggaeton star Bad Bunny and first-time nominee R&B singer Giveon had five apiece.
Doja Cat picked up three awards on Sunday, including for her “Kiss Me More” collaboration with SZA, while Megan Thee Stallion, who on Saturday pulled out of performing on the show citing personal issues, won for favorite female hip-hop artist.
Other artists due to perform later on Sunday include Jennifer Lopez, Latin star Bad Bunny, Italian Eurovision song contest winners Maneskin, and country singer Carrie Underwood.
The nominees were based on Billboard music chart performance, streaming and album sales, radio play and social media engagement, and the winners were chosen entirely by fans.
(Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by Karishma Singh and Gerry Doyle)