The 44th Annual American Music Awards


Haasitha Korlipara, Staff Writer

On November 20, 2016, the 44th annual American Music Awards took place in Los Angeles, recognizing several of the latest and greatest artists of the year. The awards show, originally created by Dick Clark in 1973, attained over 8.2 million viewers in its most recent broadcast this fall. The American Music Awards is well-known for its representation of the public opinion, as the winning musicians are determined through online voting by fans. Perhaps it is for this very reason that the awards show achieves such a wide appeal to millions of Americans throughout the nation to this day, forty-three years after its very first airing.

The American Music Awards is characterized by twenty-two categories in total, broken down into the four main music styles of “Pop/Rock”, “Country”, “Rap/Hip-Hop”, and “Soul/R&B”. These four genres are further divided into the subsection categories of “Favorite Female Artist”, “Favorite Male Artist”, “Favorite Band/Duo/Group”, and “Favorite Album” that are chosen from each of these music styles. Other categories of the show that cannot be fitted into the four music styles mentioned above exist on their own, such as “Favorite Latin Artist”, “Favorite Adult Contemporary Artist” or the general “Artist of the Year”.

The 2016 American Music Awards took place at Los Angeles’ Microsoft Theatre, co-hosted by American fashion model Gigi Hadid and former “Saturday Night Live” star Jay Pharoah. The program was marked with performances between the announcement of nominees and the award winner for each category. From Bruno Mars’ action-packed performance of “24K Magic”, to Niall Horan’s stunning showcase of his new single “This Town”, the audience was provided with complete entertainment during the roughly three-hour-long show.

History was made that Sunday night with Drake’s record-breaking thirteen American Music Awards nominations in a single year, exceeding Michael Jackson’s eleven nominations almost thirty-two years earlier in 1984. Justin Bieber claimed the most awards during the show, winning a total of four. Other significant wins of the night included Ariana Grande as “Artist of the Year”, “Purple Rain” by Prince as “Top Soundtrack”, and Beyonce’s “Formation World Tour” as “Tour of the Year”.

A sentimental moment of the night arrived when Tyka Nelson, Prince’s sister, gave an emotional speech while accepting an award on her brother’s behalf, declaring him “one of the world’s most loved and respected artists” due to his vision, god-given talent, and courage to be different. A hint of political controversy was also brought into the awards show, which followed not far after the election of Donald Trump as the upcoming President of the United States, by Green Day as they chanted “No Trump, no KKK, no fascist USA” six times during the performance of their new song “Bang Bang”.

The 2016 American Music Awards certainly was an event filled with riveting performances, memorable moments, and its share of controversies.