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American Music Awards’ “Artist of the Decade” Taylor Swift’s Nostalgic and Empowering Performance

Taylor Swift broke yet another musical record on Sunday night by officially topping Michael Jackson for the most American Music Awards with her six new wins, which include “Artist of the Decade”–a prize which hardly came as a surprise to a whole generation who grew up with her consistent hits. Swift has come a long way since her very first win in 2007, as favourite country female artist. Throughout her career, she has been able to constantly re-invent herself: remember when her album Red was nominated for awards in both country and pop genres at the 2013 AMAs?

But the days leading up to her performance at the AMAs were uncertain, as the publicized conflict between Scooter Braun and Taylor Swift showed no sign of resolution. Just a few days ago, the singer posted an open letter on Tumblr in which she expressed her disheartenment over Braun, Borchetta, and Big Machine Label Group allegedly not letting her play her old songs in any recorded appearance.

Big Machine Label Group had since released a statement denying her claims, claiming that it had formed an agreement with Dick Clark Productions (the AMAs production company). However, Dick Clark Productions denied it had any part in Big Machine Label Group’s statement, leaving a big question mark as to what the audience should expect from Taylor Swift’s appearance at the AMAs.

It goes without saying that Swift’s performance was a sigh of relief.

She began her show by singing “The Man,” a song from her latest record which questions how much more successful she would be if she were a man. Swift wore a white shirt adorned by the names of her first six albums — a subtle reference to the ongoing dispute with BMLG over the rights of her previous work.

The artist then took off the shirt and flew us back in time by singing her older hits: “Love Story,” “I Knew You Were Trouble,” “Blank Space,” and “Shake It Off”, during which Camila Cabello and Halsey joined her to sing on stage. She closed her performance with a piano-based rendition of one of her newest songs, “Lover”, accompanied by a routine from ballet dancers Misty Copeland and Craig Hall. Taylor Swift is signaling a new beginning, and we’re all ready for it.

In her acceptance speeches, Swift acknowledged the hardships she has been through and comfortingly expressed gratitude for her opportunities and her fans’ loyalty and their support for her work.

Featured Image: Eva Rinaldi

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