As part of being honored as the American Music Awards‘ Artist of the Decade, Taylor Swift took to the stage to perform a medley of her biggest hits. AMAs executive producer Mark Bracco had previously teased that the performance was “going to be spectacular, and everyone should watch live,” and he was not kidding.
Fans were treated to a medley of her greatest hits, including “The Man,” “Love Story,” “I Knew You Were Trouble,” “Blank Space,” and many more. A really fun addition was that her friends Halsey and Camila Cabello helped her “Shake It Off,” which was a lot of fun.
It was a real treat, especially because just over a week ago, no one was sure if Swift would be able to perform very many of her hits.
It all started in July when Big Machine Records was sold to Scooter Braun’s company, SB Projects. Big Machine Records is the label Swift was with until she signed with Universal Music Group in 2017. The sale gives ownership to Swift’s first six albums to Braun’s company until she re-records her music, which she is allowed to do in 2020.
On Nov. 14, Swift took to Tumblr to say that Braun and his partner Scott Borchetta had blocked her from performing her songs on television because that would constitute re-recording them. In a statement, Big Machine Records denied that that was what happened and said that their approval was not needed for live performances but rather for distribution of audio and video recordings of those performances. Big Machine later said that they had reached a licensing agreement that leaves Swift and any other artists free to perform their music at the AMAs or anywhere else.
In addition to performing, Swift also earned Favorite Album — Pop/Rock earlier in the night, thanking her fans profusely.
“You guys! OK, this is amazing. That was a really tough category, wow. Thank you to the fans … this album really felt like a new beginning. I also really love my record label, Universal Republic … I’m so excited I get to perform for you later. Thank you to the fans, you’re everything to me,” says Swift.
Swift was also there to cheer on her good friend Selena Gomez, who performed live on TV for the first time in over two years, opening the award show with “Lose You to Love Me” and “Look at Her Now” as Swift cheered her on from the front row.
The two ladies have been besties for over a decade, meeting backstage at a Jonas Brothers concert when Swift was just 18 and Gomez was 15 or 16. Now they’re both in their late 20s, but the two are still as close as ever.