The 49th American Music Awards took place last night at the interestingly named Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. More interestingly, though, many of the standout moments that night were not actually stemming from American and/or English speaking performers...

 

The American Music Awards are a remarkable tradition. Held yearly since 1974 (and originally designed as a Grammy competitor), the show has become a mainstay in US music. Since 2006, its winners are not anymore determined by members of the industry but rather by public polls, making them all the more exciting. In short, they haven’t replaced the Grammy awards just yet (then again, who would?), but they obviously are a show to watch.

This year was no different: having Cardi B as a host was a smart move, as she has the charisma to do just that — and then some. Having Silk Sonic open the (musical) festivities with their blend of refined retro-soul was a sure-fire way to crank up the volume. Having Olivia Rodrigo, Taylor Swift, Doja Cat, Lil Nas X, Megan Thee Stallion, Machine Gun Kelly, Walker Hayes, Diplo and then some either perform, present or win awards (or any combination of the above) proves how much American music is alive and well today. And quite diverse too: there are worlds between Rodrigo, Machine Gun Kelly, Diplo and Walker Hayes. And that’s how we like it…

The funnier aspect of the show, though, is that many of the night’s key moments belong to non-American or non English-speaking artists and performers. To start with, the hands-down stars of the event were non other than BTS, Korea’s answer to Backstreet Boys and Michael Jackson combined — with a modern twist. They won three awards and performed twice, including a duet with British super-band Coldplay… Then came Puerto Rican phenom Bad Bunny, whose “Lo Siento BB:/” collab with fellow Puerto Rican Tainy and Julieta Venegas marked for a peaceful, Spanish-language section of the show. Finally, for Europeans, the height of AMA eclecticism came when Italian Eurovision winners Måneskin took the stage to perform their rendition of “Beggin”, a song once offered to the world by New Jersey native Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons…

All in all, the 2021 AMAs were a demonstration of how global music has truly become, and how interconnected various communities may be. Through music for now, hopefully through other means as well as time goes by…