AMAs Best & Worst Moments: One Direction, Taylor Swift, Lorde & More

Christopher Polk/AMA2014/Getty Images for DCP
Lorde, Selena Gomez and Taylor Swift attend the 2014 American Music Awards at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on November 23, 2014 in Los Angeles, California.

So who won the 2014 AMAs? One Direction won the coveted Artist of the Year and two other awards, while Taylor Swift captured the Dick Clark Award of Excellence, and Lorde was generally awesome. But plenty of other artists brought their A-game, as this was a star-studded night for the music industry. Here, we shout out the best (and a few of the worst) moments of the 2014 American Music Awards, beginning with the best:


1. Taylor Swift Wins Big, Throws Shade at Spotify



Did Ms. Swift really need more attention for the smashing success of 1989? Well, she earned it. Taylor opened the show with a memorable performance of “Blank Space” and proceeded to leave her mark on the evening. "What you did by going out and investing in music and albums is you are saying that you believe in the same thing that I believe in,” she gushed, in accepting the Dick Clark Award of Excellence. “Music is valuable and music should be consumed in albums and albums should be consumed as art and appreciated.”

In other words, 1989 won’t be appearing on Spotify any time soon.

2. One Direction’s Fan-Approved Big Night



1D are known for being goofy, but at their AMAs performance, they showed off their more mature side, performing the ballad-y new single "Night Changes" off Four.

But that wasn’t all. The fan-voted approach is what sets the AMAs apart from other award shows, and this played into one of One Direction’s greatest strength. Their enthusiasticc fan base came to play, voting them to Artist of the Year, Favorite Pop/Rock Album, and Favorite  Pop/Rock Band Duo Or Group.

3. Lorde Being Lorde

She didn’t win any awards, but a forward-thinking young lady like Lorde knows there’s much more to award shows than taking home the hardware. Her performance of “Yellow Flicker Beat” was absolutely spellbinding, and how can we forget these dance moves to “Bang Bang”?



Or this Pitbull tweet?



4. The Different Sides of Ariana Grande

Dressed up in a long black dress, Grande performed "Problem" backed by a sax, in a big band version of the hit tune. This transitioned into "Break Free," and then finally into "Love Me Harder," when The Weeknd joined the singer. And of course, she was on hand to give her part in “Bang, Bang,” alongside Jessie J and Nicki Minaj.

5. Sam Smith’s Sweet Sounds

After becoming a household name via “Stay With Me” and “Latch,” the British singer continued to build his resumé with an impassioned rendition of another In the Lonely Hour track, “I’m Not the Only One.” Sam’s angelic voice gave the show a big boost of soul, and A$AP Rocky’s guest verse (from the remix version) hammered it home. "My mama said that we need love/ 'Till I found out life's a bitch with no prenup/ You on your own," Rocky rapped, with a flow similar to Kanye West on "Gold Digger."

6. Charli XCX’s Sucker Punch

Wearing a bright red pair of Lolita sunglasses, Charli XCX hit the stage to perform a medley of songs from her upcoming second album Sucker, "Boom Clap" and "Break the Rules."

With the stage dressed up to resemble a high school prom, Charli delivered her top 10 hit and had the whole audience singing along. Even better, it was a one-two Sucker punch -- She tore off her prom gown to reveal a tight leathery skirt and top and absolutely tore through her song "Break the Rules."

At the end of her kick-ass performance, Charli grabbed a massive sucker bearing the word "Sucker" and bashed it to hell. With the stage covered in candy pieces, Charli stalked off, proving pop music can rock as hard as, well, rock music.

And a couple of the worst moments:

1. Magic! & Wyclef Jean

Wyclef was questionably hyped as a “reggae legend” and the “Rude” rockers were questionably placed alongside the industry veteran in a performance that sounded silly on paper, and failed to deliver on the AMAs stage.

2. Pitbull’s Political Commentary

Mr. Worldwide is an MC we can all get behind, but he should probably leave the political commentary to Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. Before dissing women’s use of filters on social media, he made a rather uneasy joke about Barack Obama’srecent speech on immigration. "We’ve got everybody here tonight: Black, white, Asian, Latinos—and guess what? President Obama says we can all stay!”