The 2022 American Music Awards kicked off on Sunday (Nov. 20) at Microsoft Theatre in L.A., and the night was nothing short of victorious. From Taylor Swift winning in all six categories she was nominated in to Lionel Richie being honored with the Icon Award, this year’s AMAs continued to honor music’s best creators.
Billboard caught some of the action from the audience and backstage. Here are 17 moments you didn’t see on TV at the 2022 AMAs.
4:51 p.m. PT: As the announcer declares less than 10 minutes until showtime, Machine Gun Kelly hugs Dove Cameron on the way to his front-row seat. The two pose for a photo and Dove goes to put her arm around him only to remember he’s wearing sharp spiked suit — and quickly opts to leave her arms by her side.
5:11 p.m.: After having tossed his hat into the small pit of fans by the stage — and proceeding to deliver an epic opening number about hosting the AMAs — Wayne Brady reached out into the crowd to then take his hat back. Unfortunate for the fan who thought they were going home with a rare memento, but it did complete Brady’s look.
5:14 p.m.: Cameron’s team cheered for her backstage as she accepted the award for new artist of the year. Someone also shouted for a handler to help her onstage, but she ultimately walked up alone.
5:20 p.m.: During a commercial break, MGK and two members of his team head backstage. As it turned out, the next award happened to be for favorite rock artist. After being announced as the winner, he comes from backstage to accept the award — making note that it’s hard to go to the bathroom in his purple porcupine-inspired ‘fit.
5:25 p.m.: Meghan Trainor‘s mic gets cut and she seems confused to have missed her mark announcing favorite rock artist; she shrugs and lets the tape of nominees run.
5:29 p.m.: GloRilla‘s dancers get a two-minute warning. The Memphis rapper made her AMA debut fresh off the release of her new EP Anyways, Life’s Great, with a surprise Cardi B cameo.
5:43 p.m.: While announcing and ultimately accepting the honor for favorite male R&B artist of the year, awarded to Chris Brown, who was unable to attend at the last minute, Kelly Rowland told the audience members who chose to boo Brown to take it easy. “Excuse me, chill out,” she said. As the negativity simmered, she continued to praise Brown and his music, telling him she’d bring him his deserved trophy.
5:45 p.m.: Carrie Underwood climbs into a metal sphere ahead of her performance, patiently waiting through a commercial break, the award for favorite male R&B artist, and a beautiful intro by Jimmie Allen.
5:55 p.m.: Just ahead of favorite pop album, Taylor Swift walks in (in a look seemingly inspired by her Fearless era), and fans naturally go crazy. The screams seem to follow her to her front-row seat, where she’s greeted and hugged by GAYLE and Sabrina Carpenter. Moments later, she’s announced as the winner in the category for Red (Taylor’s Version).
6:12 p.m.: GloRilla’s backup dancers file into the talent glam tent outside the arena. The girls are screaming and laughing as they celebrate the rapper’s debut AMA performance. Outside the tent, Glo and Cardi are at their trailers catching up, taking pictures with their team and family.
6:37 p.m.: As Måneskin is announced as the winner of favorite rock song for “Beggin,’” half of the audience stands for the Italian rock act.
6:43-6:45 p.m.: Dancers and instrumentalists eagerly leave the glam tent to head into the arena for Dove Cameron’s set. “The wait is over!,” one dancer says.
6:49 p.m.: J.I.D. chats with friends outside the snack trailer backstage after his performing “Enemy” with Imagine Dragons. The rapper was nominated for favorite rock song along with the band who had three other nominations.
6:55 p.m.: Swift re-enters the room, and this time pauses on the way to her seat to chat and take a photo with Smokey Robinson. As she nears center stage, she stops and chats at length with Jimmie Allen. Sure enough, she wins the award for favorite music video for the “All Too Well (10 Minute Version) (Taylor’s Version)” short film and the entire front row remains standing for her speech.
7:12 p.m.: Ari Lennox emerges from her trailer in a long orange gown and makes her way to the theater. Minutes after, Charlie Puth does the same, dressed in a glittery black suit jacket. The two, along with Stevie Wonder, later share the stage for their tribute to Lionel Richie, who received the Icon Award.
7:21 p.m.: Lionel Richie walks over to say his hellos to Swift and for the two snap a photo. Moments later, Swift wins for artist of the year, followed by Richie being honored with the Icon Award.
7:55 p.m.: Swift walks out with GAYLE and Sabrina Carpenter in her entourage — signaling that her winning streak and the night had both come to a close.