The 2018 American Music Awards were held on October 9, 2018 at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, California. Aired live on ABC and hosted by the always effervescent Tracee Ellis Ross, the awards show featured a plethora of memorable moments — including a fiery performance of “I Did Something Bad” by Taylor Swift, a touching tribute to the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, and plenty of GIF-able celeb reactions for your social media sharing pleasure (we’re looking at you, Taran Killam).
Knockout performances and record-shattering wins aside, the 2018 AMAs red carpet was basically a catwalk for your favorite stars. From Vanessa Hudgens’ slinky blush pink gown, to Rita Ora and Dua Lipa’s throwbacks to old Hollywood glam, to Jennifer Lopez’s iconic onstage outfit change, this was certainly a night for the awards show fashion history books. Here are some of the most memorable looks from music’s biggest stars.
Tracee Ellis Ross
Can Tracee Ellis Ross please host every awards show for the rest of time? The Black-ish matriarch and daughter of music legend Diana Ross made the most of her second time hosting the American Music Awards by kicking the show off with an impressive dance number, featuring tunes from Cardi B, Childish Gambino, and Aretha Franklin. Understandably, Ross was out of breath by the end of her performance, calling for an emergency shot of B-12 and joking, “J. Lo, I don’t know how you do that all the time.”
Even more impressive than her dance moves were Ross’ outfits throughout the night. The star explained at the beginning of the show that all of her ensembles throughout the evening were courtesy of black designers — and every single one of them totally slayed. She walked the red carpet in a Pyer Moss power suit before going on to change a total of ten times throughout tonight — sporting a figure-hugging, golden, sequined gown, a fluffy, white tulle dress, and graphic tee that read, “I am a voter.” The change game is strong with this one!
The 2018 American Music Awards could just as easily have been called the 2018 Taylor Swift Comeback Awards. The country-star-turned-pop-sensation, who recently wrapped up the North American leg of her Reputation stadium tour, was up for four AMAs — including Best Tour, Best Pop/Rock Album, Best Pop/Rock Female Artist, and Artist of the Year. Swift won each award for which she was nominated, surpassing the late Whitney Houston’s wins and breaking the record for the most decorated female artist in AMA history. This came as a surprise to pretty much no one, including Swift herself. Is it even an awards show if it doesn’t feature a shocked Taylor Swift with her mouth agape?!
Well, the old Taylor might be dead, but the new Taylor is on fire — and so were her AMA outfits. Before opening the show with a knockout performance of “I Did Something Bad” in a sparkling, snakeskin-inspired bodysuit, Swift strutted down the red carpet wearing a futuristic, sequined mini-dress. “You have made this human disco ball so happy tonight,” the star posted on Instagram, along with a photo set of her big night.
2018 was undoubtedly the biggest year of Cardi B’s life. Her debut studio album was a breakout hit, featuring the banger that skyrocketed the rapper to fame — “Bodak Yellow.” But Cardi B’s money moves weren’t the memorable moves she’s made in the past 12 months. In October 2017, fans were delighted when she gleefully accepted an onstage proposal from her beau, Offset (of Migos fame). However, it was later revealed that the two lovebirds had actually already been wed a month prior in the privacy of their bedroom. And the happy news didn’t stop there — in June 2018, Cardi B gave birth to the couple’s first daughter, Kulture.
In fact, Kulture got a sweet shout-out from mommy as she accepted the award for Favorite Rap/Hip Hop Artist. Cardi B thanked her daughter for inspiring her to “prove everyone wrong,” especially those who said the star wasn’t going to make it after she had a baby. And prove them wrong she did! Cardi B took home three AMAs while looking every bit the hip hop royalty she is, donning a dramatic Dolce & Gabbana floral gown with a matching headpiece and statement earrings.
All hail Jennifer Lopez, the undisputed Queen of the Red Carpet. It’s just a fact that no best dressed list is complete without a Jenny from the block appearance. The worldwide pop powerhouse is just as famous for her red carpet looks as she is for her decorated music career. From the cowgirl-inspired ensemble she wore to the MTV Video Music Awards in 1998, to the pink princess gown she donned at the 2010 Academy Awards, to that plunging, green Versace dress from the 42nd Annual Grammy Awards in 2000 — this gal never misses an opportunity to make a fashion statement on the red carpet.
Unsurprisingly, the 2018 American Music Awards was no exception. The 49 year-old star looked as fresh and fashionable as ever in a hot pink Georges Chakra gown, featuring an ultra-low neckline, thigh-high slit, and a black velvet belt. “I feel like it’s soft and it’s a little hard,” Lopez told ET. “It’s kind of like me.”
Dua Lipa might not have taken home any awards at the 2018 American Music Awards, but the “New Rules” songstress certainly won the red carpet. Nominated for Best New Artist, Lipa arrived to the AMAs red carpet looking like she came straight out of Hollywood circa 1950. The rising pop star stunned in an all white gown, featuring a figure-flattering mermaid silhouette, a sweetheart neckline, and off-the-shoulder cap sleeves. Lipa accessorized accordingly, donning a delicate diamond choker and single bangle.
Less certainly is more, and Lipa totally proved it with this look. The singer kept her dramatic dress the star of the show by sporting a soft, natural makeup look and tousled tresses. However, Lipa did manage to add a pop of color to her look with a neon yellow manicure. The blink-and-you’ll-miss-it detail added some fun and fitting flair for the gal who is every bit as unique as she is glamorous.
Ahead of the 2018 American Music Awards ceremony, Busy Philipps’ name was already making headlines. Her new memoir, This Will Only Hurt A Little, set to be released on October 16, 2018, has already made some major waves for its collection of honest reflections from the actress’ life and career — including an alleged physical assault by James Franco while the two were working on the Freaks and Geeks set.
However, the Cougar Town and Vice Principals star looked better than ever when she arrived to the AMAs. The blonde bombshell sported a pantsuit that was all party and no business, featuring sparkling, sequined pants, a sleek, black blazer, and a sexy, black bralette. “Going to present at [the AMAs] with my old pal from ER,” the star posted on Instagram, along with a picture of her look. Philipps presented an award with said “old pal,” John Stamos, who nearly stole her look — though he did opt for a Jonas Brothers t-shirt instead of a bralette.
Heidi Klum is one of the world’s most celebrated supermodels. And in case you’ve somehow forgotten that, one look at Klum’s history of red carpet wins is sure to jog your memory. The former Victoria’s Secret angel has a talent for making any red carpet her catwalk. Klum has sported some seriously iconic looks throughout the years from the world’s most celebrated designers, including that white Alexandre Vauthier stunner from the 2013 Golden Globe Awards, the feathery blue Sean Kelly number from the 2014 Emmys — and who could ever forget the iconic red Dior dress that had her looking like a real-life Queen of Hearts.
Klum knows how to make a statement on the red carpet, and she did it once again at the 2018 American Music Awards. Attending the ceremony to present the award for Tour of the Year, the America’s Got Talent judge wowed in a modern take on the classic 1920s flapper dress, donning a black Julien MacDonald number with cutouts and fringe aplenty.
In case you weren’t aware, Vanessa Hudgens isn’t in high school anymore! Hudgens — who was thrust into the spotlight after starring in the Disney Channel original movie, High School Musical, in 2006 — has certainly grown up since her Disney days. The star has scored starring roles in multiple movies (including Beastly, Sucker Punch, and Spring Breakers), enjoyed the the small screen spotlight on the (now cancelled) DC Entertainment comedy Powerless, and delivered an epic performance as Rizzo in Grease:Live.
At only 29 years-old, Hudgens has accomplished quite a lot throughout her career — and she’s looked absolutely and effortlessly glamorous at every turn. The star stepped onto the 2018 American Music Awards red carpet donning a sultry, slinky version of Molly Ringwald’s classic prom dress from Pretty in Pink. Hudgens, who attended the AMAs as a presenter, spoke to Entertainment Tonight about what inspired her look, calling the dress “classic” and “chic” before adding, “I’m here for J. Lo.” Us too, girl.
English-born singer Rita Ora has made quite the name for herself in the United States, thanks to such hits as “How We Do,” “Body On Me,” “R.I.P,” and “For You.” Since rising to prominence in 2012 with the release of her first studio album, aptly titled Ora, the songstress has kept fans anxiously awaiting a second album full of catchy bangers. Good things come to those who wait, and fans of Ora have been waiting for six long years — so you can imagine their delight in September 2018 when the singer announced her second studio album, Phoenix, which is set to be released in November 2018.
One month ahead of her second album’s much-anticipated release, Ora dazzled at the 2018 American Music Awards, which she attended as a presenter. The singer stunned in a dramatic, black, floor-sweeping ball gown that featured voluminous cap sleeves, black velvet floral detailing, and a plunging V-neckline. We have a feeling she’ll be just as stunning at the 2019 AMAs — though she’ll likely be attending as a nominee.
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