Not only did the pop superstar open the show with a fiery performance of “I Did Something Bad,” but she went on to win four awards, breaking Whitney Houston’s record for most AMA wins by a female artist. She took home the trophies for Tour of the Year, Favorite Pop/Rock Album for "Reputation," Favorite Female Artist Pop/Rock and Artist of the Year -- bringing her career total to 23 AMAs.
In addition to breaking a record, Taylor continued to break her silence on politics. After getting political in an Instagram post over the weekend, Taylor used her acceptance speech for Artist of the Year to encourage people to vote.
There were only a couple of other political moments during the night -- including a passionate call to vote from presenter Billy Eichner and host Tracee Ellis Ross wearing a T-shirt that said, “I am a voter.”
It was also a night of firsts for a handful of artists. Camila Cabello won her first two AMAs as a solo artist -- for Favorite Pop/Rock Song for “Havana” and New Artist of the Year. R&B singer Khalid, rap group Migos and country singer Kane Brown also became first-time AMA winners. The late rapper XXXTentacion won for Favorite Soul/R&B Album and his mother accepted on his behalf.
And as always, the ceremony boasted a slew of stellar musical performances.
Cardi B, who won for Favorite Rap/Hip-Hop Artist, delivered her first post-baby TV performance with her hit “I Like It,” featuring J Balvin and Bad Bunny. The three turned the stage into a colorful fiesta.
Jennifer Lopez debuted a new female empowerment anthem called “Limitless” from her upcoming movie Second Act, showing off her vocal chops and giving her dancing skills a rest. Mariah Carey sang her new song “With You” dressed in a form-fitting pink gown and surrounded by male dancers. And Panic! at the Disco paid tribute to Queen with a rendition of “Bohemian Rhapsody” performed live from Brisbane, Australia.
But it was Swift's activism that made the most impact. She encouraged everyone to get out and vote this midterm election cycle.
“I just wanted to make a mention at the fact that this award and every single award given out tonight were voted on by the people,” she said, “and you know what else is voted on by the people is the midterm elections on Nov. 6."
Taylor also seemingly teased a new album is in the works during her acceptance speech for Pop/Rock Album, saying she was glad fans embraced her "Reputation" era, but was “even more excited for the next chapter.”
Khalid and Halsey, joined by producer Benny Blanco, delivered a chill performance of their new collaboration, "Eastside." It was so chill in fact that Halsey actually had time to tweet from the stage.
"On stage right now at the AMAs," she wrote. "Wearing my favorite Jordans lol. Tweeting during my performance. #priorities."
The show ended with an emotional tribute to Aretha Franklin that brought the house down. The gospel production featured Gladys Knight, Ledisi, Mary Mary, Donnie McClurkin and CeCe Winans.