Everything You Need to Know About the AMAs: The Presenters, The Performers, The Nominees, and More

On Sunday (Nov. 21), the 49th annual American Music Awards will be held at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, hosted by rap superstar, Cardi B… and after nearly two years of the pandemic, quarantine, canceled tours, canceled festivals, world-record-breaking streaming accomplishments, hugely popular musical trends and a series of beloved releases, there’s going to be quite a bit of ground to cover.

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So, American Songwriter is here with a little guide of all the details, presenters, performers, nominees, and more.

First things first: How do you watch the AMAs? If you’re a television fan, it’s easy—just tune in to ABC at 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT. And if you’re not a television fan, fear not—on Monday (Nov. 22), it’ll be available for streaming in full on ABC’s website and Hulu.

Once the show kicks off Sunday evening, folks will be welcomed to the coveted event by the host, Cardi B (who is also a nominee for Favorite Music Video, Favorite Female Hip-Hop Artist, and Favorite Hip-Hop Song). A powerful personality in the landscape of current pop culture, her gig as host marks the first time a female rapper has assumed the role since Queen Latifah hosted in 1995. 

Joining Cardi throughout the night will be a fun list of presenters, including Missy Elliott, Travis Barker, Jimmy Kimmel, Taylor Swift, BTS, Billie Eilish, Justin Bieber, J Balvin, Ed Sheeran, Charlie Day, Kim Kardashian, Andy Samberg, Nicki Minaj and more—and, like Cardi, quite a few of these presenters find themselves as nominees too.

And, of course, no proper award show would be complete without performances that encapsulate the year’s happenings and accomplishments. Gracing the stage first will be BTS and Megan Thee Stallion, delivering a version of their smash hit “Butter”—then, Megan will switch out with Coldplay, who’ll perform their new collaboration with BTS, “My Universe.” After them, there will be performances from Olivia Rodrigo, Bad Bunny, New Kids on the Block, Diplo, Tyler, The Creator, and more. 

But it won’t just be pop music—some country idols will be taking the stage too, including Jason Aldean, Carrie Underwood, Kane Brown, and Mickey Guyton. One country star you won’t be seeing, however, is Morgan Wallen—even though he’s still nominated for two awards, he was barred from participating in the ceremony. As the AMAs explained, “His conduct does not align with our core values.”

So far as the main event of the ceremony goes, leading the pack with nominations is the new wunderkind of the pop-osphere, Olivia Rodrigo, who has seven nominations, including Artist of the Year, New Artist of the Year, Favorite Trending Song, and more.

Following her is The Weeknd, a juggernaut presence in the pop world who’s racked up six nominations, including Artist of the Year, Favorite Music Video, Favorite Pop Song and more. Right behind him are Doja Cat, Bad Bunny, and GIVEON, who each have five nominations.

In total, all of the 32 different categories are filled with colorful and creative nominees, showing off the sonic innovations and trends that grew out of the COVID-19 pandemic and the explosion of TikTok’s popularity. In fact, that’s part of what spurred the introduction of a new category: the aforementioned award for Favorite Trending Song. Check out the nominees for some of the night’s biggest awards below:

Artist of the Year:
Ariana Grande
Olivia Rodrigo
Taylor Swift
The Weeknd

New Artist of the Year:
Masked Wolf
Olivia Rodrigo

Favorite Trending Song:
Erica Banks “Buss It”
Måneskin “Beggin’”
Megan Thee Stallion “Body”
Olivia Rodrigo “drivers license”
Popp Hunna “Adderall (Corvette Corvette)”

Favorite Music Video:
Silk Sonic (Bruno Mars, Anderson .Paak) “Leave The Door Open”
Cardi B “Up”
Lil Nas X “MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name)”
Olivia Rodrigo “drivers license”
The Weeknd “Save Your Tears”

Favorite Pop Album:
Ariana Grande’s Positions
Dua Lipa’s Future Nostalgia
Olivia Rodrigo’s SOUR
Taylor Swift’s evermore

Favorite Pop Song:
BTS “Butter”
Doja Cat ft. SZA “Kiss Me More”
Dua Lipa “Levitating”
Olivia Rodrigo “drivers license”
The Weeknd & Ariana Grande “Save Your Tears (Remix)”

Favorite Country Album:
Chris Stapleton’s Starting Over
Gabby Barrett’s Goldmine
Lee Brice’s Hey World
Luke Bryan’s Born Here Live Here Die Here
Morgan Wallen’s Dangerous: The Double Album

Favorite Country Song:
Chris Stapleton “Starting Over”
Chris Young & Kane Brown “Famous Friends”
Gabby Barrett “The Good Ones”
Luke Combs “Forever After All”
Walker Hayes “Fancy Like”

Favorite Rock Artist:
All Time Low
Foo Fighters
Glass Animals
Machine Gun Kelly

The AMAs will air on ABC at 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT on Sunday, November 21—be sure to check back for more coverage and updates. In the meantime, explore more of this year’s nominees HERE.

Photo of Cardi B by Jora Frantzis / ABC

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