By Jill Serjeant
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Taylor Swift, straight off a controversial dive into U.S. politics, was the big winner at the American Music Awards on Tuesday where she used her platform to again urge her fans to get out and vote.
The 28-year-old pop singer won a record fourth artist of the year trophy at the fan-voted American Music Awards, beating rappers Drake and Post Malone, as well as Britain’s Ed Sheeran and rock band Imagine Dragons for the top prize.
She also picked up three other awards, for best female pop artist, best tour, and best pop album for “reputation,” the biggest seller of 2017.
On Sunday, Swift provoked a storm by breaking her silence on politics and announcing she would vote for two Democrats in Tennessee in the U.S. congressional midterm elections in November. Her comments drove a spike in voter registration.
On Tuesday, the “Fearless” singer told the American Music Awards audience in Los Angeles and millions watching at home to go and vote.
“This award and every single award given out tonight is voted on by the people. And you know what else is voted on by the people? – The midterm elections of Nov 6. Get out and vote,” Swift said when accepting her trophy.
Elsewhere on Tuesday, New York rapper Cardi B, brought down the house with an exuberant performance of dance hit “I Like It” with J.Balvin and Bad Bunny.
Cardi B, who has had a breakout 12 months, was also named favorite hip-hop/rap artist, but she lost the best new artist category to Cuban-born Camila Cabello.
Other winners included Post Malone (male pop/rock artist), Khalid (male soul/R&B artist), and country star Carrie Underwood, who accepted her 13th American Music Award.
Boy band BTS became the first Korean group to win an American Music Award, taking the trophy for favorite social artists.
Glady Knight led a tribute to Aretha Franklin, who died of cancer in August at age 76. Other performers included Mariah Carey, Jennifer Lopez and Missy Elliott.
Some of music’s top stars, including Drake, Ed Sheeran, Beyonce, Ariana Grande, Rihanna and Kanye West, were absent on Tuesday. West was snubbed in the nominations while Beyonce, Rihanna and Grande got just one nomination each.
Apart from Swift, the show was largely politics free.
Host Tracee Ellis Ross sported a white T-shirt for part of the evening saying “I am a voter,” and presenter Billy Eichner, best known for the TV comedy “Parks and Recreation,” urged the youth audience to register to vote.
“You can go to vote.org, like Taylor Swift told you to,” Eichner said.
(Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by Leslie Adler)