American Music Awards, News, Music News

2021 AMAs Preview: What to Expect

The 49th Annual American Music Awards will be broadcast live this Sunday, November 21, from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. It will recognize and celebrate the most popular artists, singles, and albums of 2021.

As usual, winners will be chosen based on live online votes. This year, voting also took place on TikTok and there are a few new categories! They include Favorite Trending Song, Favorite Gospel Artist, and Favorite Latin Duo or Group.

Other small updates to this year's ceremony include the change in name of the pop/rock category to pop, alternative rock to rock, soul/R&B to R&B, and rap/hip-hop to hip-hop. Without further ado, let's get into the event's details!

Hosts & Presenters:

Cardi B will make history as the second female rapper, following Queen Latifah, to host the AMAs. Additionally, it will be Cardi's first time hosting an awards show.

Notably, it is the fifth consecutive year a Black female star will host the AMAs. Cardi B follows actress Tracee Ellis Ross (2017-18), R&B star Ciara (2019), and actress Taraji P. Henson (2020) in the hosting role. You can find more details about Cardi's hosting stint here.

As for presenters, the lineup includes famous musicians, models, and movie stars. Machine Gun Kelly, JoJo Siwa, Billy Porter, Brandy, Ansel Elgort, Rachel Zegler, Anthony Ramos, Liza Koshy, and Winnie Harlow will be among those presenting awards. Also on the list are JB Smoove, Marsai Martin, and Madelyn Cline.


Among those performing are Olivia Rodrigo, Bad Bunny with Tainy and Julieta Venegas, Carrie Underwood and Jason Aldean, Kane Brown, New Edition with New Kids on the Block, Diplo, Måneskin, Mickey Guyton, Tyler, the Creator, Walker Hayes, Zoe Wees, Silk Sonic, and Chlöe.

BTS will be performing twice at this year's ceremony. First, they'll be singing alongside Coldplay for a performance of "My Universe" from the latter band's new album Music of the Spheres. After that, the K-pop group will team up with rapper Megan Thee Stallion for another performance.


Teenage sensation Olivia Rodrigo leads the pack in her AMAs debut with seven nods, including Artist of the Year. She’s followed by The Weeknd with six nominations, also including Artist of the Year.

Other artists with multiple nominations include Bad Bunny, Doja Cat, and Giveon, who each have five nods. Bad Bunny dominates in the Latin categories, scoring a double nod for Favorite Latin Album, while Doja Cat, 2020's New Artist of the Year, is recognized in the Favorite Female R&B Artist and Favorite R&B Album categories, among others.

Giveon's AMAs debut includes nominations for New Artist of the Year, Favorite Male R&B Artist, and Collaboration of the Year for his hit song with Justin Bieber, "Peaches."

For a full list of nominations, head over to the AMAs official website. Check out some of the biggest categories and nominees below.

Artist of the Year
Ariana Gande
Olivia Rodrigo
Taylor Swift
The Weeknd

New Artist of the Year
24k Goldn
Masked Wolf
Olivia Rodrigo

Collaboration of the Year
24kGoldn ft. iann dior - "Mood"
Bad Bunny & Jhay Cortez - "DÁKITI"
Chris Brown & Young Thug - "Go Crazy"
Justin Bieber ft. Daniel Caesar & Giveon - "Peaches"

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 Male Pop Artist
Ed Sheeran
Justin Bieber
Lil Nas X
The Weeknd

Favorite Female Pop Artist
Ariana Grande
Doja Cat
Dua Lipa
Olivia Rodrigo
Taylor Swift

Favorite Pop Duo or Group
Glass Animals
Maroon 5
Silk Sonic (Bruno Mars, Anderson .Paak)

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

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

How To Watch:

To watch the AMAs live, tune in to ABC at 8pm ET / 5pm PT or use Hulu (Live), YouTube TV, Sling TV, or Fubo TV. The awards will be available to stream the following day on Hulu.

Pre-Show Information:

People and Entertainment Weekly will be hosting a "Red Carpet LIVE" pre-show that will start at 6:30pm ET and will be available to watch live on YouTube. PEOPLE correspondent Jeremy Parsons and People Every Day host Janine Rubenstein will interview the stars as they arrive for the awards ceremony. It will also feature commentary around this year's AMAs.

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Article Image: The Weeknd at the Harper's Bazaar Icons Portfolio Launch Party in 2017, Cardi B wearing her iconic flower hat and dress for the 2018 American Music Awards, and a portrait of Olivia Rodrigo during her visit to the White House in July 2021. (everett225 and Featureflash via DepositPhotos, White House Staff [Available through Public Domain] via Wikimedia Commons.)

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About Kathryn Milewski

  • New Jersey