Taylor Swift has been an awards show winner for years… in more ways than one. In addition to bagging a bevy of awards, the pretty 23-year-old has been tapped to perform a ton of times. We count down our top 10 favorite award show performances from the superstar.
42nd Annual CMA Awards
This is what we would dub an oldie but goodie — insomuch as you can call anything an oldie that comes from a 23-year-old country/pop star. For the 42nd Annual CMA Awards in 2008, Taylor performed the wildly successful “Love Story” in fairytale fashion. While it’s true her voice is a bit shaky, it was one of the earliest of her large-scale productions. And she managed to traverse a bunch of stairs in a big-a** dress.
2013 Billboard Music Awards
The Billboard 2013 Awards slanted decidedly provocative this year, but — true to form — Taylor Swift kept her performance PG-13. The infectious (and enormous!) production of “22,” which started backstage, had the audience up and swaying from the first catchy beat. Oh, and Taylor broke it down with the Jabbawockeez, the breakdancing winners of America’s Best Dance Crew Season 1.
2010 MTV Video Music Awards
This performance merits a spot in Taylor’s top 10 if for no other reason than the girl delivered it under an unimaginable amount of pressure. The previous year, Kanye West infamously ripped the mic from her hand and robbed her of her award-winning moment. Her performance at the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards was a stirring surprise, subtly addressing the upset. On a simple, dark stage, images of Kanye-gate flashed across an old television set before Taylor sang the redemptive-themed “Innocent.”
45th Annual CMA Awards
A bit of a departure from Taylor’s typical big-budget productions, the singer turned in a remarkably toned-down performance at the 45th Annual CMA Awards in 2011. Singing the hit “Ours,” Taylor remained perched on a sofa in a sweet little living room vignette for the duration of the completely stripped-down rendition. It was lovely and genuine… and the vocal equivalent of the middle finger to all those detractors who doubt Taylor can actually sing.
55th Annual Grammy Awards
It just wouldn’t be a T. Swift song if it didn’t call out some wily guy who’d recently wronged her, now would it? In her circus-esque opening act for the 55th Grammy Awards, Taylor one-upped herself. Not only did she sing her break-up anthem “We are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” but the superstar even broke out in a mocking English accent reportedly aimed at her ex, One Direction’s Harry Styles.
2013 American Country Music Awards
Things have officially come full circle for Taylor Swift. The girl whose first single was titled “Tim McGraw” joined the country stud himself onstage at the 2013 American Country Music Awards for “Highway Don’t Care.” True, it wasn’t the first time the two had collaborated, but it was momentous nonetheless. Being joined by Keith Urban? That was just icing on the cake.
54th Annual Grammy Awards
If we had to sum up Taylor’s performance of “Mean” at the 54th Grammy Awards, we’d call it bluegrass chic. Strumming a banjo amongst an amalgamation of decorative debris, Taylor looked precious — and rural — in a floral print dress and long side braid, and her voice sounded clear and pure. Admittedly, when she and her junkyard orchestra formed a “V” and started dancing down the stage, we were crossing our fingers for a Dirty Dancing “lift” moment à la Johnny and Baby.
2014 American Music Awards
In one of her first major performances since transitioning completely into pop, Taylor Swift opened the 2014 AMAs with the second single off of her hot 1989 album, “Blank Space.” And, well, in true Taylor fashion — it was epic. The super elaborate set was like something out of a dream, and Swift looked like a bronzed goddess. We think it’s safe to say this girl isn’t going anywhere anytime soon — country, pop… she can (and will) do it all.
46th Annual CMA Awards
There are many reasons Taylor’s rendition of “Begin Again” at the 46th Annual CMA Awards garnered a standing ovation. The set, which was fashioned like a quaint bistro in Paris, twinkled with strings of lights and the night-lit Eiffel Tower. Taylor, in a vintage-style red frock with matching bold red lips, looked exquisite. Sitting at a small bistro set, she delivered a subtle yet powerful performance worthy of hype.
2013 BRIT Awards
Apparently, Taylor amps up the sex appeal when she hops the pond. In a massive production of “I Knew You Were Trouble” — we’re talking fire and ice a fleet of what can only be described as fantastical maids and matadors — Taylor transformed from virginal in a high-collared white gown to, well, not so virginal in a sexy little black negligee number. She exuded a gorgeous, grown-up vibe…. and loads of confidence. Plus, the techno light show remix was killer.
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