Let's Relive the 12 Most Iconic American Music Awards Performances Through the Years

Since 1973, the American Music Awards have blessed music-lovers with truly epic performances. Whether it's a gorgeous vocal or a stunning set, you're bound to dig up at least one showcase that stuns every year. While it's hard to boil down the very best numbers from all 48 years of the award show's existence, there have been undeniable showstoppers, which include everything from Prince's "Purple Rain" in 1985 to Beyoncé's "Single Ladies" in 2008. Scroll ahead for a compilation of sounds and dance moves that surely won't disappoint — we've rounded up the most iconic performances throughout the AMAs' history.

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Prince Performing "Purple Rain" at the 1985 AMAs

Prince had the out-of-this-world stage presence and vocals to make a song feel both intimate and dynamite at the same time — this memorable performance of "Purple Rain" will forever go down in history as one of the AMAs' best.

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Janet Jackson Performing "Control" at the 1987 AMAs

Janet Jackson's moves were, suffice to say, unparalleled in this late '80s performance of "Control."

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Whitney Houston Performing "I Have Nothing" Medley at the 1994 AMAs

Whitney Houston could stand in one place during a performance and still manage to control the attention of an entire arena for an entire 10 minutes. She did exactly that in this emotive medley of "I Loves You, Porgy," "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going," and "I Have Nothing."

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Britney Spears Performing "I'm Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman" at the 2002 AMAs

We've come to love Britney for always pulling out all the stops when it comes to wardrobe, choreography, and set design. When she sang "I'm Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman" at the 2002 AMAs, she blessed us with a more scaled-down and tender showcase, focusing instead on her spectacular vocals.

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Beyoncé Performing "Single Ladies" at the 2008 AMAs

Queen Bey has so many iconic performances, but the one from the 2008 AMAs has to be one of her very best. The choreography, hairography, and vocals all confirmed that no one can top Beyoncé — except Beyoncé.

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Lady Gaga Performing "Bad Romance" and "Speechless" at the 2009 AMAs

The one thing that Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta is going to give us is a show — this double feature of "Bad Romance" and "Speechless" did just that. The first part of the performance featured fun dance moves in blinking nude bodysuits, while the latter half was more focused on delivering an impeccable vocal performance.

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Miley Cyrus Performing "Wrecking Ball" at the 2013 AMAs

Who can make you emotional while wearing a cat print two-piece suit in front of a low-resolution cat that's crying out diamonds? Why, it's Miley Cyrus flaunting her powerful vocals as she closed out the 2013 AMAs with "Wrecking Ball."

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Bruno Mars Performing "24K Magic" at the 2016 AMAs

It's easy to overlook this smooth and easy version of "24K Magic" because it's what we've come to expect from Bruno Mars every time. But there's really no denying how this fun performance hyped up the crowd's energy exponentially.

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BTS Performing "DNA" at the 2017 AMAs

Whether or not you're part of the devoted ARMY or not, BTS undeniably crushed this historical 2017 performance of "DNA" with smooth vocals and in-sync dance moves. They became the first K-Pop group ever to perform at the show.

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Taylor Swift Performing "I Did Something Bad" at the 2018 AMAs

Between gritty red lighting, roaring flames, and leather attire, Taylor, deep in her Reputation era, gave one hell of a performance combining killer stage presence and vocals. Honorable mentions include her impeccable 2014 "Blank Space" and 2019 Artist of the Decade medley.

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Megan Thee Stallion Performing "Body" at the 2020 AMAs

From the moment Megan descended from the ceiling at the 2020 AMAs, we just knew that this was going to be an epic performance. Not only does she stay in pocket the entire time, but she also looked great in her sheer and glittery black bodysuit — and she did not disappoint with the choreography.