2014 American Music Awards: 12 things you didn’t see on TV

Skylar Grey, left, and Nicki Minaj perform at the 2014 American Music Awards.
(Kevin Winter / Getty Images)

The American Music Awards went off without a notable hitch on Sunday.

The dozen-plus performances were overly cautious, albeit with the predictable amounts of bare skin. There were no onstage surprises, or major mishaps (other than perhaps Wyclef Jean’s inability to take off his jacket) to buzz about in the morning.

But with a three hour show, not all the action made it on air. Here are 12 things that went down at the Nokia Theatre that you probably didn’t see on TV.


1. The Nokia was a virtual zoo. Fans crammed the courtyard of L.A. Live to gawk at those entering the venue, and even crowded the lobby windows to peek inside. Unfortunately, all they could see were guests chugging cocktails before showtime.

2. At one point a show producer promised that Iggy Azalea and Jennifer Lopez were going to re-create their buzzy music video to “Booty.” “Lots of booty on the way,” he warned.

3. Sam Smith and Taylor Swift were the King and Queen of the AMAs, with both acts fielding photo opps during each commercial break. At one point, Mary J. Blige and Smith posed for photos and Khloe Kardashian came over to greet the British breakout. Swift had a constant barrage of well wishers.

4. During one commercial break, Chinese pop star Jason Zhang (a.k.a. Zhang Jie) was given the award for international artist. It was strange considering the honor isn’t mentioned anywhere on the list of winners. Even host Pitbull didn’t appear to have much of an idea about what he was doing, as he botched the presentation a few times. The crowd was confused, but Zhang was understandably thrilled and gave a lengthy speech -- in English -- where he copped to being extremely jet-lagged and then delivered an incredible cover of Michael Jackson’s “Heal the World” before attempting to thank people. Producers tried playing him offstage before having to pull him off as the show came back.

5. Literally no one in the crowd seemed to enjoy the beamed-in Garth Brooks’ performance. The majority didn’t even pretend to clap afterward. Awkward.

6. During another commercial break, show producers told the crowd to get excited for a performance by a Chinese group called the Chopstick Boys. No one had heard of them or their tune of “Little Apple,” which, according to producers, is on par with Psy’s “Gangnam Style.” The duo lip-synced the song and re-created parts of the video, which included bearded mermaids and dancers in striped PJs throwing apples to the crowd. It was weird, and no one seemed to be into it. But to be fair, we’re certain the Chinese audience watching this won’t care about Fergie singing a tune dedicated to Los Angeles. Heck, we’re not even sure if those in Chicago or New York cared.


7. After scoring the night’s biggest honor, artist of the year, One Direction’s Harry Styles pulled bandmate Niall Horan back into the crowd to catch Lopez and Azalea’s show-stopping, bootylicious closer.

8. The crowd didn’t really feel Lil Wayne’s performance. But maybe it was because the pyro was entirely too hot for the first few dozen rows. Or maybe it was for the litany of four-letter words that he dropped.

9. Selena Gomez may have needed a prayer to get her through the emotional debut of “The Heart Wants What It Wants,” (she could be seen taking deep breaths and uttering “Thank You, Jesus” during the number) but right after she found solace in close pal Swift, who held her in a long embrace afterward.

10. Ariana Grande’s brother, Frankie, seemed to be clamoring for attention. His painted-on dress shirt didn’t get much notice inside the Nokia, so he attempted to be a scene stealer the entire night, dancing with Khloe Kardashian one minute and Meghan Trainer the next.

11. No other fan base proved to be as powerful as 13 to 17-year-old fangirls. The very large delegation that packed the balcony of the Nokia Theatre cared about only four acts: One Direction, 5 Seconds of Summer, Taylor Swift and Lorde. The mere mention of any of them, especially the two boy bands, elicited ear-ringing screams. Further proof of their power? Both boy bands took home some of the night’s biggest honors including new artist (5SOS) and artist of the year (1D).

12. Although there were nearly 20 performances during the three-hour spectacle, only four acts got to use the entire stage: Swift’s ambitious opening, Pitbull’s medley, Fergie’s comeback and Azalea and Lopez’s much-hyped closer. Everyone else made due with half-stage set-ups.