The most telling moment of the 2015 American Music Awards wasn't captured on air during Sunday's three-hour telecast.
Instead, it happened during a commercial break when a voice announced — via loudspeaker — that Taylor Swift's insta-hit "Blank Space" had taken the trophy for song of the year.
The night's biggest award wasn't doled out during the main telecast, but that shouldn't come as a surprise. Swift didn't bother to show up to the awards, or even film an acceptance speech.
But that didn't matter to the thousands of young fans who crammed the Microsoft Theatre for Sunday's show. Just the announcement of her name and headshot of the country-turned-pop superstar was enough to send them into hysterics.
For the AMA audience, it's about a feeling of proximity to the acts they have logged endless hours voting online for, tweeting about and shamelessly "stanning" for.
Sunday's ceremony shouldn't be measured in awards or best-dressed lists. Instead, fans shrill screams are the most appropriate way to sum up the "winners" of the evening.
Based on the scream factor, One Direction was clearly the evening's biggest success story.
The English-Irish boy band nabbed fewer trophies than Swift (she took home three to their two) but tell that to the gaggle of teenage girls who stomped through a crowd of onlookers and revelers as the group made its entrance, the ear splitting screams during their sleepy performance or the thongs of fans who nearly drowned them out during their acceptance speech early into the night.
In fact, fan testimonials rang out over Microsoft Theatre much clearer -- and more effectively -- than any single performer of the night.
That guy professing his love for Jennifer Lopez during the host's sizzling dance medley at the top of the show? He'd eventually be drowned out by shrieks for the Weeknd and Nick Jonas, a sing along with Selena Gomez or hollers for Nicki Minaj.
The appearance of Justin Bieber doing the robot during a song elicited just as many cheers as his win for collaboration, his performance — and his name being called on the loud speaker.
It really didn't matter what happened on that stage or who won what. For most of the audience, just the proximity to the action was enough.