Fashion Cowboys and the Atrociously Arty Dominated the 2019 American Music Awards Red Carpet

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The 2019 American Music Awards took place Sunday night in Los Angeles, but anyone who self-identifies as a Swiftie probably already knew that. (I’ll never tell.) When the show wasn’t congratulating the songwriter and presumably forcing Shania Twain to cover “Shake It Off” in her honor, a bunch of other famous musicians showed up in surprisingly adventurous looks. I’m proud of them for taking risks, even if, for many, “taking risks” simply meant dressing up like a cowboy-man.

Case in point: Diplo’s MCM fit. Perhaps he’s so sick of appropriating musical styles he’s decided to pivot the yeehaw agenda a year late. On the flip side, Lil Nas X’s neon green/leopard print/cropped blazer/matching gloves/dangling earrings ensemble was by far the best of the night. As a child of the early ‘90s, it reminded me of the character Powerline from A Goofy Movie, a role very clearly inspired by Prince. Sue me, but I also like Post Malone’s three-piece. I only wish he kept it simple with an all-white or -black cowboy hat. This one is a little too bawitdaba da bang da bang diggy diggy diggy, if you catch my drift.

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Now it is time for neon, the trend that will never die. Dua Lipa’s hot pink Miu Miu dress is a bit reserved for her, but I like it. Selena Gomez’s Versace mini dress was made for her bob and Lizzo in orange Valentino is so fun, just not as fun as that super-itty-bitty-micro bag.

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When it comes to showing up on a red carpet, Billy Porter never disappoints. His Thom Browne outfit with Swiss cheese Stephen Jones hat belongs in the MoMA. Halsey, too, has been pushing her artistic boundaries of late: I love the hidden brows and watercolor eye makeup, which corresponds perfectly with this Marc Jacobs, Monet-meets-Lisa Frank gown.

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Man, I feel like Shania Twain killed it in champagne and sequins.

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Carole King shines bright like a diamond. Maya Hawke’s Victorian goth Dior dress looks like it could read my Tarot and I’d love to hear more. Jamie Lee Curtis’s Valentino top and Alexandre Vauthier pants are so simple and elegant, a combination outside of the realm of possibility for most of us.

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I’ve never thought much of 13 Reasons Why’s Katherine Langford red carpet looks, but this all-red Rodarte has me questioning everything I’ve ever known. It is so good. Michael Ealy needs to teach some of these other mans how to dress. Patrick Starr’s gold jumpsuit with exaggerated sleeves is so fun, I can’t be mad.

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As soon as I was able to disregard my fear of how dirty her train will become by the end of the night, I settled on this reaction: Misty Copeland wore the sexy angel mullet of gowns: business on top, divine on bottom.

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Christina Aguilera is an absolute sculpture in Jean Paul Gaultier.

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Constance Wu is pretty in pastel-pink Prada. Sonna Rele’s baby blue mock neck dress is bringing back a high-low cut. Jharrel Jerome’s monochromatic fit must be adored.

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Green and purple is an underrated color combination, and I can’t believe these were the celebrities brave enough to try it: Kelly Osbourne’s floor-length, deep green velvet and black bow partners perfectly with her meticulously Manic Panic-ed lavender locks. Shawn Mendes is a hot Joker in Paul Smith.

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Heidi Klum is ready for prom in a blue Monsoori dress. Ella Mai’s Alexandre Vauthier dress looks like a night sky; it’s gorgeous. Ciara in Balmain is a top five look—the oversize blazer, the off-color flared pants, the statement turquoise—come, on, man.

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And now, for the couples corner. Sara Levy got lost on the way to a very Grecian wedding and Dan Levy looked impossibly cool, as he always does. If anyone else wore this, I’d think they’re a real asshole. Pete Wentz wore a plain Givenchy suit and Rivers Cuomo forgot they were doing the whole award show thing today. Rich the Kid and Tori Brixx did that.

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No one brings big, colorful energy to a room like Big Freedia, and don’t you forget it. Pia Mia’s wide-leg jumpsuit is an unexpected fabric, and it works. Kesha in Versace is fine; I’m more enamored by the fact that she pulled off the wet hair look. Miley, who?

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Where in the world is Tyra Banks... going in this Don Morphy suit? Billie Eilish is a Burberry beekeeper, and while I typically adore her oversized looks, she can keep this one. Camila Cabello’s Oscar de la Renta dress is more Oscars than AMAs. It’s also a little too antiqued for this one.

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I like Cobie Smulders in Dundas. Jameela Jamil’s Pamela Roland dress might be her least Tahani Al-Jamil-esque cut to date, and she looks mad uncomfortable about it. Julissa Bermudez is dripping in melted titanium. It’s glorious.

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Carrie Underwood is a country gal and nothing says Music City like a sequined Stello dress. Regina King’s Ashi Studio dress is so glam, and I love the textured hair detail. Taylor Swift’s Julien Macdonald dress and thigh-high Casadei boots played it safe, but I like it.

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I’ve saved the least for last: Kelsea Ballerini’s Gucci suit looks a little too drab for her. Jenna Dewan’s Emporio Armani gown isn’t anything special, and Paula Abdul’s Charbel Zoe dress is a bit too ‘80s for the ‘80s pop queen—bring us into the future, straight up.

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