Perhaps scarred from years past, the American Music Awards were relatively tame Sunday night, both onstage and the red carpet.
Charli XCX, above, was a clear standout, with a prom-themed "Boom Clap" into an almost frightening resurrection of early '00s Hot Topic goth for "Break the Rules." The most potentially precarious performances, Lil Wayne with Christina Milian and Jennifer Lopez with Iggy Azalea, went off without a hitch, although the latter was a teeny tiny bit reminiscent of one Beyoncé, while the former was confusing on the level of... Lil Wayne and Christina Milian. Fortunately, the best looks were a little more straightforward than all of that.
The leg show Jordin Sparks and Kylie Jenner were giving in plunging necklined gowns was perfectly gorgeous, formal enough for an awards event but also fun because you know, the music industry isn't all that serious. Nicki Minaj got her playful party frock on in Spring 2015 Alexander Wang, while Charli XCX wore a "mermaid heat map" two-piece by Australian partystarters Discount Universe. It showed via sequins where every woman sweats the most, an essentially feminist ensemble. Like, can I just have a vag sweatline in every outfit? It's so real.
In theory we're supposed to love Heidi Klum in Versace because she is a model but this thing looks hot-glued together and it's too summery for November anyway. Maybe next time. Lauren Elizabeth's outfit time-traveled from different times of the day and landed upon her in a quantum mixup of epic proportions, but it wasn't as bad as Ansel Elgort, who told Giuliana Rancic on E!'s preshow that he was inspired by a "colonial" look. He does not know what "colonial" means in definition, practice, or fashion. Also dubious: Skylar Grey, who wore not one but two separate beanies that said "Hoodrat," showing her loyalty to the super-mean streets of Mazomanie, Wisconsin, a small village outside Madison where she grew up playing folk music with her mother. THUGLIFE.
Julianne Hough's dress is totally serviceable in theory but it's impossible to look at her without remembering that time she did blackface for Halloween. Elizabeth Banks' Peter Pilotto frock, in the same shade of coral, is about to stab you in the eyes with those patchwork quilt-ass lace party darts. No bueno and Peter Pilotto is overrated.
Not even opposed to a shortset on the red carpet, but Star Jones brought her own patchwork to the table, arriving in a painful clash of patterns and fabrics that screamed Atlantic City. FINALLY: Albanian singer Bleona in the pasties and body stocking. Girl. No. This is Rihanna's world and you're just living in it.
Oh, the pantsuits! Definitely was not here for Iggy Azalea winning Best Hip-Hop Album (over Drake?! FOH) but would offer her a consolation award for best and least expected acceptance look, no doubt a conservative contrast to all the leotards she wore onstage the rest of the night. Jessie J did her thing in Prada winter whites, as did Gigi Hadid's Prabal Gurung, which made more sense than Gigi Hadid does. (Seriously, can someone please explain Gigi Hadid's deal?) Zendaya was the queen, though, in a discofied pantsuit and bikini top by Georgine. On the E! red carpet, Terrence J was all "yo what is this outfit's deal" and she was like "I'm 18 and I'm trying to have fun so let me live." (Paraphrased.) She also claimed she does not work out and just has a bananas metabolism to which I would like to put aside my deep, deep sad-metabolism rage and say: get it while you live it, Zendaya.
Also trending: floorlength inkblack gowns because #deathgoth. Tracee Ellis Ross's turtleneck was my fave, because she was giving afterhours librarian business, but Selena Gomez, Mary J. Blige, and gross Jennie "Donnie has the perfect D" McCarthy also looked extremely Morticia Addams chic.
Ms. Diana Ross, mother of Tracee, wore one too, in an ostrich feather stole. LIFE ROLE MODEL.
Also gotta shout out Taylor Swift's performance dress, a metallic brown breakaway frock custom-made by Kuwaiti designer Yousef Al-Jasmi, who also made a gilded catsuit for Jessie J's "Bang Bang" performance later in the night. Good looks.
We have now arrived at the "I have questions" segment of this GBU, aka "?????????" Let's start with Ariana Grande's brother, Frankie J Grande. While I admire his commitment to his personal style (and also to his abs), what the EFF was he thinking wearing black sneakers with pastel pants?! Just kidding, he is wearing an airbrushed body paint "shirt" and me no compute. Actually not kidding, those kicks are bothering me.
Wyclef Jean, presumably juiced from being referred to as a "reggae legend" whilst performing with white reggae bros MAGIC!, also showed off his legendary gymnastics skills in full-body leather. I don't even know, man. Awards shows are weird.
IN CONCLUSION: HOW DOES JENNIFER LOPEZ EVEN EXIST? She looks 1000% at all times, with no compunction. She's 45 in Reem Acra and will out-dance you, out-red carpet you, and stunt upon your nudity with the flick of a wrist. ORIGINAL FLY GIRL, we salute you.
Images via Getty.