The Weeknd, with bandaged face, picks up American Music Award win

The Weeknd arrives at the international premiere of ‘Uncut Gems’ at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) in Toronto, Ontario, Canada September 9, 2019. —— Reuters pic

LOS ANGELES, Nov 23 — Canadian musician The Weeknd, wearing a face bandage, picked up the first of eight potential American Music Awards yesterday in a show held in Los Angeles amid tight coronavirus restrictions.

The Weeknd accepted the trophy for best soul/R&B album for After Hours and later performed sporting a large white bandage that wrapped around his face and nose.

He gave no reason for his appearance, which confused fans on social media, but it appeared to be an artistic choice that started with his March album cover where he sported a bloodied and broken nose.

The Weeknd and California rapper Roddy Ricch went into the fan-voted awards show with a leading eight nominations apiece.

Both musicians are competing for the top award — artist of the year — along with Justin Bieber, Post Malone and Taylor Swift. It will be announced towards the end of the three hour show that featured a mix of live and pre-recorded performances in front of a limited, socially distanced audience.

“I’m just happy to be off the couch and in some real fashion,” said host Taraji P. Henson, opening the show.

“It has been a long year and now that 2020 is coming to an end it’s time to remember that we are one country, you’ all. We need to heal,” the Empire actress said.

Masked dancers and stripped-down performances were the order of the night, kicking off with Bieber singing his hits Lonely and Holy before being joined by Shawn Mendes for their duet Monster.

The show celebrated the surge in popularity of Latin music with expanded categories and a steamy performance by Jennifer Lopez and Colombian singer Maluma singing Lonely in both English and Spanish.

Becky G, whose parents are Mexican-American, won for best female Latin artist and dedicated her award to immigrant workers.

Rapper Megan Thee Stallion marked her debut performance at the American Music Awards with Body and later accepted the best rap/hip-hop song trophy for her raunchy summer collaboration WAP with Cardi B.

Bieber and country singers Dan + Shay won the best country song for 10,000 Hours, while Katy Perry gave her first major performance since giving birth to a baby girl in August. — Reuters