When it comes to the American Music Awards, let's face it: It's all about the performances. And this year's AMAs were no exception. But will anyone be talking about the 15 performances at this Sunday's AMAs that weren't Miley Cyrus dueting with a crying, creepy robot-cat? Let's rank all of the performances and find out...
1. Miley Cyrus
The only duet that received more attention at this year's American Music Awards than Lady Gaga and R. Kelly's (more about them in a bit) was Miley, in a kitty-printed bikini, singing "Wrecking Ball"…with a lip-synching, weeping, animatronic space-cat. If there's anything bigger on the Internets than Miley Cyrus, it's cats — so, basically, the Web exploded during this performance. The tweets, memes, and GIFs came fast, furious, and furry. And that extremely GIFable cat literally got Miley's tongue at the very end of the song. Meow!
2. Lady Gaga & R. Kelly
If there were ever a strong case to be made for R. Kelly shooting about 50 more chapters of "Trapped in the Closet" starring Gaga, it would be their wonderfully wackadoodle performance at the 2013 AMAs. Their recent "SNL" performance of ARTPOP's best track, "Do What U Want," was just a basic disco twerkout, but their AMAs duet had a whole (seemingly JFK/Marilyn, Clinton/Lewinsky-inspired) plot about President Kelly and his torrid affair with a leotarded secretary. It was all very awesome, further proof that Gaga can do whatever she wants.
3. Ariana Grande
How refreshing! This mega-talented Favorite New Artist-winner simply sang — and kept it classy — and she managed to upstage most of the night's performers in the process.
4. Justin Timberlake
Yep, this is what true talent looks like, people. Those impressionable One Direction boys should check out this tour de force by the ex-boy band heartthrob with "The Tennessee Kids," and dream that they can have a career like JT's in 10 years.
5. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
The energy in the room elevated so high the ceiling couldn't hold it, when these AMAs favorites hit the stage for "Can't Hold Us." Macklemore can always be counted on for a rousing performance, and he definitely didn't disappoint Sunday.
6. A Great Big World & Christina Aguilera
How interesting (and awesome) that many of the standout performances of the night just came down to great singing and songwriting. Less proved to be more when Lady Xtina joined buzz band A Great Big World for a tasteful piano duet.
7. Jennifer Lopez
Performing a special tribute to late salsa star Celia Cruz, J.Lo wasn't quite at Celia's level, but she did sing live and dance up a storm, and her performance was one of the most colorful and exciting of the night. And that metallic bodysuit? ¡Muy caliente!
8. One Direction
Wow, was this a surprise unbilled performance by Mumford & Sons? Nope. It was the all-grown-up, cleaned-up-nice, One Direction, warbling their mature, very mom-friendly new single, "Story Of My Life." Looks like this boy band is well on its way to becoming man band.
9. Imagine Dragons
Imagine Dragons had held it down for the entire rock genre at this year's AMAs. With copious clouds of dry-ice fog, a roaringly radioactive lead vocal, and a Fleetwood Mac-does-Tusk-style drum solo, the Nevada band definitely rocked it.
10. Katy Perry
Katy channeled a little bit of Madonna's "Nothing Really Matters" video (and a lotta a bit of Culture Club's "Miss Me Blind" video) for her Japanese-themed opening performance. It was a lovely way to kick off the show.
11. Kendrick Lamar
Compton's finest gave a strong, if straightforward, performance of "Swimming Pools."
12. Luke Bryan
The king of "bro country" bro'd it out pretty entertainingly during this pleasant performance.
13. Florida Georgia Line & Nelly
RiRi won the Icon Award!
15. Pitbull & Ke$ha
16. TLC & Lil Mama
When word broke out that TLC would be performing their signature song "Waterfalls" with special guest Lil Mama filling in for the late Left Eye, we were ready for a real red light special.
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