Following that, singer-songwriter GOAT Carole King handed the AMA to Swift, who thanked ballet dancers Misty Copeland and Craig Hall for dancing as she performed "Lover" and Halsey and Camila Cabello for joining her during a raucous "Shake It Off." "That performance was even more fun than I hoped it would be," she said.
Swift also paid homage to the legend with her on stage. "I can’t believe that it’s Carole King -- that it’s you -- who gave me this award. My parents are here tonight and they would listen to Tapestry and all your other records in high school…when they had my brother and I, they played those records for us. When I fell in love with music, it was right around when I realized how marvelous it was an artist could transcend so many different phases and changes in people’s lives. You taught me that’s a possibility."
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Swift wrapped her speech with a tribute to the fans the memories they've given her. "All anyone in this room wants is to create something that will last. The fact that this is an award that celebrates a decade of hard work and art and fun and memories -- all that matters to me is the memories I’ve had with you guys, the fans, over the years. Because we’ve had fun, incredible, exhilarating, extraordinary times together and may it continue."
"Thank you for being the reason I’m on this stage…I’m so lucky to get to do this."
Later on, after winning the artist of the year award, Swift returned to the stage and got real. "The last year of my life has had some of the most amazing times and also some of the hardest things I've gone through in my life -- a lot of them are things that haven’t been public," she said. "The fans who have hung in there for 15 years of me doing this... this year for me has been a lot, a lot of good and a lot of really complicated, so on behalf of my family and me, thank you so much for being there and for caring."