Taylor Swift made it three artist of the year wins in a row at the American Music Awards – and confirmed she is in the process of re-recording her old music.
The pop titan was not at the ceremony in Los Angeles and delivered her acceptance speech remotely.
She revealed the reason she could not make the show was because she was in the studio working on new versions of her back catalogue.
It is in response to the master recordings of her first six albums being sold against her wishes to a private equity firm by prominent talent manager Scooter Braun.
Swift, who released the album Folklore in July, said: “This is a fan-voted award which means so much to me.
“You guys have been beyond wonderful all the years of my career but especially this one, when we’ve been so far apart, we haven’t been able to see each other in concert but I still feel really connected to you through the music and your reaction to Folklore and all the ways in which your imagination honoured that album.
“I just love you so much and I’m really, really lucky because of you.”
Swift added: “The reason I’m not there tonight is I’m actually re-recording all of my old music in the studio where we originally recorded it, so it’s been amazing and I can’t wait for you to hear it.”
Swift, who had earlier mischievously tweeted “not a lot going on at the moment,” extended her record for most artist of the year wins at the AMAs, with six.
Swift, who took the top prize ahead of Bieber, The Weeknd, Post Malone and Roddy Ricch, also won favourite music video for Cardigan and favourite pop/rock female artist.
Before the 30-year-old’s late, show-stealing cameo, some of the biggest names in music had taken to the stage to perform.
They included Jennifer Lopez, Katy Perry, Billie Eilish, BTS, Dua Lipa, Megan Thee Stallion, Justin Bieber and Lewis Capaldi.
Only a limited audience – all wearing masks – was allowed inside the Microsoft Theatre in downtown Los Angeles. The city is in the grip of a dramatically worsening pandemic.
Canadian star The Weeknd – wearing bandages over his face in line with the look from his latest album After Hours – was named favourite Soul/R&B male and took home favourite soul/R&B song for Heartless, as well as the album equivalent.
K-pop megastars BTS won the favourite pop/rock duo/group award, accepting the prize from South Korea. They also closed the show with a performance from their home country.
Lopez, showing off her new shorter, edgier hairstyle, delivered a steamy performance alongside Colombian singer Maluma.
Lopez, 51, wore a sheer black outfit for the songs Pa Ti and Lonely, which will feature on the soundtrack of upcoming rom-com Marry Me.
Megan Thee Stallion, fresh from the release of her debut album Good News, performed the song Body live for the first time and accepted the prize for favourite rap/hip-hop song on behalf of herself and Cardi B for the X-rated WAP.
Doja Cat was named new artist of the year.
The night marked Perry’s return to an awards show stage for the first time since giving birth to a daughter in August and she performed her track Only Love alongside singer-songwriter Darius Rucker.
Dua Lipa won the award for favourite pop/rock song for Don’t Start Now and delivered her acceptance speech from London’s Royal Albert Hall. She also beamed in a performance from the historic venue.
Teen pop sensation Eilish performed her new track Therefore I Am.