2018 American Music Awards to include Taylor Swift, a tribute to Aretha and more

On tonight’s American Music Awards show, airing on ABC, Taylor Swift is opening the telecast with her first awards show performance in three years.

“It’s gonna be pretty incredible,” Producer Baz Halpin told ABC News.

“I mean, everybody has high expectations from Taylor Swift performances. She always wows and amazes, and I think she’s gonna continue that, from what I’ve seen so far,” Halpin said.

But that won’t be the only performance people will be talking about Wednesday morning, according to executive producer Mark Bracco.

“One thing I’m really excited about is that for the first time ever on TV we have Cardi B, J Balvin and Bad Bunny doing ‘I Like It Like That,’ which really was the song of the summer,” he said. “And it’s just going to be a huge, big, colorful, loud performance.”

But with a lineup that features Mariah Carey, Jennifer Lopez, Shawn Mendes, Camila Cabello and more, the telecast will basically be “one superstar after another,” Bracco said.

“I think it’s going to be a night where everybody’s going to think, ‘Wow, nobody’s going to top that,'” he said.

“[It’s] all leading up to our finale,” Bracco continued. “The Aretha Franklin tribute that’s just going to bring the house down.”

The tribute to the Queen of Soul will be a gospel production featuring Gladys Knight, Ledisi, Mary Mary, Donnie McClurkin and CeCe Winans. Bracco said he expects the performance to be very emotional, inspiring “a lot of tears” and “lots of joy.”

Tracee Ellis Ross will host the 2018 American Music Awards live from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles at 8 p.m. ET tonight on ABC. Drake and Cardi B have the highest number of nominations, with eight each.

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