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Ariana Grande Has Breakout Moment at 2013 American Music Awards

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Ariana Grande performs on stage at the American Music Awards at the Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on Sunday, Nov. 24, …

Let's do a quick tally: At the 2013 American Music Awards, we saw Trojan horses (Lady Gaga), eyebrows (Miley Cyrus), Daisy Dukes (Ke$ha), and really long legs (Taylor Swift).

And then there was Ariana Grande.

If there were any doubts about the young singer, they were dispelled tonight.

Grande, 20, who is best known for her role as lovable ditz Cat Valentine on Nickelodeon's "Victorious" and spinoff "Sam & Cat," has just barely started her official solo music career with the August release of her debut album Yours Truly. Still, she managed to capture the AMAs audience singlehandedly with a mesmerizing rendition of her song "Tattooed Heart" — as well as score the night's New Artist of the Year award, beating out a formidable and multi-genre slate of competition including Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Phillip Phillips, Imagine Dragons, and Florida Georgia Line.

Garbed in a simple, classic, but eye-catching red-sequined gown, the young vocalist proved that, whatever her background, her talent is completely gimmick-free. "That was the most nerve wracking thing ever," she tweeted shortly after.

However, her nerves clearly did not translate to the audience. Before even receiving the New Artist recognition, Grande amassed a tidal wave of social media support following her moving performance, with fans raving such superlative praise as "amazing," "adorable," "perfection," and "gorgeous" over and over on Twitter.

— Matt Whitfield (@lifeontheMlist) November 25, 2013

Grande was in complete command of herself while singing, but became charmingly flustered when taking the stage to accept her award for New Artist. After explaining that her mom had put together a script for her (which she pulled out of her bodice), the young star rattled through her thank-you's at warp speed, managing to get out a comprehensive list of gratitude in mere seconds.

Less rapid than her acceptance speech has been Grande's path to this particular award. Although she's had a long history of vocal performance in musical projects, Grande didn't start conceiving her solo album until 2011. Displeased with the direction it started to take, she continued to work and perfect the set until its release in August two years later. She's listed as a co-writer on six of the songs, and the record debuted at No. 1 upon its first week of release.

"Victorious?" Indeed.

The 2013 American Music Awards were held at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on November 24, 2013 in Los Angeles, California.

 

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