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Taylor Swift Debuts ‘I Knew You Were Trouble’ at 2012 American Music Awards

Taylor Swift
Kevin Winter, Getty Images

Taylor Swift performed her fan favorite ‘Red’ track, ‘I Knew You Were Trouble,’ live for the first time at the 2012 American Music Awards. How’d she fare?

Well, she’s Taylor Swift, so she put on a show. Sporting a combination ball and wedding gown and weirdly awesome glittery oxfords (and no fedora, yay!), Swift delivered a typically melodramatic performance of the dubstep-influenced track. Swift’s fascination with fairy tales has been widely and long documented, so the fact that she performed in a masquerade ball setting is of limited surprise.

What was a bit jarring, however, was that the country crossover starlet channeled Evanescence (remember them?) and a bit of Stevie Nicks in her theatrical performance. The singer ripped off her white gown to expose a red corset and a whole lot of black tulle underneath midway through, possibly a reference to the innocence she lost in the relationship that inspired the track (rumored to be about her time with John Mayer). Her look was even represented in her makeup, which was smudged on her eyes and decidedly and deliberately imperfect — a rarity for the control-loving, clean cut role model.

Though she still struggles somewhat when combining singing and choreography, Swift’s performance was what you’d expect: a visual delight, if at brief moments inaudible and slightly off-pitch. However, given that it was her first time singing the song live, it was still impressive.

Next: The Best Dressed Artists at the 2012 AMAs!

Watch Taylor Swift Perform at the 2012 American Music Awards

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