Taylor Swift opened the 2018 American Music Awards with a musical performance Tuesday, as she was nominated for four awards.

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The 28-year-old singer appeared on stage in a sparkling black jumpsuit as she performed a medley of "I Did Something Bad" and "They're Burning All the Witches" from her 2017 album Reputation as she was surrounded by dancers also dressed in all black.

Midway through the performance a large inflatable Cobra emerged from a crescent-shaped structure behind Swift as she completed the song and stared at the crowd.

The appearance was Swift's first performance as at a major awards show in nearly three years.

Swift could potentially end the night with the most AMA wins ever by a female artist as she was nominated in four categories including Favorite Pop/Rock Female, Pop/Rock Album, Tour of the Year and Artist of the Year.

The performance comes days after Swift broke her political silence in an Instagram post on Sunday, announcing she would vote for Phil Bredesen for Senate and Jim Cooper in Tennessee's midterm elections.

Host Tracee Ellis Ross then took the stage as she danced to a mix of modern hits and classics including the "Respect" by the late Aretha Franklin before introducing the first award.

Photo credit: Emma McIntyre/AMA2018