There had been high hopes for some of the British stars up for awards – including Adele, Ed Sheeran and Harry Styles, who had led the nominations, however – Swift proved herself to be queen of the MTV EMAs.
The 32-year-old megastar – who recently re-recorded some of her earliest hits in order to regain control of her work – praised her legion of fans (known as Swifties) as she accepted each award, thanking them for their unwavering support.
When presented with the best artist gong by Baywatch star David Hasselhoff, Swift told the auditorium of screaming fans: “You have no idea how much this even means to me to do this as a career…
“There’s not a single moment I take that for granted. I love you so much, I can’t believe I get to do this as a job, and it’s all because of you. Thank you so, so much.”
The annual international music awards, which took place in Dusseldorf, Germany, and was hosted by celebrity power-couple Rita Ora and Taika Waititi, also saw stars including Nicki Minaj, Muse and Gorillaz take home gongs from 20 gender-neutral categories.
Performances on the night included Stormzy – who away from his normal style performed his ballad Fire Babe on TV for the first time – plus live music from Lewis Capaldi, Bebe Rexha, and Eurovision winners Kalush Orchestra.
British TikTok star and Eurovision runner-up Sam Ryder also bought a bit of Eurovision glam to the night, presenting the award for best collaboration to French DJ David Guetta and US star Bebe Rexha. Guetta also took best electronic act.
There was even a surprise recorded message from Hollywood A-lister Tom Cruise, introducing OneRepublic’s Top Gun: Maverick hit song I Ain’t Worried.
As her night of wins continued, Swift accepted the best longform video award – which was one of two new categories this year – from singer/songwriter Julian Lennon, the son of the late John Lennon.
As she took to the stage, Swift again praised her fans for their continued support, telling them: “You’re the reason that anything has ever happened to me.”
She explained: “I have been writing and directing my music videos for a long time but this was the first short film I have made and I felt like I learned so much about myself of how making film can be a natural extension of my storytelling just like song writing.”
Stranger Things star Sadie Sink and Teen Wolf actor Dylan O’Brien starred in the music video which went viral earlier this year after fans speculated the song was based on Swift’s break-up with actor Jake Gyllenhaal.
As well as the long-form prize, it also took best video, with Swift telling fans: “This almost never happened,” going on to explain that when she first released the song 10 years ago it wasn’t a single, and didn’t have a video.
She went on: “I can only explain this by saying that the fans willed this to happen. I will never stop thanking you for this.”
The video also picked up the prestigious video of the year gong at the MTV Video Music Awards earlier this year.
When handed the best pop prize, Swift joked: “You gotta wear a lot of sequins and learn choreography and that is very hard.”
She has been dominating the charts across the world in recent weeks following the release of her new album Midnights – the year’s fastest selling album.
Nicki Minaj took the award for best song with Super Freaky Girl, along with best hip hop act.
Despite having the most nominations (seven), ex-One Direction star Harry Styles only took home one award on the night – best live performance. He wasn’t there in person to pick up his prize.
Best rock act went to Muse, who opened the ceremony with their new track Will Of The People.
Refusing to shy away from hard political truths amid the glamour of the showbiz night, lead singer Matt Bellamy told the MTV audience: “We’d love to dedicate this whole album to the people of Ukraine and the women in Iran who are fighting for their freedom as we celebrate tonight.”
Gorillaz – fronted by Blur star Damon Albarn – took best alternative band, while Sam Smith took video for good.
It was also a good night for K-pop, with South Korean boyband Seventeen taking best new act and best push, Blackpink taking best metaverse performance (the second new category of the night), and one of the band’s members, Lisa, taking best K-pop act, and BTS taking biggest fans.
Best Latin performer went to Anitta and best R&B to US star Chloe.