The 2017 American Music Awards were hosted by Tracee Ellis Ross. The show began with a heartfelt speech by Jamie Foxx about the power of music in the wake of tragedy and how that was especially needed this year. The speech was a moment to honor the many brave first responders who have been called on all too often this year, for shootings, hate crimes, and natural disasters.
Following Foxx’s speech, Pink and Kelly Clarkson sang “Everybody Hurts” by R.E.M., a collaboration that many are calling long overdue. This was but the first of many great performances, including solo acts by both Pink and Clarkson. Pink’s rendition of “Beautiful Trauma” was nothing short of epic as it literally took place while she was suspended on the side of a skyscraper. Other performers included Khalid & Imagine Dragons, Selena Gomez & Marshmellow, BTS, Lady Gaga, Niall Horan, Shawn Mendes, and Zedd & Alessia Cara.
Of note was Christina Aguilera’s medley from The Bodyguard, honoring Whitney Houston for the film’s 25th anniversary. Although it got off to a rocky start, it ended up being a wonderful tribute to the singer Aguilera calls her “idol.”
Honoring a Legend
Another highlight performance of the night was by Diana Ross, the Lifetime Achievement Award honoree. Not surprisingly, she was one of the best dressed stars there. She sang a medley of some of her biggest hits, ending with “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.” Before her performance, Ross was treated to a video message from Barack and Michelle Obama. It was already a big night for host Tracee Ellis Ross but it was surely a special moment for her to give her iconic mother this award. The host rocked a number of fabulous fashions throughout the night but the best was her recreation of one of her mother’s looks. She even wore Diana’s exact diamond-encrusted black shirt from 1981.
For many, the best part of the entire show was when Diana’s family joined her onstage. Grandson Raif-Henok, in particular, stole the show with his dance moves. He also grabbed the mic to tell his famous grandma that he loved her.
Bruno Mars had a big night, with wins for Artist of the Year, Favorite Male Pop/Rock Artist, Favorite Pop/Rock Album, Favorite Soul/R&B Album, Video of the Year, and Favorite Song. Beyonce won Favorite Female Soul/R&B Artist. Drake won Favorite Rap/Hip-Hop Artist while Kendrick Lamar won Favorite Rap/Hip-Hop Album. Other winners include the Despacito Remix, Carrie Underwood, Shawn Mendes, Keith Urban, Little Big Town, Niall Horan, Shakira, Imagine Dragons, The Chainsmokers, and Lady Gaga.