The 2017 American Music Awards on Nov. 19 sidelined the expected award show controversy by avoiding constant political innuendos for a night loaded to the brim with unique performances.
The show-opening duet between Kelly Clarkson and Pink featured their own rendition of R.E.M.’s song “Everybody Hurts.” The calm melodies mixed with the singers’ booming vocals perfectly set up the rest of the night. Pink would later return to perform her song “Beautiful Trauma” outdoors and suspended from the side of a skyscraper.
There were several other notable performers, including Selena Gomez taking the stage for the first time this year. Along with producer Marshmello, Gomez put on a complete show with a live creation of “Wolves”, a collaborative song between the two artists. The stage portrayed a late night car crash with Gomez in full trauma makeup. Her return to center stage was nothing less than memorable.
Christina Aguilera took the stage to honor the life and work of singer Whitney Houston with covers of some songs from The Bodyguard movie soundtrack, primarily performed by Houston. As Aguilera took her first breath to begin a solo ballad, a hush fell over the audience. Her beautiful tribute was heartwarming and reminded everyone of Houston’s legacy.
The most memorable performance of the night came from Korean Pop band BTS, performing their hit song “DNA.” The band made history as the first K-Pop band to perform on an American award show. The audience reached highest energy during this performance, their chants being heard on television even with the program’s applied muting. The whole room was left surprised and amazed with the band as they opened American eyes to classic K-Pop choreography.
Aside from the massive list of performances, the big winner of the night was Bruno Mars with seven awards, including Artist of the Year, Favorite Pop/Rock Artist, and Favorite Pop/Rock Album.
Another notable win was Linkin Park with Favorite Alternative Rock Artist. In their acceptance, the band took the opportunity to honor the life of member Chester Bennington who passed earlier this year. Member Mike Shinoda urged the audience to appreciate their lives and those closest to them as well as stating, “Make Chester Proud.”
The final recognition of the show was the Lifetime Award presented to Diana Ross. Even the Obamas sent in a video to state their appreciation of the artist who is so deeply embedded in the history of the American music industry.
As expected from the AMAs, the performances of the night created an atmosphere of energy and excitement, while the honored artists added a touch of nostalgic American pride.