A slew of awards and performances were dished out on Sunday, as the American Music Awards, also known as the AMAs, celebrated its 42nd year. This year’s host was Jennifer Lopez, who opened the show with a 10-minute dance number that incorporated the biggest hits of this past year. The AMAs differ from the Grammys because the nominees are selected based on commercial success and then voted on by the public, as opposed to the latter, in which winners are selected by a panel.
Early performances that are worth noting include Selena Gomez performing “Same Old Love,” Demi Lovato singing “Confident" and then later taking the stage again in a duet with Alanis Morissette, singing her 1995 song “You Oughta Know” and Carrie Underwood singing “Heartbeat.” Underwood went on to win favorite female country artist.
Many of the celebrities in attendance were surprised when “Marvin Gaye” singer Charlie Puth locked lips with featured artist Meghan Trainor after a performance of the song.
Some of the night’s winners also performed, including One Direction, which won favorite duo or group in the pop/rock genre and artist of the year for the second consecutive year. The boy band performed “Perfect” and were shortly followed by The Weeknd, who won for favorite male artist (soul/R&B) and favorite album (soul/R&B).
Other winners of multiple awards included Nicki Minaj, Taylor Swift and Florida Georgia Line. Minaj took home favorite artist (rap/hip-hop) and favorite album (rap/hip-hop), Florida Georgia Line were awarded favorite duo or group (country) and favorite album (country) and Swift was the biggest winner of the night, taking home the awards for favorite album (pop/rock) for “1989” and favorite artist (adult contemporary). Her song “Blank Space” also won song of the year.
An emotional nerve was struck when actor and musician Jared Leto spoke about the instability of world peace. Later, Celine Dion performed Edith Piaf’s “Hymne a L’Amour” to pay tribute to the victims of the Paris attacks, leaving many teary-eyed.
On a surging comeback effort, Justin Bieber closed the show with a three-part performance of his songs “What Do You Mean?,” “Where Are U Now” and “Sorry.” Bieber, in collaboration with Skrillex and Diplo, won collaboration of the year for “Where Are U Now” earlier in the show.
The AMAs give the power to the listener, and the opinion of the public music audience showed, as the titans of the musical landscape were awarded without any unexpected winners.