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The ladies dominated the stage at this year’s American Music Awards (AMAs) which emphasized female empowerment as host Tracee Ellis Ross started the night off with a shout out to female artists and her mother, Diana Ross, who accepted the lifetime achievement award.
The opening performance was a duet from Pink and Kelly Clarkson. Pink later performed while suspended off the side of the Los Angeles JW Marriott hotel.
There were also performances by Demi Lovato, Hailee Steinfeld and a much anticipated appearance of Selena Gomez who debuted short blond hair in her performance of her single “Wolves” featuring Marshmello.
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Toronto’s Shawn Mendes sang his hit song “There’s Nothing Holding Me Back” and he took home his first AMA for favourite adult contemporary artist. Another much anticipated performance was from South Korean pop boy band BTS.
Photos: Red carpet at the American Music Awards
Viola Davis also took the stage to pay tribute to the late Whitney Houston and her role in romantic thriller The Body Guard which had its 25th anniversary.
“The movie has become iconic thanks to its soundtrack — the bestselling movie soundtrack of all time. What a voice Whitney had,” said Davis. “The American Music Awards were in many ways her home. Whitney received 21 AMAs, the most of any female artist in history.”
This was followed by Christina Aguilera’s performance of “I Will Always Love You” and “I’m Every Woman.”
While female artists had big performances, it seemed as though the men took home more awards.
Actor Jared Leto presented Bruno Mars with the artist of the year award. Niall Horan won new artist of the year.
Other awards won throughout the night included Lady Gaga for favourite pop/rock female artist, Luis Fonsi for collaboration of the year for “Despacito” featuring Justin Bieber, and The Chainsmokers for favourite EDM artist.
Shark Tank’s Daymond John, Mark Cuban and Kevin O’Leary presented the award for best alternative rock artist which went to Linkin Park.
Barack and Michelle Obama congratulated Diana Ross on her lifetime achievement award via video.
The night concluded with Diana Ross’ performance of “Ease On Down the Road”, “The Best Years of My Life” and “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” when her family came up on stage with her.
“This is all about love, this says it all being here with my family,” said Ross.