The American Music Awards are always an interesting event, bringing together almost every age group and every genre of music into one colorful night. It’s a show where the fans vote for their favorites, with more stripped down performances, and a night that’s mostly focused on the stars. The 2017 45th annual AMAs aired last Sunday on ABC, delivering some truly lovely performances and a few quiet moments that still somehow managed to steal the show. And sure, there’s been some lingering controversy (did Selena really lip sync?), but we’re more focused on the good stuff.
Here are our top 5 favorite moments, as well as two books to tide you over until next year’s show:
Diana Ross and Her Grandkids
From winning the Lifetime Achievement Award to delivering a flawless performance, Diana Ross was the true star of the night. But she managed to top even herself when she brought her cute grandkids up on stage to dance with her. Some got super into the dancing, one spent some time picking her nose, but it was all completely adorable from start to finish.
Tracee Ellis Ross as Host
On the surface, it might seem like an odd fit to have the star of Black-ish hosting a music event. But the actress and comedian killed it, charming us all with a style that was both sweet and full of high energy. Not to mention all of her crazy outfit changes. And since Ross is Diana Ross’s daughter, it seems fitting that she was there for the big award and performance. In fact, Ross even wore a shirt that once belonged to her mother, as she later revealed on Instagram.
P!nk, Kelly & Christina Prove They Still Have It
It’s hard to believe that all of these women have been performing for close to 20 years at this point. But their performances at the AMA prove that they still got it – and that their insane levels of talent only seem to be getting better with age. First P!nk and Kelly Clarkson slayed with a haunting cover of “Everybody Hurts,” by R.E.M (a touching tribute to all the tragedy experienced in 2017). And then Christina Aguilera blew everyone away with her tribute to Whitney Houston, singing a medley of songs from The Bodyguard (it was the 25th anniversary of the film). Don’t even get us started on P!nk’s gravity defying solo performance for “Beautiful Trauma.” Soaring and triumphant, it’s hard not to be in awe of all that talent.
Demi Lovato Addresses the Hate
It’s not always easy being in the public eye, as Demi Lovato made very clear during her moving performance of “Sorry Not Sorry.” She started the song by simply sitting in the audience, watching with the rest of us while real nasty Tweets and messages about herself flashed across the screen. By the time she got up to sing, her song had turned into a full-on anthem.
K-pop Takes Over the American Stage
If you’re not into K-pop, it’s hard to understand just how famous these musicians are worldwide. Hollywood got a taste of that fame when the mega-popular Korean boy band BTS came to town to perform for the first time on a televised American stage. With their legions of fans watching, expectations were certainly high. Have no fear: BTS killed it. Between the epic choreography and the undeniable catchiness of their smash hit “DNA,” they ended up giving one of the most dynamic performances of the night.
Now that the AMAs are over, we have to wait until next year to see some of the most powerful award show performances around. But in the meantime, here are two books that are must-reads if you love music, performers, and everything in between:
They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us, Hanif Abdurraqib (November 7, 2017)
Known for his thoughtful writing about music and culture, They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us is a collection of some of Abdurraqib most poignant essays. With Abdurraqib, music is never just music – it’s a way to examine life, race, and our current culture. Blending personal stories with music criticism and larger examinations of race and politics, his writing is a unique mishmash of style and content. If you like to examine what music means beyond simply the sound, then this is the book for you.
Good Booty, Ann Powers (August 15, 2017)
As NPR’s longtime music critic and correspondent, Powers knows her music history. She puts that knowledge to good use in Good Booty, a look at how music has helped shape and influence our culture, and the history that brought us here. Specifically looking at music through the lens of race, sex, and gender, Powers has crafted a nonfiction narrative that spans decades and generations, making connections from Josephine Baker all the way to Britney Spears. All encompassing and painstakingly researched, Good Booty is the perfect book for any lover of music and culture.
What were your favorite moments from the AMA awards this year? Let us know in the comments!