Making history at the American Music Awards

Harley LaRue, Student Writer


The AMAs, or American Music Awards, took place on November 19th, 2017, at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, California. Not only were many stars, such as Bruno Mars and Diana Ross, honored with a multitude of different awards for their music and presence in the world of fame, but history was also made at the awards.

Jamie Foxx and his daughter opened the show by talking about the tragedies of the year and explaining how music has given many an outlet to speak out and find comfort. They stood in front of a group of first responders who “ran toward the danger when it would have been so easy to run away.” Pink and Kelly Clarkson teamed up to perform a soulful version of “Everybody Hurts” by R.E.M. The crowd was nothing less than stunned as they gave the artists a standing ovation. This wasn’t the first time Pink would shock everyone watching either. Later in the show, Pink performed one of her songs while dancing on the windows of the JW Marriott building in downtown LA. 

Tracee Ellis Ross took the stage as the official host of the 2017 American Music Awards, announcing that she and her mother, Diana Ross, were the first mother and daughter to have ever hosted the AMAs. Diana Ross wasn’t only making history once though; she was also receiving the lifetime achievement award. The award was presented to her at the end of the show by her family. It was a tearful moment for many as Ross gave her humbling speech.

Demi Lovato, an idol famous for combatting adulthood bullying, started her performance by showcasing comments and tweets that slandered and insulted her before performing her hit song “Sorry Not Sorry.” Her performance was incredibly unapologetic. Demi didn’t come alone either; she brought the first transgender legislator, Danica Roem, to the red carpet.

Selena Gomez debuted her new blonde hair in a performance that left the crowd screaming. The stage was decorated with a scary forest-themed set while she and her backup dancers wore white nightdresses in a performance that seemed to mime some of America’s favorite scary movies. This is Gomez’s first and only performance she plans on doing all year, and Julia Michaels, Gomez’s friend, explained that “if you looked up bravery in the dictionary, you would find this next performer’s name,” as Gomez has recently undergone a kidney transplant and varying mental health issues. 

Viola Davis honored Whitney Houston in a speech that praised her role and soundtrack for “The Bodyguard.” “The movie has become iconic, thanks to its soundtrack, the best-selling movie soundtrack of all time. What a voice Whitney had, what an artist.” Christina Aguilera took the stage to sing a montage of Houston’s songs as scenes from “The Bodyguard” played behind her. Houston’s late relatives sat among the crowd to watch the performance.

In perhaps one of the most memorable moments of the night, the Chainsmokers stole the stage to introduce South Korean boy band, BTS. Though the songs are, of course, sung in Korean, fans sang along to every word. The seven members brought a certain lively presence that the stage seemed to lack as they danced to “DNA,” the title track from their new album Love Yourself: Her. Ansel Elgort, a friend of the band, can be seen recording their performance and having the time of his life, which later became a joke that the internet enjoyed. After becoming the first Korean band to win an award at the BBMAs earlier this year, BTS are also the first Korean band to perform on an American award show.

The American Music Awards was an experience for celebrities as history was made once again. For perhaps the first time this year, the country felt united as many were honored and remembered for their talent and artistry. What performance was your favorite?