American Music Awards

Diana Ross, Whitney Houston feted at show

Other performers at the awards show included Diana Ross (above left) and Selena Gomez (above). South Korean boyband BTS performing at the American Music Awards in Los Angeles, California, on Sunday.
South Korean boyband BTS performing at the American Music Awards in Los Angeles, California, on Sunday.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
Other performers at the awards show included Diana Ross (above left) and Selena Gomez (above). South Korean boyband BTS performing at the American Music Awards in Los Angeles, California, on Sunday.
Other performers at the awards show included Diana Ross (above) and Selena Gomez.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
Other performers at the awards show included Diana Ross (above left) and Selena Gomez (above). South Korean boyband BTS performing at the American Music Awards in Los Angeles, California, on Sunday.
Other performers at the awards show included Diana Ross and Selena Gomez (above).PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

LOS ANGELES • Diana Ross and Whitney Houston were toasted at this year's American Music Awards which also gave stage time to South Korean boyband BTS to showcase their show-business DNA - with their performance of that hit song.

But it was the female artists - led by Pink, Lady Gaga and Christina Aguilera - who hogged the stage with powerful performances on Sunday, despite being edged out by the men in most award categories.

Pink and Kelly Clarkson sang REM's Everybody Hurts, dedicated to first responders and victims of the recent hurricanes and wild fires that had ravaged parts of the United States. Pink later drew applause with aerial acrobatics from a high-rise building while singing Beautiful Trauma.

Lady Gaga performed The Cure from the Washington, DC stop of her tour, playing on a Perspex piano and then dancing as sparks rained down on stage. "Just remember that if you feel different or not understood, don't you dare give up on who you are, fight like hell for what you believe in," said the singer, who won favourite female pop/rock artist.

Motown superstar Ross received this year's lifetime achievement award with video tributes from former US president Barack Obama and Mrs Obama as well as singer Taylor Swift.

Ross performed a medley of her hits including I'm Coming Out (1980) and Ain't No Mountain High Enough (1970). "I feel so humbled by this," said the singer, 73, surrounded by her family on stage.

Actress Viola Davis paid tribute to Houston and the 25th anniversary of the latter's film The Bodyguard, as Aguilera belted a medley of hits from the movie.

Houston died in 2012, aged 48, after drowning in a hotel bathtub.

Demi Lovato, who was accompanied by newly elected Virginia legislator Danica Roem, the first openly transgender person to win a state legislative seat, performed her latest hit Sorry/Not Sorry.

Selena Gomez sang Wolves with DJ Marshmello. Alessia Cara and DJ Zedd performed a stripped-down version of their dance track Stay.

Hailee Steinfeld joined DJ Alesso, country duo Florida Georgia Line and musician Watt for Let Me Go.

Linkin Park were named best alternative rock artist, a bittersweet win for the band after the July suicide of frontman Chester Bennington. The members dedicated the honour to Bennington and "his memory, his talent, his sense of humour, his joy".

In other award categories voted by fans, Bruno Mars won artist of the year. Former One Direction member Niall Horan took new artist of the year while Luis Fonsi, Justin Bieber and Daddy Yankee nabbed collaboration of the year for the catchy hit, Despacito.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 21, 2017, with the headline 'Diana Ross, Whitney Houston feted at show'. Print Edition | Subscribe