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American Music Awards 2017: Bruno wins big, Pink hits new heights, Obamas make a cameo, Christina honors Whitney & Diana Ross is a legend


Dick Clark ProductionsBruno Mars was the big winner at last night’s American Music Awards, which aired live from L.A. on ABC. He scored in seven of the eight categories he was nominated in, including Artist of the Year, Favorite Male Artist and Favorite Album for 24K Magic.  Unfortunately, he wasn’t on hand to accept his hardware.

“I wish I could be partying with y’all, but I’m a million miles away right now in a f*****’ minivan,” the singer said in a videotaped acceptance speech for Artist of the Year.  But even though the audience was deprived of one of Bruno’s patented show-stopping performances, there were plenty of others to make up for it.

Chief among them was Pink, who sang “Beautiful Trauma” while performing an eye-popping, breath-taking aerial dance routine while literally hanging off the side of the JW Marriott, high above L.A.  As she and her dancers flipped, twirled, and climbed up and across the outside of the building Batman-style, it was hard to believe she was singing live, but we’re pretty sure she was.  The video for the song, which stars Channing Tatum, will premiere on Tuesday.

Pink and Kelly Clarkson also helped kicked off the show in grand style.  First, Jamie Foxx made a speech in which he referred to the many tragedies the country has suffered in the past year — wildfires, hurricanes and hate-fueled violence — and introduced a group of real-life first responders.

He continued, “As this year comes to a close, we look forward to 2018 with hope. For even as we mourn those who are lost, we know this: Together our strength will pull us through, together we shall overcome the pain, together we can unite as a people and a nation.”   Then, Pink and Kelly duetted for the first time ever, singing R.E.M’s “Everybody Hurts.”

Later, Kelly returned for her own performance, singing her first post-American Idol hit, “Miss Independent,” before seguing into her current hit “Love So Soft.”

By the way, “Miss Independent” was co-written by Christina Aguilera, who delivered another memorable performance: She paid tribute to the late Whitney Houston‘s record-breaking soundtrack for The Bodyguard, released 25 years ago this week. 

With her hair slicked back and minimal makeup, Christina sang a medley of “I Will Always Love You,” “I Have Nothing,” “Run to You” and “I’m Every Woman.” At the end, an emotional Christina said, “Thank you Whitney Houston, for being the best inspiration ever!” 

Pink was seen in the audience watching Christina with tears in her eyes. Despite what some were saying on Twitter, the two have long quashed their ancient beef and are now friends, and she was genuinely moved by the performance.

Yet another emotional moment came when Linkin Park won for Favorite Alternative Rock Artist.  The producers evidently weren’t aware that the band, who lost their lead singer Chester Bennington to suicide earlier this year, was in the house, but they eventually made their way to the stage.  LP’s Mike Shinoda dedicated the win to Chester’s “memory,” “talent,” “sense of humor” and “joy,” adding, “Take a moment to appreciate what you’ve got and make Chester proud.”

The show ended with the legendary Diana Ross — mother of the show’s host, Tracee Ellis Ross — winning the Lifetime Achievement Award and performing a medley of her hits.  Dressed in a fabulous gown, with her hair as big as ever, the 73-year-old icon sang “I’m Coming Out,” “Take Me Higher,” “Ease on Down the Road,” “The Best Years of My Life” and “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.”

While singing the latter song, Ross brought some of her grandchildren on stage, and then her entire family joined her.  So did fellow Motown legend Smokey Robinson and 87-year-old Motown founder Berry Gordy, the man who made Ross a star, and fathered her daughter Rhonda.

Two videotaped tributes to Miss Ross were also played: one was from Taylor Swift, who said, “I don’t personally know anyone in music who hasn’t been inspired by you and influenced by have paved the way for everyone who does what we do now, including me.” 

The other was from President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama.  “We still listen to Diana around the house,” said Obama. “That’s why I gave her the Presidential Medal of Freedom last year. But this is a big deal too!”

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