AMAs: Drake, Twenty One Pilots, Ariana Grande Winners; Bruno Mars, Lady Gaga, Sting Perform As Green Day Blasts Trump
November 20, 2016 at 5:48 PM (PT)
A little rain in LOS ANGELES couldn't stop the festivities at the downtown MICROSOFT THEATER as the AMERICAN MUSIC AWARDS got underway with hosts JAY PHAROAH and GIGI HADID introducing a searing BRUNO MARS performance of "24K Magic" that got the crowd to its feet, as FIFTH HARMONY followed with their own scintillating turn on "That's My Girl."
OCTAVIA SPENCER, TARAJI P. HENSON and JANELLE MONAE from the new movie "Hidden Figures" presented the first award of the night to TWENTY ONE PILOTS for Favorite Duo or Group -- Pop/Rock.
ONE DIRECTION's NIALL HORAN followed with an intimate performance of "This Town" that seemed to make every member of the audience feel he was singing directly to them, before NINA DOBREV and JULIANNE HOUGH presented DRAKE with his first-ever AMA (after 22 nominations), for Favorite Album - Rap/Hip-Hop for "Views."
THE CHAINSMOKERS, HALSEY and "special guest" TRAVIS BARKER then performed their smash hit, "Closer." followed by JAMES BAY singing "Let It Go" from his acclaimed debut album, "Chaos And The Calm," and then SHAWN MENDES with a well-received medley of "Treat You Better" and "Mercy,"
CIARA took the stage to present the AMA for Favorite Artist- Electronic Dance Music to THE CHAINSMOKERS. who expressed surprise: "Holy shit, we've never won anything," before thanking their longtime supporter, SONY's ADAM ALPERT.
THE WEEKND was up next with a rendition of his new single, "Starboy," his collaboration with DAFT PUNK that galvanized the audience, including DRAKE, who seemed to be singing along to every word.
FLORIDA GEORGIA LINE's BRIAN KELLEY and TYLER HUBBARD along with the current MISS AMERICA, SAVVY SHIELDS, handed AMA Collaboration Of The Year honors to FIFTH HARMONY and TY DOLLA $IGN for their hit, "Work From Home."
"Silicon Valley" star T. J. MILLER (dressed in his best ugly holiday sweater) and lovely OLIVIA MUNN (wrapped like a gift), his co-star in the upcoming "Office CHRISTMAS Party," presented the AMA for Favorite Song -- Country to TIM McGRAW for "Humble And Kind." ARIANA GRANDE and NICKY MINAJ then joined forces for "Side By Side," in an elaborate tropical setting featuring a troupe of buff male dancers in tow.
Another ONE DIRECTION member gone solo, ZAYN MALIK, took home the AMA's New Artist Of The Year prize, voted on by fans, before JOHN LEGEND was introduced for his latest heartfelt ballad, "Love Me Now" and "Resident Evil" action star MILLA JOVOVICH brought on AMA winners TWENTY ONE PILOTS for a mash-up of "Heathens" and "Stressed Out."
STEVE YEUN and KEKE PALMER were up to present the Favorite Artist -- Rap/Hip-Hop to -- who else -- DRAKE, for his second big AMA win of the night.
BELLA THORNE and RACHEL PLATTEN then introduced a remote with JUSTIN BIEBER, from his "Purpose" tour in ZURICH, SWITZERLAND, to perform "Let Me Love You," his collaboration with DJ SNAKE from the latter's "Encore" album.
It was an emotional moment when REBECCA ROMIJN and HEIDI KLUM presented the Top Soundtrack award to the late PRINCE for "Purple Rain," accepted by his sister, TYKA NELSON, before LADY GAGA. introduced by GOLDEN GLOBE-winning actor MATT BOMER, performed "Million Reasons" from her new album, "Joanne." on acoustic guitar.
FLORIDA GEORGIA LINE received an AMA for Favorite Duo/Group -- Country from the odd couple of "Wicked" star IDINA MENZEL and "Shark Tank"/DALLAS MAVERICK owner MARK CUBAN. ZOE SALDANA then handed out the honors for Favorite Artist -- Alternative Rock to TWENTY ONE PILOTS, their second of the night.
JAY PHAROAH did a hilarious KANYE WEST bit, reading from his rants before introducing GREEN DAY, who brought some rock (and real fireworks) to the AMA stage with a slamming rendition of "Bang Bang" from their latest punk-political opus, "Revolution Radio," offering a pointed blast at our President-elect along the way by tweaking the song's lyrics: "No TRUMP, no KKK, no fascist USA."
ROBERT DOWNEY JR. presented STING with the prestigious AMA AWARD OF MERIT. "STING is more than a man or his music," said DOWNEY. "He is one of the most talented and giving human beings ever to walk the face of the earth." The man himself came up to perform a medley of his hits, including "Message In A Bottle" and "Roxanne," as well as the brand-new "I Can't Stop Thinking About You" from his just-released return to rock album, "57th & 9th."
Another show-stopping collaboration, this one featuring DJ KHALED, RICK ROSS, NICKI MINAJ, FUTURE and AUGUST ALSINA on their new song "Do You Mind," proved one of the evening's highlights.
BLAKE JENNER and HAILEE STEINFELD then presented SELENA GOMEZ with the AMA for Favorite Female Artist -- Pop/Rock. She accepted with a moving message about her past problems. "I was broken... I am so grateful I have the opportunity to be able to share what I love every day with people that I love."
JENNY McCARTHY and DONNIE WAHLBERG then presented the Artist Of The Year award to ARIANA GRANDE.before MAROON 5 and KENDRICK LAMAR closed the show with "Don't WannatKnow," sending the crowd out into the drizzly evening satisfied with an evening chock full of emotion, electric performances and, oh yeah, a few awards for their mantles.