Jared Leto gave a moving introduction to the stand-out performance at Sunday night’s American Music Awards: Celine Dion’s heart-wrenching homage to the victims of the Paris attacks.
He began his speech by saying that only seven months ago, he and his band 30 Seconds to Mars performed at Le Bataclan, the site of the tragic shooting.
With not a dry eye in the audience, the legendary French-Canadian singer sang Edith Piaf’s “Hymne a L’Amour”, a triumphant affirmation of peace and love. But it wasn’t the only sobering moment during the ceremony, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis debuted a new song with Leon Bridges called “Kevin”, a tribute to the rapper’s friend who died of a prescription drug overdose. Sample lyrics include: “The orange plastic with the white top they sell to you / has us looking for the answers in that instead of you”.
Other performances were not so serious though. Coldplay sang their new single “Adventure of a Lifetime” which featured some very unexpected guests: back-up dancers in gorilla costumes. The dancing gorillas later made a second appearance during a commercial break in an ad for the Beats Pill speaker. And this isn’t the first time they’ve used costumed animals – in the music video for “Paradise” Chris Martin wears an elephant outfit.
Coldplay’s performance was one of the most visually dazzling of the night but J.Lo – who served as the ceremony’s host – opened the AMAs with a hypnotizing dance medley, surprisingly set to other people’s songs: Nicki Minaj’s “Anaconda”, Mark Ronson’s “Uptown Funk!”, Drake’s “Hotline Bling” and more.
J.Lo shaking her moneymaker might be expected these days but something that was totally, completely, out of left field was Meghan Trainor and Charlie Puth kissing after their duet of his song “Marvin Gaye”.
A polite peck on the cheek is common at awards ceremonies but Trainor and Puth went at it like nobody was watching, except for Twitter, which speculated about their relationship status. Puth later set the record straight, tweeting that they’re just friends.
As for the actual awards, Nicki Minaj won for both Favorite Album in Rap/Hip Hop and Favorite Artist in Rap/Hip-Hop. But during her acceptance speech for the latter, she took a moment to shout-out an artist that she beat: Fetty Wap. She complimented him on his incredible year thus far.
Minaj was also nominated for the biggest award of the night: Artist of the Year. So was Justin Bieber who closed out the night following that very category with a medley of songs. Surprisingly, One Direction won – also beating out Taylor Swift who arguably had a much bigger year with her massive hit 1989. It might have had something to do with her not attending the AMAs.
Tomorrow night, check out the Live Nation channel on Yahoo for a special exclusive concert from the Wombats. They start at 6:30 p.m. PT and you can stream the whole show right here.