The 2017 American Music Awards air live on Sunday Nov. 19 from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles beginning at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on ABC. This 45th annual edition of the AMAs is hosted by “blackish” star Tracee Ellis Ross. With only a handful of the 28 prizes handed out during the three-hour ceremony, the emphasis is on the performances. Among those set to take to the stage are: Selena Gomez, Pink, Kelly Clarkson, Christina Aguilera, Lady Gaga, Niall Horan, Alessia Cara, Demi Lovato, Shawn Mendes, Hailee Steinfeld and Nick Jonas. And Ross’ mother, music icon Diana Ross will both perform and receive the lifetime achievement award.
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Heading into the evening, Bruno Mars leads with eight nominations for the American Music Awards, AMA winners are decided by fans voting online. According to our official racetrack odds he’s the frontrunner to win five awards including Soul/R&B Male Artist. While that haul will make him the biggest winner of the night, he won’t take home the top prize: Artist of the Year.
That AMA is predicted to go to Ed Sheeran. Just a few months ago Sheeran won Artist of the Year at the MTV Video Music Awards, which is also a fan-voted award. He was also pitted against Mars there. The British singer-songwriter is forecast to win four out of his five nominations, also including Pop/Rock Male Artist, Pop/Rock Song for his chart-topping “Shape of You,” and Adult Contemporary Artist.
8:00 p.m. – Time to start the show! Jamie Foxx kicked off the event on a somber note introducing his daughter and a group of first responders. After re-capping a series of the worst events of 2017, he announced that Pink and Kelly Clarkson would open the show with a special performance together. They’re covering the R.E.M. classic “Everybody Hurts” and their voices blend beautifully together. It’s great to see these two Grade-A singers come together and play off one another. They clearly respect each other’s talents because as one sings, the other is usually shaking their head in appreciation. Although it was a sad way to begin the show, Kelly and Pink are a match made in heaven. Sing!
8:10 p.m. – Tracee emerged as the host looking like a gold Christmas bow. What is she wearing? Tracee and her mother, Diana Ross, are now the first mother-daughter duo to ever host the AMAs. She also gave a shout out to Kelly in the audience for being the first “American Idol,” a series recently acquired by ABC. There will also be a tribute to Whitney Houston and “The Bodyguard,’ which is the performance I’m most looking forward to! Earth-shattering, groundbreaking women will be leading the show, but a few men will perform too. First up is Demi Lovato!
8:17 p.m. – Demi is singing “Sorry Not Sorry,” which is her biggest hit to date. She looks great with long jet-black hair and dressed in sporty pants and a jewel-encrusted tank. The audience appears to be having fun with her performance and Demi sounds good, although this song has a bit too much shouting for my taste.
8:20 p.m. – Chadwick Boseman is presenting the first award of the night for Best Pop/Rock Duo or Group. The nominees are The Chainsmokers, Coldplay and Imagine Dragons. And the winner is: Imagine Dragons! This is the group’s third AMA. During their acceptance speech they praise strong women and send encouragement to the LGBT community. Peace, love and equality for all.
8:25 p.m. – Chris Hardwick and Lea Michele introduce Nick Jonas to the stage. A collective swoon can be heard across America. He is singing his new single “Find You” wearing a simple leather jacket and surrounded by eight scantily clad female dancers. He’s just fun to watch, but the performance itself was kind of forgettable.
8:30 p.m. – Hailee Steinfeld is up next, singing “Let Me Go” with Florida Georgia Line. They’re all dressed in white and began the performance dancing in a series of cubes stacked on the stage. It’s been fun to watch Hailee transition from an Oscar-nominated actress into a pop star. She kind of ran out of breath at the end of the song though and seemed to struggle to get through it.
8:38 p.m. – Ciara stepped up to the mic to announce the winner for Favorite Rap/Hip-Hop song. And the winner is: DJ Khaled featuring Justin Bieber, Quavo, Chance the Rapper and Lil’ Wayne.
8:43 p.m. – Shawn Mendes is the next performer with “There’s Nothing Holding Me Back.” With just his guitar, Shawn is rocking the stage and the audience loves it. Keith Urban approves with his signature shoulder jive as he sings along passionately. That was hilarious. This by far has been the most fun set of the night at this point.
8:52 p.m. – Best New Artist nominee Julia Michaels introduced Selena Gomez in her first television performance of the year. She’s singing her new song “Wolves” within an elaborate set that appears to be a car that has crashed in the woods. I’m not sure why she’s holding a microphone because I’m almost certain it’s not turned on. Thumbs down for lip syncers.
8:55 p.m. – Katherine Hahn and Justin Hartley are presenting Favorite Country Male. And the winner is: Keith Urban! I should have predicted that because he was in the audience and the other nominees weren’t. He also won Best Country Song and Best Country Album! It’s a sweep.
8:57 p.m. – Tracee closed the first hour out by announcing Christina is up next to perform her tribute to Whitney and “The Bodyguard.” She said it is destined to become a classic AMA performance. That’s a lot to promise, let’s hope Christina lives up to the hype and can tackle these iconic songs!
9:03 p.m. – The cast of the TV show “Riverdale” is out to announce the winner for Favorite EDM artist. The Chainsmokers, Calvin Harris and DJ Snake are nominated. And the winner is: The Chainsmokers!
9:05 p.m. – Emmy and Oscar-winning actress Viola Davis graced the stage looking radiant in a white gown and got a thunderous applause from the audience. She stated it was 25 years ago this week when we all fell in love with Whitney Houston in “The Bodyguard.” She then introduced Christina to perform.
9:13 p.m. – Christina cuts right to the chase by beginning the performance with the a capella introduction of “I Will Always Love You.” She settles in more comfortably once the music starts before building to that epic chorus. It wasn’t the smoothest performance and Christina looked to breathe a sigh of relief when she heard the music for “I Have Nothing” kick in. This is a song that might be less technically challenging for her. Pink is nodding in the audience, as if she respects Christina for having the courage to do this on live television. Images of Whitney and Kevin Costner are airing on a screen behind her as Christina cuts into “Run To You.” There are members of the audience who are clearly touched by the performance and images, with tears streaming down their faces. I feel like this wasn’t the smoothest moment for Christina, but it’s hard to compare with Whitney on a ballad. But things become more fun and relaxed as Christina asks the audience to get on their feet for Whitney and sing “I’m Every Woman.” Christina thanked Whitney for being the greatest inspiration ever and took a bow. Overall a solid tribute, but I wasn’t wowed.
9:21 p.m. – Jenna Dewan Tatum and Billy Eichner are on stage now to present Favorite Adult Contemporary Artist. The nominees are Bruno Mars, Shawn Mendes and Ed Sheeran. And the winner is: Shawn Mendes! Yes! An upset I actually predicted!
9:25 p.m. – Lady Gaga is performing via satellite from her concert in Washington D.C. She’s sitting at the piano and looks like she got her face painted at the county fair but she’s got a cool outfit on and some pretty sweet 80’s-inspired hair. She sounds good too. For all of her crazy stage antics, props to Gaga for being one of the most truly talented artists of this generation. She did a good job performing and still managed to make me feel awkward with her weird gyrating at the end. Another successful day at the office for Gaga.
9:35 p.m. – DJ Khaled sounds like a relentless salesman whenever he talks. Anyways, he introduced Macklemore and Skylar Grey singing their song “Glorious.” The Mack is looking studly in this peach suit and I’m a little ashamed at how much I’m enjoying this. It’s just a fun performance and Skylar sounds good too, I have never heard of her before.
9:40 p.m. – Portugal. The Man keeps the mood light with a performance “Feel It Still.” No frills, just a band jamming on the stage. Katherine Hahn could be found twirling her hair in the audience. Chrissy Metz looks like she’s having the time of her life. In my mind Chrissy is one of those fun celebrities who doesn’t realize she’s famous and asks everyone to take pictures with her. She just looks happy to be in the room. I like her.
9:47 p.m. – Zedd and Alessia Cara were introduced by a few kids from “Stranger Things” to sing their song “Stay.” So far the most entertaining part was when they cut to the violin player who looked bound and determined to deliver the performance of a lifetime, even if nobody would know it. Alessia sounds good, I just don’t really like this song.
9:50 p.m. – Up next is the award for Favorite Pop/Rock Female Artist. The nominees are Alessia Cara, Lady Gaga and Rihanna. And the winner is: Lady Gaga! They give her the award at her concert and she looks like she just won the Hunger Games. She burst into tears as she hoisted the trophy over her rainbow-colored hair. A worthy win for the diva!
9:53 p.m. – Khalid and Imagine Dragons are on stage performing “Thunder” together. This is a fun collaboration. I think I just became an Imagine Dragons fan. And I enjoy Khalid’s ability to run and effortlessly twirl through the air. And now confetti! Everyone has fun when confetti falls from the sky. That was a great performance.
10:00 p.m – Nick Cannon is presenting the award for Favorite New Artist. He is wearing a pink turban and is bedazzled for days. The nominees are James Arthur, Niall Horan, Julia Michales, Post Malone and Ray Sremmurd. Obviously Niall won even though he’s not really a new artist.
10:05 p.m. – Pink is casually scaling down the side of a hotel as she belts out her newest song “Beautiful Trauma.” Watching her sing this completely live as she does cartwheels on the side of building, hundreds of feet in the air, makes me lose even more respect for anyone who has to lip sync. That was pretty insane. Pink always makes things interesting and if a trapeze act is getting old, just dance on the side of a skyscraper. That’s commitment.
10:12 p.m. – Collaboration of the Year is the next award to be presented. The list of nominees is too long to rattle off so I’ll just get to the point. The winner is: “Despacito” by Luis Fonsi, Daddy Yankee and Justin Bieber.
10:18 p.m. – Niall Horan is performing his latest hit “Slow Hands.” I can’t believe all of these guys in One Direction were able to pull off the successful solo careers they are now enjoying (most of them). This is a catchy song and Niall knows how to entertain. He also wears cool hats.
10:25 p.m. – Favorite Alternative Artist is the next award. The nominees are Imagine Dragons, Linkin Park and Twenty One Pilots. The winner is: Linkin Park! They dedicated their win their lead singer, Chester Bennington, who died earlier this year.
10:30 p.m. – Kelly Clarkson is back for another performance and she’s kicking things off with a throwback to one of her first hits, “Miss Independent.” Yassss! She jazzed it up and is dawning a gown made of feathers. Sing mother hen! She then segued into “Love So Soft.” I love the jazz band she’s performing with and she’s got a pretty cool dance troop around her as well. And more confetti, just to ensure we’re all having fun. Good job Kelly!
10:36 p.m. – I love Tracee but whoever is dressing her should be terminated. Effective immediately.
10:42 p.m. – Apparently this BTS group on stage is a big deal. There are girls in the audience who have absolutely lost their minds. I guess I need to get with the times and learn more about this K-Pop group. They do seem pretty fun. I love the dance moves and anyone who can make people spontaneously burst into tears must be doing something right.
10:42 p.m. – Jared Leto walked out on stage and gave a speech worthy of killing any buzz anyone ever had. He then announced the award for Artist of the Year: Bruno Mars! Bruno wasn’t in attendance but he thanked the audience from his mini-van.
10:50 p.m. – Evan Ross gave the introduction to his mother’s Lifetime Achievement video package. How can anyone not love this woman? She is so over-the-top and if you take into account her work with the Supremes and her solo albums, I don’t think there is anyone with more iconic hits. She’s the original D-I-V-A. And in true form she descended from stairs onto the stage singing “I’m Coming Out” covered in purple ruffles.
10:55 p.m. – Diana belted out her hit “Take Me Higher” before moving into “Ease on Down the Road,” which brought great joy to Jamie Foxx in the audience. She then dedicated and performed “The Best Years of My Life” for her fans. This woman is 73 years old! She’s still as magnetic on stage as ever. Her granddaughter did try to steal her thunder though when she got on stage and picked her nose during “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.” Eventually she had a whole team of grandkids dancing on stage with her and Kelly Clarkson was loving it.
11:00 p.m. – The entire family is on stage with her now along with Smokey Robinson and Berry Gordy. Her daughter gave a nice speech and then Diana stated this moment was all about love for her. Ashley Simpson got so much cooler when she married into this family. One of her grandsons closed out the show – “Have a great night everbody!” And that’s a wrap for the 2017 AMAs.
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