Coming on the heels of a divisive political election, the American Music Awards on Sunday night in Los Angeles became a platform for strong, and sometimes foul, political language. Here’s a look at some of the top moments from the American Music Awards show:
NOT TRUMP’S NIGHT
Less than two weeks after the presidential election, President-Elect Donald Trump was bound to be the hot and divisive topic at the show. And the insults and jokes came from all sides, including the hosts, the presenters and the performers. Co-hosts Gigi Hadid and Jay Pharoah started off the show with not-so-great impressions of Melania and Donald Trump.
Singer Idina Menzel and businessman Mark Cuban commiserated about not getting invited to the presidential inauguration, as both were supporters of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. And Menzel gave a shout out to the cast of the Broadway show “Hamilton” who have been criticised by Trump on Twitter.
And Rock And Roll Hall of Famers Green Day blasted Trump during their performance of Bang Bang when lead singer Billie Joe Armstrong sang a new chorus in the middle, “No KKK, no fascist USA, No Trump.”
DRAKE WINS BIG
Drake doesn’t always show up to award shows even when he’s likely to win, but since he set a record with 13 nominations, he must have felt obliged.
In fact, he did win four awards, including favourite rap/hip-hop artist and favourite rap/hip-hop album for his hugely successful “Views” record, which has dominated radio with singles like “Hotling Bling” and “One Dance.”
He thanked his hometown, Toronto, and his family and collaborators, and said he was just focused on the music.
“For our genre, I just like to keep things exciting and keep making music, shout out to everybody that’s trying to do the same
thing,” he said.
He hinted at new music to come, but also seemed to reference some of the criticism he’s received from other rappers for his success, adding quickly, “so watch how you speak on my name.”
DROPPING THE F-BOMBS
The censors were on their toes with several unscripted moments in which curse words were flying profusely. Most award shows have to bleep out or mute some lyrics or accidental slips of the tongue, but this year’s show seemed to be full of foul language, mostly on purpose.
Chrissy Teigen unleashed a mouthful of colourful language about the election that most people didn’t hear on the broadcast as she was introducing her husband, singer John Legend. Electronic duo The Chainsmokers also let a couple of curse words slip when they were caught unprepared for winning the favourite electronic dance music award.
Former One Direction singer Zayn gave a big thank you to his (expletive deleted) fans for winning new artist of the year. And artist of the year Ariana Grande was twice muted for language on the broadcast during her acceptance speech. Maybe next year the show should consider moving to cable.
The death of Prince earlier this year continues to have an impact on today’s music and fans showed their appreciation again by voting for Purple Rain,” as the favourite soundtrack, more than 30 years after it was released.
His sister, Tyka Nelson, who noted that her brother had the courage to be different, accepted the award on his behalf.
“Prince defied the odds, a black teen from Minneapolis with the goal to electrify the world,” Nelson said.
But she said being known as a great songwriting was the most important to him.
“He wanted to be the world’s most prolific songwriter, and with 984 titles to his credit and counting, he has done just that,” Nelson said.
Nelson began to tear up as she talked about her family and said she would keep the award at Paisley Park, the late singer’s estate and raised it in the air.
“Until we see you again, this is for you,” Nelson said.
SELENA SPEAKS OUT
Selena Gomez also wasn’t expected to be in attendance at the Microsoft Theater as she had been taking time off touring to treat depression and anxiety.
Still one of the most followed celebrities on Instagram, earlier this year she stopped posting her to social media accounts. She took to the stage after winning favourite female artist – pop/rock to talk about dealing with an overexposed life.
“I think it’s safe to say that most of you know a lot of my life whether I liked it or not, and I had to stop, `cause I had everything, and I was absolutely broken inside,” said 24-year-old Gomez.
“I don’t want to see your bodies on Instagram. I want to see what’s in here,” she added, pointing to her heart.
Even Lady Gaga appeared overjoyed for Gomez’s honesty, with a big smile and her hands pressed together.
“I am not trying to get validation, nor do I need it anymore,” Gomez announced to a round of applause from the crowd.