Last night’s 2015 edition Of the American Music Awards promised to bring a different kind of performance never seen before, as all the award shows do, and first-time hostess, Jennifer Lopez, really made an effort to draw everyone in with her near-10 minute opening dance number, with a montage of the year’s most notable songs. She definitely went beyond just booty shaking, and beyond her Native American look from the northern tribes, she had ten wardrobe changes that kept all the fashion bloggers guessing, from knockout red, to slinky blacks barely covering the essentials, to a bright yellow jumpsuit that seemed like a flight suit. Lopez admitted through the night that she had “a lot going on up here” through her head, keeping all of her duties straight, besides couture issues. From its inception by Dick Clark in 1973, this recognition ceremony has revolved around popularity, and popular vote, and that requires considerable attention by performers to one-up one another for the most memorable impressions, as well as taking tally numbers. The impression that was most indelible, however, had nothing to do with the Microsoft stage, but instead the stage at the Bataclan Theatre, and the lives lost, and so many who saved lives a little more than a week ago.
There was plenty of dramatic imagery, as blazing orange flames backed The Weekend, and Meghan Trainor and Charlie Puth put forth their best acting skills at the close of their duet “Marvin Gaye.” Puth even teased before the performance that there would be “a lot of making out,” despite his mom and dad being in attendance. Carrie Underwood gave a love letter in song to her husband, surprising everyone listening with “Heartbeat,” rather than her current surging song, “Smoke Break.” As always, Nicki Minaj was a show in and of herself, with her glances giving away her displeasure at Jennifer Lopez for daring to approach her “Anaconda,” but later deciding to play nice in accepting her award for “The Pinkprint,” playfully stepping her way to her podium to give thanks, and especially acknowledging her fans. Obligatory admiration was observed for One Direction, performing “Perfect” for their gazillionth broadcast appearance this week.
Celine Dion had no other nominations to defend, no red carpet paparazzi to give pouting looks or plastic smiles to, but instead, performed an homage to Paris, “Hymne a L’Amour,” without an utterance in English, no translation, and no breathless back up dancers. The power of voice and emotion provided universal understanding, that brought all the audience to their feet and to tears. There was a full orchestra on stage, and photos of Parisian streets, but they seemed superfluous. The feeling in every word conveyed all the message, and words from Jared Leto describing his own band’s affection and experiences at the Bataclan, only brought the words closer.
Justin Bieber closed the night, drowning himself on stage with his song, “I’m Sorry,” but after the preceding gift of such raw emotion, he was just all wet.