The AMAs honored music’s biggest stars Sunday night by giving out awards to artists like Justin Bieber, Nicki Minaj, The Weeknd, and Carrie Underwood. But the real fun was when the biggest names in music took the stage to for offbeat parings (yes to Alanis and Demi!), touching tributes, and pyrotechnics. Here are the best moments from the 2015 AMAs.
Those who had any doubts Selena Gomez could shed her squeaky-clean Disney image with her latest album Revival, were silenced on Sunday, as Gomez delivered what might have been the sultriest performance of the night. Performing “Same Old Love,” Gomez and her team of tuxedo-clad male dancers turned Los Angeles’ Microsoft Theater into an after-hours cabaret, complete with illuminated staircase and disco balls.
If Selena Gomez was going for after-hours club, Demi Lovato brought full Chicago vibes with a Roxy Hart-inspired black corset and bob. She ran through the title track of her new album Confident with just two back-up dancers.
Charlie Puth and Meghan Trainor
Not only did the rapper have some of the most GIF-able moments of the night — she also gave heartfelt speeches when accepting her awards for Favorite Rap Album and Rap Artist. No Miley disses, no Taylor reunions: just Minaj on-stage thanking her devoted Barbz for their support.
The pop star was nowhere in sight on Sunday, but her specter loomed large: her partnership with a certain mobile company for her Anti Diary was promoted heavily throughout the night. No sign of an Anti release date, though.
Ariana Grande and her grandmother
Chris Martin and Co. turned the Microsoft Theater into Burning Man: the British rockers brought out gorillas, balloons, confetti, and loads of psychedelic lights for their performance of their disco-y new single “Adventure of a Lifetime.”
Wiz Khalifa, Nicki Minaj, Justin Bieber, Nick Jonas and just about every other artist in attendance looked blown away by Abel Tesfaye’s blazing rendition of “The Hills.” Not since Madonna’s “Like a Prayer” video has there been so much pyro on one stage.
Twenty years after she released her groundbreaking album Jagged Little Pill, the queen of ’90s alternative rock returned to show all the younger kids how you do an awards show performance. Except Demi Lovato: the pop star matched the 41-year-old note-for-note with some explosive harmonizing on Morissette’s classic, “You Oughta Know.”
After a powerful introduction from Thirty Seconds to Mars frontman Jared Leto, the artist paid tribute to the victims of the Paris terror attacks by performing a rousing cover of Edith Piaf’s “Hymne a L’amour.” There wasn’t a dry eye in the house.
On the same day that Bieber’s Purpose debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart, he closed down the AMAs with a medley featuring “What Do You Mean,” “Where Are U Now?” and “Sorry.” For the finale’s own finale, rain poured from the ceiling and drenched Bieber and his backup dancers as they did the “Sorry” dance. It ruled.