Celine Dion paid tribute to the victims of the recent Paris attacks at the American Music Awards by singing Edith Piaf’s “Hymne à L’Amour” in French as some audience members cried.
Jared Leto, who introduced Dion, said his band 30 Seconds to Mars recently performed at the Bataclan, the Paris concert hall where 89 people were killed in the Nov. 13 attack.
Dion earned a rousing applause after her performance Sunday at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, which started with the Eiffel Tower projected behind her.
Before her performance, Nicki Minaj won her second award for the night: favorite artist — rap/hip-hop. Earlier, she encouraged her feverish fans to “find their voice” when accepting favorite album — rap/hip-hop for “The Pinkprint,” beating out Drake and J. Cole.
“I want to just thank you, the fans, for allowing me to change and have a different voice every time I come back out (with a new album),” Minaj said. “And please find your voice and find your purpose before it’s too late. Love you.”
Minaj is up for the night’s top award, artist of the year, against Luke Bryan, Ariana Grande, One Direction and Taylor Swift, who didn’t attend the awards show because she’s out of the country shooting a music video.
One Direction, who performed “Perfect,” won favorite duo or group — pop/rock.
“Wow. To say that we have won this award for three years on a bounce is a pretty incredible thing to be able to say. It’s as simple as this: we won’t be able to do this without our fans,” Niall Horan said.
Thought 1D earned a loud applause, the night was about girl power. Zendaya and Hailee Steinfeld danced excited as Selena Gomez performed onstage; Fifth Harmony and Rebel Wilson sang as Demi Lovato was in strong form with “Confident”; and Gomez sang as Grande performed “Focus” in a shimmery number.
The performance that got the most attention, though, was Meghan Trainor and Charlie Puth’s. The singers made out onstage after singing their song, “Marvin Gaye,” which features the lyrics: “Let’s Marvin Gaye and get it on.”
“I’m still laughing at Charlie and Meghan smooching,” Bryan said onstage after winning favorite male artist — country.
Bryan beat out Jason Aldean and Sam Hunt, who won new artist of the year.
Host Jennifer Lopez kicked off the AMAs in a dance routine that highlighted some of the year’s biggest hits like “Where Are U Now,” ”Anaconda,” ”Uptown Funk!” and “Hotline Bling.” She also impressively sang in almost a cappella form.
Bieber, who also is set to perform, already has room to celebrate: Billboard announced Sunday his new album, “Purpose,” will debut at No. 1 on its charts Monday after selling 649,000 equivalent albums. It beat out One Direction’s “Made In the A.M.,” which sold 459,000 equivalent albums.
Swift is the top nominee with six, thanks to her top-selling album “1989” and hits like “Bad Blood” and “Black Space.” Her nominations include song and collaboration of the year for “Bad Blood” with Kendrick Lamar, favorite female artist — pop/rock, favorite album — pop/rock for “1989” and favorite artist — adult contemporary.
Behind Swift with five nominations are Sheeran and the Weeknd, who had a breakout year with the No. 1 hits “The Hills” and “Can’t Feel My Face.” The latter is competing for song of the year against Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud,” Swift’s “Bad Blood,” ”See You Again” by Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth, and Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars’ “Uptown Funk!”
Prince, who earned a rousing applause, presented the first award of the night to the Weeknd for favorite album — soul/R&B for “Beauty Behind the Madness.”
“Make some noise for Prince, ladies and gentlemen,” the singer said.
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