Last night’s live broadcast of the American Music Awards had everything you’d expect of an award show: celebrities dressed to the nines, some great and other less than stellar performances, gif-worthy audience reactions, awkward moments, and a dose of politics. But for now, we’re going to stick to the stand-out moments/performances of the night. Peep the best of the 2018 AMA’s below (in chronological order).
Tracee Ellis Ross’ Intro
This year’s host, Tracee Ellis Ross, proved from the jump she would not disappoint. Opening with a dance-propelled medley of “Bodak Yellow,” “This Is America,” “Apeshit” “Respect,” “Uptown Funk,” and, “Run the World,” Ellis gave it her all as she danced, lip-synched and joked — all while donning a sequined, black jumpsuit. The kicker? She also announced in her opening monologue that the various looks she’d be sporting throughout the night would all be creations of different black designers! Her intro, and her stylings throughout the evening, were top-notch.
Cardi B, Bad Bunny, and J Balvin Perform “I Like It”
Radio hit, “I Like It,” was brought to life in what was easily the most entertaining performance of the night. From aerial shots of Cardi B effortlessly rapping on a spinning platform, Bad Bunny’s shopping cart entrance, and J Balvin’s emergence for the fun-filled finale, the trio pulled off a live act just as colorful as the track itself. Not only was it great to see a Latin-infused track get well-deserved spotlight, but it was such a hit it even made SNL’s Taran Killam make this meme-appropriate face in the audience.
Dua Lipa Performs “One Kiss” and “Electricity”
Dua Lipa has been on an upward trajectory since the release of her 2017 self-titled debut, and with her popular 2018 singles “IDGAF” and “One Kiss” (Feat. Calvin Harris) dominating the airwaves, it was exciting to see her take the stage. Her vocals were on point, and the accompanying neon paint-spattered visuals made her that much more electrifying.
Panic! At The Disco Cover “Bohemian Rhapsody”
With all the hype surrounding the next month’s release of the Queen biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody,” it was only fitting that it made its way into the broadcast. Introduced by Rami Malek, who portrays Freddie Mercury in the film, pop-rockers Panic! At The Disco took on the legendary song in a live broadcast from Sydney, Australia. No one can hit those daunting falsettos like frontman Brendon Urie, and the band stayed true to the track, incredible guitar solo and all. Two thumbs up!
Conducting a tribute that truly does justice to the legendary artist it’s meant for is a difficult feat. Thankfully, the AMA’s seemed to get it right in honoring Aretha Franklin with a poignant video highlighting her career, and followed up with stunning, gospel-fueled performances by Gladys Knight, CeCe Winans, Donnie McClurkin, Ledisi, and Mary Mary. The five bared it all with their heartfelt renditions of “Amazing Grace,” “Climbing Higher Mountains,” “Mary, Don’t You Weep,” and “How I Got Over,” in a performance that would have made Franklin proud.