Performance reviews: American Music Awards

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Kennedy Stone, Staff Writer

The best thing about award shows is if you do not like the results of who won what awards, you can just enjoy the performances of other artists.

Here is a sectioned review of each performance.

Kelly Clarkson and P!nk “Everybody Hurts”

These two collaborating was a great choice. Their strong voices complemented each other greatly. Which made for some nice sounding harmonies and ad-libs. At the very begging, one could notice a bit of nervousness from both of them, but by halfway through the song they had really gotten used to each other and settled into an emotional performance.

Demi Lovato “Sorry Not Sorry”

Demi Lovato has always been a strong performer, and this was no exception. After taking a jab at her haters, she took the stage by storm. Her voice was clear and powerful and even sounded a bit sassier than the recording of the song. The different instrumentals added some flare as well. All while she maintained a cool but relaxed aura.

Nick Jonas “Find You”

Nick did pretty well for such a dull song. He tried his hardest to experiment with the vocals and moved around enough to be somewhat engaging. The use of background dancers and lighting effects helped liven things up as well. Yet, all these things do not cover up that a different song would have let him show his talent and personality better. It still was an overall decent performance due to his movements and facial expressions.

Hailee Steinfeld, Florida Georgia Line, Alesso, Watt “Let Me Go”

Not only was this a visually pleasing performance, it had beautiful consistency especially with Florida Georgia Line. The way the stage was divided up into boxes was nice to look at and made it easier to find focus points too. All the vocals had good resonance, and never sounded too pushed. Even with the screaming fans. Hailee Steinfeld would sometimes have a bit of trouble switching into her high voice but managed to stay sincere. The instrumentals were more noticeable here, which was a nice treat Some more interaction between the artists would have been beneficial, though.

Shawn Mendes “There’s Nothing Holding Me Back”

When this guy is on stage, his rookies definitely shows, but in this case, it helped a lot. His vocals, while a bit strained towards the end, were on key. His willingness to experiment with ad-libs despite his nervousness is admirable also. The instrumentals could have been more exciting, but Shawn made up for that with his personality and voice.

Selena Gomez, Marshmello “Wolves”

Unfortunately, this was the only performance that ended up being disappointing. Selena’s slow movements and lack of dynamic contrast made the song even more boring than the song already was. The overuse of fog and awkward camerawork did not distract the audience from how stagnant the performance. In an attempt to be dramatic, she sacrificed stage presence and emotion. While Marshmallow and the background dancers ended up being much more interesting to watch.

Christina Aguilera

While singing such classic songs, one could expect a bit of backlash from those who favor the original. Christina Aguilera performed a tribute to Whitney Houston, but it turned out being very respectful. At the beginning, she did a bit of “scream-singing”. Which was a bit off-putting, but as she became more comfortable on the stage, she started interacting with the audience more, and her her voice really started to settle into a fuller tone.

Lady Gaga “The Cure”

While performing a song that does not have a lot of substance overall, Lady Gaga managed to give us a complete show. She did herself a favor by starting off slow by playing the piano, and gradually building from there. Out of all of the performances, Hers was the clearest and precise in terms of vocals. She never slides up to notes, and never lost any energy. The only thing that hindered her was the exciting dancing. Which still is very impressive, because not many singers attempt to sing and dance to that degree.

Macklemore, Skylar Grey “Glorious”

This performance was very heartfelt. With Macklemore’s infectious stage presence and Skylar’s smooth voice, the performance managed to be humble and hype at the same time. The rapping had a good tone that never stayed the same for too long, and the vocals had effortless transitions and resonance. It was fun, and energetic, just like the song itself.

Portugal. The Man “Feel It Still”

Although he did sound a bit different when singing live, Portugal, The Man did well with his portion of the show. The of more instruments than the original track was a nice touch. Since there were no computers used, the performance felt very authentic. His vocals did not go too far with going into different registers, but at least he had good tone in the upper register he stayed in.

Alessia Cara, Zedd “Stay”

Out of all the performances, this one was the stiffest. Alessia’s voice definitely was not bad. It was strong as usual, and her tone and diction have improved. It was just getting used to Zedd and the string instrumentals. Individually they all gave great performances, they had some mixing problems, but it was never enough to completely derail the song.

Imagine Dragons, Khalid “Thunder” “Young Dumb And Broke”

In terms of interaction between artists, this one was the best collaboration. These two meshed very well onstage, and their songs complimented each other greatly, lyrically and tone wise as well. It was a bit unbalanced with the line distribution, but both performed very well. Khalid was good at showing emotion and sung very clearly. Imagine Dragons also had a clear voice and stayed true to the playful nature of the song.

P!nk (Solo performance) “Beautiful Trauma”

This one was definitely a daring experiment. Seeing Pink suspended from a tall building while singing a beautiful, and elegant song was amazing. A bit nerve-wracking too, but it turned out really well. She was able to really show off her vocal capability by singing in such a situation, and by singing a dynamic vocal line.

Niall Horan “Slow Hands”

Yet, another instance of a song with not much to give, but an artist with a lot to give. The rich vocals on top of the more prominent instrumentals made for a performance that ended up being better than the original recording. His interactions with the crowd were cute, and a good move to keep the song engaging as well.

Kelly Clarkson (Solo performance) “Love So Soft”

There’s nothing like seeing an artist totally nail an intense and powerful song. Kelly Clarkson did just that and more with her performance. Her voice was extremely fierce, and there were never any problems with tone or consistency. She remained very dignified, but still kept things fun and lively.


Making their American debut was a huge deal, and the boys of BTS did not disappoint. Everything from the rapping to the singing was done with a sense of humbleness, yet accomplishment. Every member showed personality and clearly worked hard to nail their parts. Which the stepped-up camera work to back them up. They also did great with showing off their dancing skills, and their energetic but lifted voices. Even if they had some nervousness to make a good first impression, it barely showed.

Dianna Ross

For overall beautiful tone, support, resonance, and confidence, look no further than Dianna Ross. With her medley of iconic songs, she effortlessly flowed with the music and her voice followed by fullness and grace. She had heartfelt moments with her family, and the way she talked with the audience was simply amazing to behold. Her performance was undoubtedly the best out of all of them, because of her years of experience, and sweet but professional personality.

Looking at the awards as a whole, the feeling of genuine vulnerability, and happiness to just to be singing was a real blessing to see. For people who only care about how to hype a performance is, they will think it was boring. This show was for people who care about what music really means in today’s world and respecting it. For the overall great performances, and what they stood for, I give the show a 4.4 out of 5.