Justin Bieber and Shawn Mendes open American Music Awards
Justin Bieber opened the American Music Awards with a medley of songs to mark 10 years since his first performance at the ceremony.
The latest major awards show to arrive amid the pandemic took place at the Microsoft Theatre in downtown Los Angeles, with a limited audience inside the venue.
Canadian singer Bieber, returning to the AMAs for the first time since 2016, raised the curtain by performing his new singles Lonely and Holy.
He was joined by Shawn Mendes for a rendition of their duet Monster.
Host for the evening, actress Taraji P Henson, performed a raunchy opening number, dancing to a medley of tracks including Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion’s X-rated single WAP.
The Oscar-nominated star referenced a tumultuous 12 months in the US, saying: “We are one country and we need to heal.”
Pop star Ciara presented the first award of the night, favourite soul/R&B album.
It went to The Weeknd for After Hours and he dedicated his award to Prince.
The Canadian star was tied with Compton rapper Roddy Ricch for the most nominations with eight. Both are up for the coveted artist of the year prize.
Megan Thee Stallion continued her stellar 12 months with five nominations, while Bad Bunny, Bieber, Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift and first-time nominees DaBaby and Doja Cat all earned four nods each.
The ceremony took place in Los Angeles, with the city on the brink of issuing another stay-at-home in a desperate bid to quell the raging pandemic.
On Thursday, the county recorded 4,943 new cases, a single-day record.
Producers of the AMAs said they had implemented “rigorous” Covid-19 safety guidelines, including regular testing for those on site and requiring backing dancers to wear masks.
The ceremony included a mix of in-person performances as well as remote appearances from around the world – BTS were due to perform from South Korea while Dua Lipa was stationed at London’s Royal Albert Hall.