One Direction, Nicki Minaj, the Weeknd Win Big at 2015 AMAs - Rolling Stone
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One Direction, Nicki Minaj, the Weeknd Win Big at American Music Awards

Celine Dion’s Paris tribute, Nick Jonas’ show-stopping medley and Justin Bieber among the performance highlights

One DirectionOne Direction

One Direction accepting the award for Artist of the Year at the American Music Awards.

Kevin Winter/Getty

One Direction, the Weeknd and Nicki Minaj were the big winners at this year’s American Music Awards as each artist took home a pair of trophies during the televised portion of Sunday’s ceremony. For the second straight year, One Direction took home the show’s most prestigious award, Artist of the Year. “We’re gonna go on a little break, gonna spend some time with our families,” the quartet said of their much publicized hiatus after accepting the night’s final award. Earlier in the night, One Direction also won in the Favorite Pop/Rock Duo/Group category and performed their new single “Perfect.”

The Weeknd won the evening’s first award as his Beauty Behind the Madness took home the Favorite Soul/R&B Album award, a category that was presented by a guitar-toting Prince. Abel Testfaye later picked up the American Music Award in the Favorite Soul/R&B Artist – Male category and also performed “The Hills” during the ceremony.

Nicki Minaj’s The Pinkprint‘s snagged the Favorite Hip-Hop Album award, marking the third time the rapper had won in that category. She followed that up by winning Favorite Hip-Hop Artist for the third time as well.

Other notable winners include Sam Hunt’s surprise New Artist of the Year victory over the Weeknd and Fetty Wap, plus Fall Out Boy securing Favorite Alternative Rock Band, Skrillex, Diplo and Justin Bieber’s Collaboration of the Year win and Ariana Grande’s Favorite Pop/Rock Female victory, which the singer shared with her very excited grandmother. Check out the full list of AMA winners here.

The main draw of the AMAs, however, are the musical performances, and there was no shortage of star power on the ceremony’s stage this time around. The ceremony opened with host Jennifer Lopez and an army of dancers grooving to a 10-minute megamix of 2015’s biggest hits, from Fetty Wap and Taylor Swift to Ed Sheeran and the Weeknd. That was followed by 5 Seconds of Summer’s Duran Duran-inspired “Hey Everybody!,” Selena Gomez’s vampy “Same Old Love” and Nick Jonas’ show-stopping medley

Other highlights included Alanis Morissette performing Jagged Little Pill‘s “You Oughta Know” with Demi Lovato, the debut of Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ powerful addiction ballad “Kevin” with Leon Bridges, Gwen Stefani sharing her breakup anthem “Used to Love You,” Pentatonix’s Star Wars tribute and Justin Bieber’s ceremony-ending, rain-soaked victory lap.

However, the most moving moment of the AMAs came when Celine Dion delivered a stunning rendition of Edith Piaf’s “Hymne A L’amour” to remember all those killed and injured in the Paris terror attacks. The performance was preceded by a moving speech by Jared Leto, who implored Americans not to shut our borders to Syrian immigrants in the aftermath of the terror attacks.


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