— -- The 2017 American Music Awards not only honored the best in music this year but also the enduring spirit of the country.
Recognizing the recent violence in the U.S., the awards ceremony, which aired live on ABC from Los Angeles' Microsoft Theatre, began with a tribute. Kelly Clarkson and Pink opened the show with a cover of REM's 1992 hit, "Everybody Hurts."
The awards ceremony was hosted by "Black-ish" star Tracee Ellis Ross. She noted that she and her mother, iconic singer Diana Ross, made history Sunday night as the first mother-daughter duo to host the awards show. Diana Ross hosted the awards ceremony in 1986 and 1987.
Diana Ross honored for a lifetime of supreme talent
The elder Ross also received the evening's lifetime achievement award. And she did it in style, performing a medley of her most iconic hits, including "I'm Coming Out," "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" and "Ease on Down the Road."
She was celebrated by former president Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama.
Linkin Park wins after Chester Bennington's death
Linkin Park was awarded the American Music Award for Favorite Artist - Alternative Rock just four months after the death of lead singer Chester Bennington.
The late singer's band members dedicated the award to Bennington.
"We want to dedicate this award to him, to his memory, to his talent, to his sense of humor, to his joy," Linkin Park co-founder Mike Shinoda told the audience. "And remember you guys, all of you -- whether you’re a fan or an artist -- take a moment to appreciate what you’ve got and make Chester proud."
A night of show-stopping performances
Although there were many trophies handed out Sunday night, the evening was filled with one-of-a-kind performances. Demi Lovato performed "Sorry Not Sorry," while others took the stage, including Alessia Cara, Zedd, Niall Horan, Sean Mendez, Selena Gomez, BTS, Imagine Dragons and Khalid.
Pink, known for adding acrobatics to her live performances, sang while dangling from the side of a building. And not to be outdone, Lady Gaga took a break from her Joanne world tour to perform "The Cure" live from Washington, D.C.
But a performance that had many on social media talking was Christina Aguilera's tribute to "The Bodyguard," which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this week. The singer performed a medley of songs from the late Whitney Houston's blockbuster film and soundtrack.
After her performance, Aguilera had a message for the late Houston, who has won the most American Music Awards ever with 21. "Thank you Whitney Houston for being the best inspiration ever," she said.
But the top award? That went to Bruno Mars, who sent a video message to receive Artist of the Year.