MANILA, Philippines – Singer Celine Dion made a special appearance at the American Music Awards Sunday, November 22 (Monday, November 23 Manila) to perform in tribute to the victims of the recent Paris attacks, that killed at least 128 people. (LIST: Winners, American Music Awards 2015)
The Canadian singer sang Edith Piaf’s classic “Hymne a l’Amour” (“Hymn to Love”) in French at the star-studded ceremony in Los Angeles, which went ahead barely a week after the assault on a concert hall and other civilian targets across Paris. Guests watched solemnly, paying their own respects to the horrific incident that shocked the world and directly rocked the music industry.
In front of a screen flashing images of Paris that culminated with the Eiffel Tower in the French flag’s tricolor, Dion sang the song of lost love as some members of the audience were seen in tears.
Actor Jared Leto introduced Celine with a moving speech of his own.
With a moving speech, @JaredLeto introduces a very special #AMAs performance by @celinedion. https://t.co/Q4CRvbav5v— AMAs (@TheAMAs) November 23, 2015
Jared began his speech with fond memories of Paris, recalling playing with his band at the Bataclan, the site of violent gun attacks last November. Victims had been watching the group Eagles of Death Metal. It was one in a string of attacks that occurred in Paris in the same evening of November 13. ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attacks. (READ: The Bataclan theater in Paris: From music venue to killing ground)
“Tonight we honor the victims of the unimaginable violence that has taken place this year in Paris and around the world. France matters, Russia matters, Syria matters, Mali matters, the Middle East matters, the United States matters, the entire world matters and peace is possible,” he said.
Jared also took aim at anti-foreigner sentiment that has emerged in the wake of the Paris attacks, which was claimed by ISIS.
“Many of us here are the sons and the daughters of immigrants,” he said, pointing out that late Apple innovator Steve Jobs was of Syrian heritage.
The tribute was a rare somber note in the made-for-television ceremony, although the electronic producer Skrillex also referred to world turmoil as he accepted an award for his work with pop celebrity Justin Bieber.
“There is so much negative stuff going on in the world, so it’s up to us to be positive,” Skrillex said of musicians’ role.
The American Music Awards are designed as a celebrity extravaganza and, unlike the more prestigious Grammy Awards which will take place in February, the winners are determined by voting from fans rather than the music industry.
For the second straight year, British boy band One Direction won Artist of the Year.
The prize comes just after the band released its latest album, Made in the A.M., that the group says will be its last before a hiatus.
Click here to see the list of winners from the evening, and here to see other highlights from the show. – with reports from AFP/Rappler.com
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