As 2017 comes to a close, we are rounding up the good, the bad and the ugly in all things pop music. In the last few days, we have revisited some of the year’s best music videos and photoshoots as well as the strongest Latin-pop and K-Pop releases. Today, we are turning our attention to the year’s best awards show performances. We have compiled a list of 15 of the most memorable sets. Remind us of any we might have missed in the comments below.
15. Logic, Alessia Cara and Khalid’s “1-800-273-8255” at the VMAs
Making use of simple but striking staging, Logic and his collaborators delivered one of the year’s most evocative performances with their call for equality, love and acceptance at the Video Music Awards. Joined by a group of suicide survivors, they imparted a message to anyone watching: You are not alone.
14. Dua Lipa’s “New Rules” at Radio 1’s Teen Awards
After finding viral success with its accompanying music video, Dua Lipa offered some advice with a performance of the year’s defining breakup anthem, “New Rules.” Armed with her distinctive voice, she recreated a girl power moment at the Radio 1 Teen Awards.
13. Lady Gaga and Metallica’s “Moth Into Flame” at the Grammys
Mother Monster cemented her status as one of the most versatile pop stars by collaborating with rock legends at the Grammys. Amidst a sea of flames she showcased the lower register of her voice and was effortlessly cool as she sauntered across the stage.
12. Pink’s “Barbies” at the CMAs
Simple staging and powerful lyrics made Pink’s surprise performance at the Country Music Awards an absolute standout. The bittersweet track resonated with a stark beauty as the Beautiful Trauma hitmaker imbued it with even more power for its debut performance.
11. Fifth Harmony’s “Down” and “Angel” at the VMAs
The girl group threw some memorable shade at former member Camila Cabello as they took the stage to perform a medley from their new album. They also delivered live vocals and choreography for one of their best-staged sets.
10. Camila Cabello’s “Havana” at the Latin American Music Awards
The budding solo paid tribute to her heritage with a Spanglish rendition of her breakout solo single “Havana.” She and a horde of dancers ensured the number was one of the spiciest of the evening, and an extended dance break offered Camila an opportunity to show off her flamenco skills.
9. Mary J. Blige and A$AP Rocky’s “Set Me Free” and “Love Yourself” at the BET Awards
Taking the stage in a bedazzled silver two piece, Mary J. Blige was supported by a live band and delivered an empowering performance before being joined by her collaborator. Entering in a bout of smoke, A$ASP Rocky brought the fire for his verses.
8. Bruno Mars’ “That’s What I Like” at the Grammys
It is physically impossible for Bruno Mars to miss the mark while onstage, but his carefree rendition of “That’s What I Like” at the Grammys was particularly excellent. The smooth number was supported with simple choreography and ended with some chill-inducing harmonizing with his backup singers.
7. Kesha’s “Learn to Let Go” at the EMAs
Resplendent in an iridescent suit, Kesha performed her inspiring, pop-saving “Learn To Let Go” in the center of a rainbow at the European Music Awards. Her first awards show performance of the year was a joyful moment that showcased her path to healing from previous darkness.
6. Kelly Clarkson’s “Miss Independent” and “Love So Soft” at the AMAs
America’s original Idol showcased how far she has come at the American Music Awards. Performing a medley of one of her first singles and her latest, her splendid vocals, gorgeous costume and brilliant staging provided the ultimate diva moment.
5. Kendrick Lamar’s “DNA” and “HUMBLE” at the VMAs
Kendrick Lamar opened the VMAs with the evening’s boldest set. Performing amidst some advanced pyrotechnics and lighting, the 30-year-old made a powerful statement regarding police brutality before bringing the heat with a medley of his standout releases.
4. BTS’ “DNA” at the AMAs
For their first performance at an American awards show, the K-pop supergroup delivered enviable choreography and a masterclass on stage presence. As the group sets their sights on establishing sustained crossover success in American markets, their memorable performance will prove to be groundbreaking.
3. Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On” at the BBMAs
Celebrating the 20th anniversary of the release of Titanic, Celine’s voice is as commanding and heart-stopping as ever on the film’s signature ballad. Garbed in a glorious white gown, she delivered the evening’s most arresting moment from within a crystal chandelier.
2. Pink’s “Beautiful Trauma” at the AMAs
Pink vowed that her performance at the AMAs would be her most daring ever, and she stayed true to her word by bringing the title track of her new album to life from atop Los Angeles’ JW Marriott. She and a crew of aerialists had one of the most jaw-dropping moments in history as they scaled the building’s walls and executed a series of complicated flips from hundreds of feet in the air.
1. Beyonce’s “Love Drought” and “Sandcastles” at the Grammys
Beyonce became a literal goddess at the Grammys this year. Heavily pregnant, the Lemonade singer delivered a stunning multi-media display, which effortlessly blended screens, projections and brilliant staging. In a golden gown and headdress, she delivered an empowering message for women around the globe and created a moment that will further cement her legacy as one of the most beguiling performers ever.