The 2015 American Music Awards was more than the glitz and glam of beautiful faces, gorgeous dresses and eccentric performances. The night also paid tribute to the victims of the Paris attacks of November 13.
American Music Awards producer, Larry Klein, told Billboard that the show decided to include a tribute to Paris to show solidarity.
The feelings were expressed as Canadian singer, Celine Dion, took the stage to deliver an incredible performance.
Guests at the award ceremony were brought to tears as Celine performed a soaring rendition of Edith Piaf’s Hymne a l’Amour.
The song was written by Piaf in 1949 for the love of her life boxer, Marcel Cerdan, who was killed only months later while flying to New York from Paris to visit her.
Images of candlelight vigils and the capital city uniting following the terror attacks that killed 130 people showed in the video montage that displayed behind Celine as she performed.
As the grand finale neared, Celine raised her arms in the air, her incredible voice soaring for the final note as an image of the Eiffel Tower lit up and the French flag’s colours appeared behind her.
“Celine’s performance will help us express our feelings through songs, when words do not suffice,” Klein said.
Jared Leto who introduced the 47-year-old to the stage also remembered the unfortunate incident that shook the city of love.
“Earlier this year, my band was wrapping up a tour in Europe and we were looking for a good excuse to stop off in one of our favourite cities in the world, Paris. We played an impromptu show in a place called The Bataclan. It was beautiful, peaceful, and unforgettable,” he shared.
“What a difference a day makes. Seven months later, on the evening of November 13th, 2015, that same venue was under siege.”
He continued, “One of a series of terrorist attacks on Paris that changed the world forever. 129 innocent people died and another seven billion will forever be scarred by this horrific and senseless tragedy.”
Leto then paid tribute to his friend, Thomas Ayad, who was killed in the massacre, before quoting from a viral Facebook post written by a man who also lost his wife at the concert hall.
“Friday night, you took an exceptional life, the love of my life, the mother of my son, but you will not have my hatred. You’re asking for it,” he said. “But responding with hatred and anger is falling victim to the same ignorance that has made you what you are. You want me to be scared, to view my countrymen with mistrust? You lost. We are just two now. My son and me. But we are stronger than all the armies in the world,” French journalist, Antoine Leiris wrote
Leto concluded with a statement that was written to give everyone hope “Tonight, we honour the victims of the unimaginable violence that has taken place in Paris and around the world, France matters. Russia matters, Syria matters, Mali matters, the United States matters. The entire world matters and peace is possible.”