If you didn’t watch the 40th American Music Awards last night, it’s easy enough to look at a list of who won what. Favorite Male Artist? Justin Bieber. Favorite Pop/Rock Album? Justin Bieber. Artist of the year? Justin Bieber. (Other winners—a full list of whom can be found here—included Taylor Swift, Nicki Minaj, Carly Rae Jepsen, Carrie Underwood and David Guetta.) There weren’t a lot of surprises, which is in itself unsurprising: AMA nominations are based on which artists and records have racked up the most sales, and anyone can vote online to determine which nominee ends up the winner.
But that doesn’t mean there weren’t any surprises in the televised broadcast, or any moments you had to see to believe. Such as:
1. “This is my mom. She’s little.”
Justin Bieber, who is probably, we think, single, even though People reports that he was spotted with ex-girlfriend Selena Gomez after the ceremony, did what any nice single boy will do when he needs a +1: he brought his mom. But the pair didn’t just grace the red carpet together. Bieber brought his mother, Pattie Mallette, on stage with him to accept the Artist of the Year award. ”I want to thank you for always believing in me,” he told her. Aww.
2. Gangnam-Hammer Style Time
It’s sort of unbelievable that it hadn’t happened already. During a performance of his hit “Gangnam Style,” the Korean superstar PSY, who had the whole audience standing up and doing the horsey dance, was joined by a special guest: MC Hammer. Never have so many drop-crotch pants looked so good. One quibble: how can you be both a running man and riding a horsey?
3. P!nk on fire
The AMA performances were, as a whole, big numbers with big names. Taylor Swift had some sort of pirate ball theme going on for “I Knew You Were Trouble.” Nicki Minaj dressed as a ski bunny who forgot to put her pants on. Christina Aguilera opened her song medley with “Lotus,” while wearing some sort of tunic in Pepto Bismol pink. But speaking of pink: the most extreme performance of the evening was probably P!nk’s rendition of “Try,” which involved modern dance, body paint…and burning down the set.