2017 American Music Awards: DJ Relentless Recap

"Diana Ross accepted the Lifetime Achievement Award surrounded by her family, and she even invited her grandchildren on stage to dance as she sang “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” during a stellar performance."

So, for many gay men of a certain age, this year’s American Music Awards was a “must see” event last. I know that when I heard that Diana Ross was getting the Lifetime Achievement Award, I knew what I was going to be doing that evening. And she looked great and closed her medley and the show with “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.” And that’s where I started my mix.

I dug up a live version from the 70s and mixed it into the new Eric Kupper remix. Mr. Kupper is keeping the spirit of Frankie Knuckles alive. He kept the production of the original but gave the track a good Disco House feel.

There were plenty of performances and appearances throughout the night. Some bad fashion choices like Nick Cannon looking like the love child of Eartha Kitt and Stevie Wonder with his pink turban and mini-beaded braids. Many predictable winners and most of the performances were pretty good. We’ll get to the ones that weren’t. Selena Gomez did her first and only performance of 2017 and Pink killed it with her live performance outside on the side of a building. And Imagine Dragon’s acceptance speech and performance of “Thunder” made me a fan. But lets get back to the mix.

Our second track is the Craig Vanity vs. Erik Stefler remix of Nick Jonas’ latest single “Find You.” It’s cute…like him. Will it be a big hit? I don’t think so. But he is consistent.

But you know who is moving up in the ranks? Shawn Mendes. The week before the AMAs he won Best Artist, Biggest Fans and Best Canadian Act awards at the Europe Music Awards. And he somehow grabbed the Favorite Adult Contemporary Artist…I say “somehow” because he’s only 19. I say he’s moving up because he’s filling the void that Justin Bieber has left behind. Shawn is squeaky clean and takes his grandmother as his date to award shows. there’s no stories of him pissing in buckets by the restroom in restaurants, no shots of him walking to the hotel pool nude or internet photos of him covered in tattoos. He’s just a sweet kid that has a bright future if he plays his cards right. Stay in this lane and you will definitely take over Bieberland.

I am normally annoyed when DJ Khaled has a mic in his hand on an award show. But I guess since he only accepted his Favorite Rap/Hip-Hop Song award for “I’m The One” I didn’t have time to get annoyed. He thanked Justin, Chance The Rapper, Quavo and even Diana Ross for singing “All I Do Is Winner” live in her shows.

I stayed clear of “Despacito.” Haven’t we heard this one too many times? Thank goodness Luis Fonsi was out of the country. But he did win two awards. And a few of the unaired winners were Beyonce for Favorite Soul/R&B Female Artist, Drake for Favorite Rap/Hip-Hop Artist and Shakira for favorite Latin Artist.

The next track is the Dave Aude remix of Lady GaGa’s “The Cure.” Watching her perform this song on the show just made me think about all the drag queens who are going to copy her outfit. It was kinda clever. It’s a body suit that looks nude with leather fringe shoulders and arms accented with a corset and leather straps around the chest and legs.

Honestly, I didn’t care for this year’s New Artist winner. And Niall Horan’s “Slow Hands” didn’t hit my radar at all. But I programed the Paul Gannon Bootleg.

When I think about Pop music from 2017 across the board, I think they got it right by giving Bruno Mars Artist Of The Year. But they didn’t air his four other honors. Favorite Pop/Rock Album, favorite Pop/Rock Male Artist, Video Of The Year plus Favorite Soul/R&B Song for “That’s What I Like.” I’m assuming with all the racial tension in the U.S. right now that the producers of the show decided to keep the Soul/R&B awards quiet. We wouldn’t want another backlash like George Michael got for not being Black and winning in this category.

Another rising Canadian rising star is Alessia Cara. And it seems she’s popping up on everybody’s records. She’s the feature on Zedd’s “Stay” and they did a classical version for the show. I chose to program the Chris Robleda Club mix.

Another song that I have grown sick of is “Closer” by The Chainsmokers. So, I opted to use the Riggi x Piros vs. OG edit of “Don’t Let Me Down.” They won Favorite EDM Artist even though their original versions of their music is all downtempo elevator music.

I was really surprised that not once did the hostess Tracee Ellis Ross mention David Cassidy during the broadcast. Yeah…I know he’s from a couple of generations back but the producers could have at least sent some kind of acknowledgment that the man was near death. And nothing was said about the passing of AC/DC guitarist Malcolm Young. But I guess they were leaving that for next year’s Grammys. Anyway…I decided to send some positive energy to Mr. Cassidy by throwing in a remix of a Partridge Family classic, “I Think I Love You”. Organ failure is a serious condition. We had hints last year when we heard about him drunk on stage and slurring his words. He’s had a problem for a while.

One of the surprising moments of the evening was discovering that the lead vocalist is a man during Portugal The Man’s performance of their hit “Feel It Still.” I had no idea! I swore that it was a female vocalist despite the name of the group. And since I just used a downtempo Moombahton remix on my last mix, this time I programmed the Jay Macs MRL remix for more of a club vibe.

When I heard the nominees for Favorite Alternative Rock Artists, I immediately knew that Linkin Park was gonna win. It was only fitting after the death of vocalist Chester Bennington. So, as a tribute, I chose the DJ Solovey remix of “Numb” as my next selection.

I’m sure many missed it but Demi Lovato did something great last night for the Transgender Community. She took Danica Roem (the first trans woman to be elected in Virginia to be a state lawmaker) as her date to the ceremony. And if you looked closely at the beginning of her performance of “Sorry Not Sorry” Demi stayed seated next to Danica to make sure she was on camera. Brilliant! I’m not transgendered, but I thank you for what you did. Definitely, something that you won’t see other Pop recording artists doing (especially a certain tall blonde who is trying so hard to outdo Miss Lovato as well as Katy Perry). So, I programmed the Scene Kings remix as my next selection.

Now…I know Kelly Clarkson did her latest single “Love So Soft, ” but she opened her performance with her first hit from her career “Miss Independent” (which was written by Christina Aguilera). And since I used “Love So Soft” on my last mix, it gave me the opportunity to dig up the MaUVe remix of “Miss Independent” for this mix.

And speaking of Christina Aguilera…..I and many others were not impressed with her tribute to Whitney Houston’s hits from “The Bodyguard.” Immediately on social media, there were memes of Pink’s face during Christina’s performance. But I saw Pink enjoying the performance and appreciating what Christina was doing vocally. She even took to social media to say that she was admiring a woman she respects. And you have to remember that Whitney herself named Christina Aguilera as the only singer who could do her material justice.

It would have been great if there were several people doing this tribute instead of just Christina. Perhaps Dolly Parton and Deborah Cox. But Christina was asked by Whitney’s estate to do this tribute.

There were a few things that I think would have helped her in this performance…the arrangement and order of the songs. It should have been shorter and more of a medley instead of almost doing each song in its entirety. It would have been great to start with “I Will Always Love You” (like she did) but only the first verse. Then the first verse of “I Have Nothing”. Then the second verse of “Run To You”. Then start “I’m Every Woman” from the slow opening and jump to the bridge. Hit a long note and close with the ending of “I Will Always Love You”. There were too many long spots of her doing the Aguilera vocal gymnastics and it was tough to listen to it because we all miss Whitney’s voice. So, I decided to just give you the Jody Den Broeder & Warren Riggs Megamix to close out this mix. Like Marvin Gaye and Tammy Terrell sang…”Ain’t Nothing Like The Real Thang, Baby.”

We here at KINKSTER hope this mix finds you in good health and spirits over the Thanksgiving Weekend and I am looking forward to next month’s 2017 Rewind Master Mix.


Sr. Music Contributing Writer - A disc jockey since 1980, DJ Relentless has a career that has spanned from local dive bars to major club venues all over the United States, Amsterdam, the Dominican Republic and Toronto.

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