By Hayden Wright
The climax of the 2017 American Music Awards was saved for last: At show’s end, Diana Ross accepted the Lifetime Achievement Award for nearly six decades of stardom in the industry. The night, hosted by Ross’ daughter Tracee Ellis Ross, featured special tributes from luminaries like Taylor Swift and Barack and Michelle Obama.
“We still listen to Diana around the house,” the former president said. “That’s why I gave her the presidential medal of freedom last year, but—this is a big deal, too!”
“People from the ages of 8 to 80 know every word to Diana Ross’ songs,” Mrs. Obama said, adding that nearly 60 years into her career, the Supreme’s voice, beauty and showmanship are undiminished.
After a montage from her career, Ross took the stage with “I’m Coming Out” followed by her 1995 hit “Take Me Higher.” Dressed in a black gown with puffy purple stole, the former Supreme radiated confidence and cycled through her catalog of classics. In one of the set’s best moments, Ross performed “Ease on Down the Road” from her classic film The Wiz. Tracee and family members clapped and sang along to her mother’s lively performance.
At a slower moment in the set, Ross sang “The Best Years of My Life,” followed by an uptempo “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.” Diana’s entire family gathered onstage at the finale, beginning with several grandchildren. To close the awards, one of Ross’ grandkids took the mic and wished everyone a good night.