Nov. 19 (UPI) -- Actor and musician Jamie Foxx opened Sunday's American Music Awards ceremony with a heartfelt tribute to emergency personnel, the victims of disasters and violence, and the artists who tried to offer comfort in the darkest of hours.
"This year, more than, perhaps, any other in recent history, we needed the power of music to help us escape the news of the day," Foxx said. "We needed the power of music to help us heal. From hurricanes, wildfires, hate, hatred-fueled violence, 2017 was a year that tested our faith. In these moments of crisis, heroes emerged. With us tonight are first responders, who ran toward the danger when it would have been so easy to run away. ... As this year comes to a close, we look forward to 2018 with hope. For even as we mourn those who were lost, we know this: together, our strength will pull us through. Together, we shall overcome the pain. Together, we can unite as a people and as a nation."
Kelly Clarkson and Pink then performed together for the first time. They sang a moving cover of "Everybody Hurts" by R.E.M.
Actress Tracee Ellis Ross is hosting the gala, which recognizes excellence across all genres of music. The ceremony is airing on ABC live from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.