Music took center stage (literally) at tonight’s 2015 American Music Awards, but another theme worked its way into the spotlight during the show: the ’90s.
With ’90s nostalgia being at an all-time high these days, it’s no surprise the producers of the AMAs and the artists themselves just couldn’t resist throwing it back. Who wouldn’t want to revisit the glory days of Sun-In and slap bracelets? Here are nine moments from the AMAs that took us on a stroll down memory lane to our favorite decade.
1. Chloe Grace Moretz’s fashion statement
Any ’90s girl worth her salt had at least one choker to break out for special — oh, who am I kidding? EVERY — occasion. Moretz topped off her show-stopping black gown tonight with a matching black choker, giving us serious Drew-Barrymore-circa-Mad-Love flashbacks. The little black barrettes holding her hair back were the icing on the ’90s cake.
2. The Sir Mix-a-Lot shout-out
Jennifer Lopez kicked off the show with a dance medley of some of the most popular songs currently on the radio. However, instead of just shaking her booty to Nicki Minaj’s “Anaconda,” she threw back even further — to the original, and Minaj’s inspiration, Sir Mix-a-Lot’s “Baby Got Back.” I don’t think I need to remind you how much of a hit that was in the ’90s. I’m pretty sure there’s a mortifying video floating around somewhere of me doing my own choreography, for that matter.
3. JLo’s opening speech homage
After slaying the start of the show with the dance medley to end all dance medleys, Lopez took a moment to acknowledge the magnitude of hosting the American Music Awards. She said she used to watch the show wishing she might one day “be one of the lucky ones one day who got to be on the stage and perform for you, fans of music everywhere.” And, to drive home her point, she gave a shout-out to some of the greatest ’90s AMAs performers — “Whitney, Michael, Janet, Madonna, Prince.”
4. Prince as a presenter
Speaking of Prince, can we just talk for a minute about how phenomenal it was to see Prince onstage as a presenter at tonight’s AMAs? The only thing better would have been seeing him onstage as a performer. Still, we’ll take what we can get. Sure, he was huge before the ’90s. But it was a big decade for him, including a slew of huge award nominations.
5. A Clueless reunion
Be still, my heart! I watched Clueless so many times in the ’90s that I almost turned myself into Cher Horowitz. So you can imagine my sheer joy upon seeing Alicia Silverstone (Cher herself) and Jeremy Sisto (who played Elton) reunited on the screen after 20 years apart. Those two as a presenting duo made me feel like it was 1995 again.
6. Gwen Stefani, y’all
Yes, Gwen Stefani is absolutely still relevant and current and making hit music. But, as Silverstone and Sisto reminded us before Stefani’s performance, her ’90s megahit “Just a Girl” was on the Clueless soundtrack. On the red carpet earlier in the night, Giuliana Rancic likened Stefani’s crew back then to Taylor Swift’s crew today.
7. Paula Abdul and Donnie Wahlberg together
Abdul and Wahlberg stood behind the AMAs podium tonight to present Ariana Grande with the Favorite Pop/Rock Female Award — which Abdul won in both 1990 and 1992. And need I reference Wahlberg’s musical past as a member of the ’90s boy-band phenoms, New Kids on the Block?
8. And also Alanis Morrissette
Stefani and Morrissette performing in the same night on the same stage? Have we fallen into some wondrous ’90s wormhole? Nope, it’s just the 2015 AMAs tugging on our ’90s-loving heartstrings. Morrissette — who charmed the world on Saturday Night Live last week — was one of the AMAs most memorable performers.
9. Celine Dion’s Paris tribute
The ’90s would not have been the ’90s without Celine Dion’s many popular power ballads. So it was nice to see her return to the AMAs stage on such a ’90s-centric night, particularly for a moving performance in tribute to the victims of last week’s attacks in Paris. Dion performed a special French rendition of Edith Piaf’s “Hymne à L’Amour,” bringing the room to tears.