The Message In A Bottle hitmaker was “deeply moved” by the gong

Sting delivered a not-so-cryptic political message when he accepted the American Music Award of Merit in recognition of his career.

The British star was introduced by Iron Man star Robert Downey Jr, who paid tribute to the former Police frontman before he launched into a medley of several hits including Every Breath You Take and Message In A Bottle.

“Sting is more than a man or his music,” the Hollywood actor said.

“He is one of the most talented and giving human beings ever to walk the face of the earth.

“He’s also a teacher still, much as he started out. Our planet is his classroom.

“Should you choose to become a student, you’ll be exposed to a wide and varied curriculum. You will learn of sexual obsession and ego, you will learn of romantic love and devotion, spirituality and introspection, the futility of violence. Later in the semester you will learn to care about the fate of mankind.”



Accepting the gong Sting, who had been sitting next to One Direction’s Zayn Malik, said: “I’m deeply moved by this extravagant gesture.

“It’s important for me as a musical migrant to acknowledge the very real debt I owe to American music. After all, American music lit the musical spark in my mind.

“This uniquely American experiment, perhaps America’s greatest and influential export – rock ‘n’ roll.

“A giant musical jam session where the doors were always open. Open to all colours and the spirit of welcome and inclusion, the mixing of culture, rhythm and passion is what made this country the greatest country in the world.

“I thank you again for this extraordinary honour and promise you that while I may be an Englishman in New York, my musical soul is all-American.”

Meanwhile, it was a jam-packed night, with Ariana Grande being named Artist of The Year at the American Music Awards on Sunday evening, while Zayn scooped New Artist of The Year and Drake bagged his first ever AMA.

Early on in the night, Drake who got a leading 13 nominations, won best rap/hip-hop artist, song and album for his best-selling Views, which earlier this year became the first album to earn one billion streams on Apple Music.

“For our genre, I like to keep things exciting and keep making music… more like this is coming soon,” Drake said, accepting the award.

But pop singer Ariana Grande, 23, was chosen as Artist of The Year, beating Justin Bieber, Rihanna and Gomez.

“I can’t believe this. I am shaking with nerves,” she said.


“I hope that I can bring joy to you and make you feel unified and happy.”

Former One Direction member Zayn Malik, who quit British boy band One Direction last year to launch a solo career, beat Canadian Shawn Mendes to take the Best New Artist trophy.

“It’s been a crazy year… I didn’t expect anyone to still vote for me,” said Zayn.

Bieber performed “Never Give Up” via satellite from a concert in Italy and won awards for best pop/rock male artist, album, song and video.

Lady Gaga, Kendrick Lamar, Nicki Minaj, The Weeknd, Niall Horan, James Bay and John Legend were among the dozens of other performers on the Los Angeles stage.

Selena Gomez, making her first public appearance following a reported stint in rehab, was named favourite rock/pop female artist.

The 24-year-old US singer announced she was taking time off from her career in August to deal with anxiety, panic attacks and depression as a result of the autoimmune disease lupus.

In an emotional acceptance speech, she said: “I think it’s safe to say most of you know a lot of my life whether I liked it or not. I had to stop because I had everything and I was absolutely broken inside.

“I kept it all together enough to where I would never let you down but I kept it too much together to where I let myself down.

“I don’t want to see your bodies on Instagram, I want to see what’s in here,” she added, pointing to her chest.


I’m not trying to get validation, nor do I need it any more.

“All I can say from the bottom of my heart is that I’m so grateful I have the opportunity to be able to share what I love every single day with people I love.

“I have to say thank you so much to my fans because you guys are so damn loyal and I don’t know what I did to deserve you.

“If you are broken, you don’t have to stay broken. Whether you respect me or not, that’s one thing you should know about me is that I care about people.”


Prince’s Purple Rain was named soundtrack of the year following the singer’s sudden death in May, aged 57.

His sister Tyka broke down in tears as she accepted the award, which she said would be kept at Prince’s Paisley Park estate.

“Prince defied the odds,” she said. “A black teen from Minneapolis with a goal to electrify the world. He had the courage to be different with his courage and god-given talent.

“He is still one of the world’s most respected and loved artists. But what he told me was he wanted to be known as the world’s most prolific songwriter. With 984 titles to his credit and counting, he’s done just that.



On behalf of Prince, our wonderful friend, teacher and brother, I humbly accept this award.”

Twenty One Pilots collected the first award of the night as they were named named favourite pop/rock duo or group.

On stage, lead singer Tyler Joseph said: “We want to thank one particular group. We want to cut through the noise and say to the fans: you guys changed our lives.

“We’re honoured to represent you at this weird thing we’re doing tonight.

The Chainsmokers, who scored a UK number one with their single Closer this year, beat Calvin Harris and Major Lazer to win favourite electronic dance music artist.

The group’s DJ Alex Pall said on stage: “Thank you to the AMAs for bringing electronic dance music to the forefront. I don’t think the genre gets enough credit for what it does for music in general.”

The American duo had earlier performed their single Closer with singer Halsey, featuring a guest appearance from Blink 182 drummer Travis Barker.

Lady Gaga, Kendrick Lamar, Nicki Minaj, The Weeknd, Niall Horan, James Bay and John Legend were among the dozens of other performers on the Los Angeles stage.