Aretha Franklin tribute closes American Music Awards

Gladys Knight, Cece Winans and more lead gospel celebration honoring the Queen of Soul

Adam Graham
The Detroit News
Gladys Knight performs "Amazing Grace" during a tribute to the late singer Aretha Franklin at the American Music Awards on Tuesday at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.

Tuesday's American Music Awards closed out with a gospel tribute to Aretha Franklin featuring Gladys Knight, Ledisi, Mary Mary, Cece Winans and Donnie McClurkin.

A video package traced Franklin's history with the awards show, going back to her performance on the third annual show in 1976 and the 1983 edition, which she hosted. 

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Ledisi performs "How I Got Over" during a tribute to the late singer Aretha Franklin at the American Music Awards.

Knight then opened the lively tribute with a version of "Amazing Grace." The performance continued with McClurkin singing "Climb Higher Mountains," Winans taking on "Mary Don't You Weep" and Ledisi doing "How I Got Over." Mary Mary closed the tribute with a stirring "Old Landmark." 

Cameras frequently cut to crowd shots during the performance and caught a winsome Post Malone and a jubilant Jordan Franklin, Aretha's grandson. Photos of Franklin through the years decorated the stage's backdrop.  

CeCe Winans performs "Mary Don't You Weep" during a tribute to the late singer Aretha Franklin at the American Music Awards.

Taylor Swift was the show's big winner, capturing four awards, including Artist of the Year.  

Aretha Franklin: Queen of Soul

agraham@detroitnews.com

@grahamorama