Sunday night at the American Music Awards, a strikingly different Selena Gomez took the stage to sing for the first time since undergoing kidney transplant surgery. Performing her new single, “Wolves,” the singer evoked ’90s Courtney Love with her edgy platinum ‘do and white satin slip dress; her performance’s set also had a dark, Gothic feel, as a troupe of dancers surrounded her while she dramatically writhed on top of a red convertible, her hands and face daubed with fake blood.
However, many on social media commented on her performance itself, noting that Gomez appeared to be lip-syncing and that she seemed apathetic. The singer performed the song with an uncharacteristically grim attitude, shrugging and unsmilingly mouthing a simple “Thank you.”
— AMAs (@AMAs) November 20, 2017
— mae (@technicolovato) November 20, 2017
— J A (@jswarley29) November 20, 2017
Selena Gomez did a GREAT performance but she had production added on top of the vocals to sound "robotic" and people are saying that she was lipsycing, when they could say GOOD things about the performance. People just want a reason to hate Selena and discredit her #AMAs pic.twitter.com/wPp3YFTeOl
— filipa loves gui (@iwishyoutayIor) November 20, 2017
It is possible that Gomez might have had stage jitters after being away from the stage for some time. The singer took a yearlong hiatus after abruptly canceling her “Revival World Tour” in 2016, citing depression, anxiety, and the chronic autoimmune disease lupus. Then, in September 2017, to many fans’ surprise, she revealed that she had stepped back from work during the summer to recover from a kidney transplant.
“I’m very aware some of my fans had noticed I was laying low for part of the summer and questioning why I wasn’t promoting my new music, which I was extremely proud of,” Gomez posted on Instagram. “So I found out I needed to get a kidney transplant due to my lupus and was recovering. It was what I needed to do for my overall health.”
Gomez received her kidney from actress Francia Raisa, who volunteered to donate the organ to save her friend’s life. “There aren’t words to describe how I can possibly thank my beautiful friend Francia Raisa,” Gomez wrote on Instagram. “She gave me the ultimate gift and sacrifice by donating her kidney to me. I am incredibly blessed. I love you so much sis.”
The 2017 American Music Awards aired live Sunday from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.