Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj have lit up the stage at the American Music Awards with a performance choreographed by Kiwi Parris Goebel.

The two stars performed their hit Side to Side, with a sexy tropical staging to match the racy lyrics.

Goebel posted a photo to Instagram revealing she had choreographed a piece for the pair. The dance was almost too raunchy for television, with the cameras cutting away as Minaj raised her legs in the air.

Goebel is up for an award the Video of the Year award for putting together Justin Bieber's Sorry clip, but the slow-moving ceremony means we likely won't see if she has won for several hours left.

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The AMAs show opened with supermodel and host Gigi Hadid making a clunky impression of First Lady-in-Waiting Melania Trump.

"I love my husband ... Barack Obama and our children Sasha and Malia," Hadid said, while pulling a facial expression to mimic Melania's.

The impression has received a mixed reaction online, with some viewers branding the Victoria's Secret model's take on Trump as "hilarious" (followed by the crying face emoji), while others said it was "cringe-worthy".

There was another awkward moment early on in the telecast when Hadid's ex stepsisters, comedians Sarah and Erin Foster, took to the AMAs stage to introduce Niall Horan (awkward because their dad, music composer David Foster, divorced Hadid's mother, Yolanda).

Hosts Gigi Hadid (left) and Jay Pharoah appear at the American Music Awards. Photo / AP
Hosts Gigi Hadid (left) and Jay Pharoah appear at the American Music Awards. Photo / AP

Meantime, exes Drake and Rihanna, along with pop bad boy Justin Bieber and powerhouse singer Adele, lead the nominations.

DRAKE RULES WITH VIEWS

Drake opened his trophy count with Views named Best Rap/Hip Hop Album.

Recording artist Drake accepts the Favorite Rap/Hip-Hop Album award onstage during the 2016 American Music Awards. Photo / Getty Images
Recording artist Drake accepts the Favorite Rap/Hip-Hop Album award onstage during the 2016 American Music Awards. Photo / Getty Images

His list of thank yous included Views' producers, the fans and the city of Toronto, along with his former Degrassi co-star Nina Dobrev, who presented him with the award.

The hip hop superstar also gave a shout out to his dad Dennis Graham, who is at the awards with his son (Drake recently split with on-again, off-again girlfriend Rihanna). When flying solo at an awards ceremony, it's always wise to bring a parent.

EARLY WINNERS

Josh Dun (left) and Tyler Joseph, of Twenty One Pilots, accept the award for favorite duo or group - pop/rock at the American Music Awards. Photo / AP
Josh Dun (left) and Tyler Joseph, of Twenty One Pilots, accept the award for favorite duo or group - pop/rock at the American Music Awards. Photo / AP

Chart-slaying American pair Twenty One Pilots won the first award for the night, named Best Pop/Rock Duo.

Bruno Mars and his crew opened the show with a slick version of his latest hit 24K Magic while Horan dialled the energy down with his heartfelt acoustic performance of debut solo ballad This Town.

He was immediately followed by girl group Fifth Harmony, whose choreography was a shambolic mess when they weren't executing the obligatory stage strut. But at least they managed to (mostly) stay in tune.

Hadid and her co-host Pharoah must have mentioned "it's all about the music" at least four times in their opening monologue but it turns out they were mostly right.

The AMAs must have one of the biggest contingents of live performances for any awards, with Drake's award followed by the chainsmokers and Halsey singing their smash hit closer and British troubadour James Bay delivering a fairly uninspired rendition of his 2014 hit Let it Go.

GOMEZ MAKES COMEBACK FROM REHAB

Selena Gomez made her first red carpet appearance since a stint in rehab for anxiety, depression and panic attacks.

Welcome back, Selena Gomez. Photo / AP
Welcome back, Selena Gomez. Photo / AP

The 24-year-old - who used to date Bieber - had been receiving treatment at a facility in Tennessee since August 30 when she announced a career hiatus. Gomez and Bieber are both nominated for Artist of the Year.

Lady Gaga, DJ Khaled, Ariana Grande, Nicki Minaj, The Weeknd and former One Direction member Niall Horan will perform, while Prince's siblings will lead a tribute to the late Purple Rain singer.

CHRISSY STUNS WITH DARING DRESS

As if Gigi Hadid's see-through dress wasn't enough for to heat up the AMAS red carpet. Swimwuit model Chrissy Teigen has stunned by wearing a daring gown with a revealing split.

Chrissy Teigen and John Legend. Photo / AP
Chrissy Teigen and John Legend. Photo / AP

More from Spy:
β€’ Gigi flashes nude undies on red carpet
β€’ Trump dig: 'Siri, how do I kill ISIS?'

LIST OF 2016 AMERICAN MUSIC AWARDS NOMINEES

ARTIST OF THE YEAR

Justin Bieber

Selena Gomez

Ariana Grande

Rihanna

Carrie Underwood

NEW ARTIST OF THE YEAR

Alessia Cara

The Chainsmokers

DNCE

Shawn Mendes

Zayn Malik
COLLABORATION

Chainsmokers ft. Data - "Don't Let Me Down"

Drake ft. Wizkid/Kyla - "One Dance"

Fifth Harmony ft. Ty Dolla $ign - "Work From Home"

Rihanna ft. Drake - "Work"

Meghan Trainor ft. J. Legend - "Like I'm Gonna Lose You"

FAVOURITE MALE ARTIST - POP/ROCK

Justin Bieber

Drake

The Weeknd

FAVOURITE FEMALE ARTIST - POP/ROCK

Adele

Selena Gomez

Rihanna

FAVOURITE DUO OR GROUP - POP/ROCK

The Chainsmokers

DNCE

Twenty One Pilots
FAVOURITE ALBUM - POP/ROCK

Adele - "25"

Justin Bieber - "Purpose"

Drake - "Views

FAVORITE SONG - POP/ROCK

Adele "Hello"

Justin Bieber "Love Yourself"

Drake Featuring Wizkid & Kyla "One Dance"

FAVORITE MALE ARTIST - SOUL/R&B

Chris Brown

Bryson Tiller

The Weeknd

FAVOURITE FEMALE ARTIST - SOUL/R&B

Beyonce

Janet Jackson

Rihanna

FAVOURITE SONG - SOUL/R&B

Drake Featuring Wizkid & Kyla - "One Dance"

Rihanna and Drake - "Work"

Bryson Tiller - "Don't"

FAVOURITE ALBUM - SOUL/R&B

Beyonce - "LEMONADE"

Rihanna - "Anti"

Bryson Tiller - "T R A P S O U L"

FAVORITE ARTIST - RAP/HIP-HOP

Drake

Fetty Wap

Future

FAVOURITE SONG - RAP/HIP-HOP

Designer - "Panda"

Drake - "Hotline Bling"

Fetty Wap - "679β€³

FAVOURITE ALBUM - RAP/HIP-HOP
Drake - "Views"

Drake and Future - "What a Time to Be Alive"

Fetty Wap - "Fetty Wap"

FAVOURITE ARTIST - EDM
The Chainsmokers

Calvin Harris

Major Lazer

TOP SOUNDTRACK

Purple Rain

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Suicide Squad: The Album

VIDEO OF THE YEAR

Justin Bieber, "Sorry"

Designer, "Panda"

Rihanna featuring Drake, "Work"

TOUR OF THE YEAR

Beyonce

Madonna

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band