There are times in a celebrity’s career when their relationship overshadows their actual talent — it’s not right, but in today’s world of celebrity, it happens. Such is the case for Selena Gomez right about now. She was recently smooching her ex-boyfriend, Justin Bieber, and tongues wagged when Selena Gomez showed up without Justin Bieber on the AMAs red carpet. Where is he? Why didn’t Selena go that blonde before? But as soon as she started singing, “Wolves,” I forgot all of those questions! Selena Gomez’s 2017 AMAs performance made me forget all about Justin Bieber! That's not an easy feat.
I kid, I kid — this is Gomez's only television performance of the year, and it was a highly stylized account of doing whatever you can to get to your person. Gomez came out of the fog, wearing nothing but a white slip and sneakers, with a head wound and bruised knees. I guess the explanation was that she was in a car accident (the car on the set was all smashed up), but then the backup dancers were pawing her and pushing her and scooting her all over the stage, perhaps, I assume, like wolves! It was a literal translation of the song, but with an excellent production value. During it, though, I didn't think of the rumors swirling that Justin and Selena are back together. Not one bit! Mostly, I just wanted Gomez to get that head wound looked at, because you really shouldn't let those things go unchecked.
Those flexible dancers also worried me — if I were Selena, I would have waited in that smashed-up car for help to arrive. The wolves can't get you in the car. (Hopefully.) While the song is about doing anything for the person you love, the performance could probably be an allegory of Gomez's life — she's been hounded by the media, called all sorts of names on the internet, and had some health issues, but in the end, she's emerged, with bruises but also with the strength to carry on.
And frankly, it's just good to see Gomez back on television. This AMAs performance of her brand-new single marks Gomez's return to the stage after a long, hard year. The 25-year-old singer revealed in an Instagram post in September that she had received a kidney transplant from her longtime friend, actress Francia Raisa. Gomez has suffered from lupus for years, and it was necessary for her to get a transplant.
In an interview with TODAY's Savannah Guthrie, Gomez expressed how thankful she was that Raisa had given her — literally — the gift of life. Gomez said:
“My kidneys were just done. That was it, and I didn’t want to ask a single person in my life. The thought of asking someone to do that was really difficult for me. She volunteered and did it. And let alone someone wanting to volunteer, it is incredibly difficult to find a match. The fact that she was a match, I mean that’s unbelievable. That’s not real.”
In 2016, Gomez announced that she was taking some time off. “I’ve discovered that anxiety, panic attacks, and depression can be side effects of lupus, which can present their own challenges," she said, adding that she decided that she would be "maintaining [her] health and happiness" with good old rest and relaxation. After all, as a pop star (never mind the fact that she's the most-followed person on Instagram) her career responsibilities are many. But it was important for her to take care of her health and sanity before her career, and that deserves some major respect. There's no shame in knowing that you need a break. Gomez saw it, she took it, and now she's slowly returning to public life. And I, for one, certainly welcome her back.