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Behind Pink's Amazing AMA Performance

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Behind Pink's Amazing AMA Performance
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Behind Pink's Amazing AMA Performance (ABC News)

There were many highlights from Sunday's American Music Awards - Jenny McCarthy kissing Justin Bieber, for one - but perhaps the most-talked-about moment was Pink's arresting performance of her latest single, "Try."To prepare for the incredibly physical duet about a relationship gone awry, the singer rehearsed for 10 days with her male dance partner, Colt Prattes, director Baz Halpin, acrobatics coordinator Sebastien Stella and choreographers RJ Durell and Nick Florez. But Florez said Pink was the one who deserves the most credit.

"Ultimately, it all stems from Pink, because at the end of the day she wanted to put in the time to do the rehearsal and risk doing something that she had never done before, and that takes a lot of courage," Florez told ABCNews.com. "She's obviously so amazingly talented but pushed herself even further to do something she had never done."

"Something I think is special about this performance is in a lot of ways it's the antithesis of what a pop star would do at an awards show," Durell told ABCNews.com. "Everything was very stripped down. But I think what drove that decision is it really allowed the viewers and the audience to access the journey that Pink and Colt were taking us on in this performance."

"We really wanted it to feel as though you were a fly on the wall and got a glimpse into someone's struggle," Florez said.

Pink's remarkable dancing skills and sheer physicality took center stage as she performed on a simple set of a decrepit house wearing sparse clothing and rainbow-colored body-paint.

The performance opened with the singer balancing upside-down on Prattes shoulders, followed by intensely athletic, though balletic, sequences that mimicked fighting. The dance climaxed with the pair throwing each other into furniture while flames flickered in the background.

Remarkably, Pink sang live throughout the performance.

"First and foremost, she's an amazing vocalist and would never compromise that in a live performance," Florez said.

As a jumping off point for the AMA performance, Florez and Durell used the video for "Try," which debuted in October and also features Prattes and some of the same acrobatic, sometimes anguished, moves intercut with scenes of Pink singing in a barren field.

In a statement before the video's release, Pink called it "my favorite video ever."

"It was the most violent, fun thing I've ever done in my life," she said in a behind-the-scenes video. "The whole crew is fabulous. I'm in love with everyone. I never want this to end."

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Hours before the video premiered, Pink tweeted, "My mom, after seeing the new video: 'Wow, honey. I'm speechless. And uncomfortable. No one can ever say you play it safe.' Thanks, mama:)."

The video, unlike Pink's AMA performance, was recorded in segments.

"Our running joke was 'No one could ever do this live,'" Florez said about the video, for which Pink rehearsed for two weeks. "Then came AMA time and Pink said she wanted to recreate this live and we were like, 'Oh my goodness.'"

Pink not only turned in a flawless performance, she had the audience standing from the very beginning.

"As soon as she is in the neck-to-neck balancing pose, we start to see everyone in the audience standing up," Florez said. "We were hoping it would get a good response at the end, but from the moment it started you see people rise out of their seats."

The last time Pink earned a standing ovation was for her performance at the 2010 Grammy Awards, where she performed her song "Glitter in the Air" while twirling around nearly naked in a fabric trapeze suspended high above the audience.

Incredibly, the singer has no formal training as a dancer beyond childhood dance classes, though Durell said, "Naturally she's such an amazing dancer."

But what she lacks in training she makes up for in determination.

"Pink just has such drive and she's such a perfectionist," Durell said. "If you give her a correction once, the next time you watch it, she's already implementing it.

"Not only that, she's asking for it," Durell said. "Like she'll say, 'Be hard on me, guys.' She wants to be her best.'"

Days before the performance, Pink pulled her hip flexor and an old shoulder injury flared up, but she told the choreographers not to worry.

"But I really hope she's resting today," Durell said, "and really nurturing and appreciating her body because she deserves it."

It would seem so.

After getting praise from her husband, race car driver Corey Hart ("Wifey @ Pink killed the # AMAs tonight," he tweeted) and Ellen Degeneres ("I love @ Pink ! That performance was incredible," she tweeted), the singer tweeted, "Thank you. Advil. Happy you all enjoyed it, truly."

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