Anxiety can strike at the most inopportune times. The feeling of nervousness can happen right before a big presentation, or meeting people in a new social setting, or walking on stage to sing in front of millions watching. Sometimes anxiety hits when you’re doing nothing at all. That’s the scary thing about it — it is so uncertain. Selena Gomez, who’s been very open about her struggles with anxiety, got an intense bout of it right before her big comeback performance on Sunday night’s American Music Awards.
The singer killed on the red carpet. She looked phenomenal. Her performance, however, was a bit worrisome. Her opening performance at the AMA’s was the first time she’d be back on stage singing in the past two years, so there’s no denying it would be a stressful moment for anyone. Selena began her 2-set number with “Lose You to Love Me.” The tender ballad, reportedly about her breakup with Justin Bieber. But her voice was off. People on social media were brutal about Selena’s performance, which is shameful but more so because she had just suffered a panic attack backstage.
“She definitely had a panic attack. She was nervous. She hasn’t been on stage in two years, and it’s an important song in her career. She really wanted to deliver,” a source close to the singer told People magazine. The source adds that the panic attack happened “at the last minute,” and that “It threw her off. She did sound better at rehearsal.”
It’s an unfortunate situation because there wasn’t anything Gomez could do. She couldn’t have postponed her performance or go on at a later time. Every moment during an award show is timed precisely, and she did, after all, open the show.
“Selena definitely had anxiety and a panic attack before she went out and was putting a lot of pressure on herself,” the source told E! News.
The second part of her performance, in which she sang the dance single “Look At Her Now,” seemed to have gone better, and the source said Selena was in better spirits later in the show. However, this painful performance is just another indication that issues with anxiety never honestly go away.
Earlier this year, Gomez collaborated with her good friend Julia Michaels for the single “Anxiety,” which perfectly explains what this emotional distress feels like. Here’s their performance below, and for anyone else battling anxiety, as a person who deals with it every day, know this, we will get through it.