Tracee Ellis Ross turned the 2018 American Music Awards stage into her very own makeshift dance floor ahead of hosting the show for the second consecutive year.
On Tuesday night, the Black-ish star opened the ceremony with a medley of hits past and present, beginning with Cardi B’s ubiquitous “Bodak Yellow” — for which she donned a diamond studded grill that spelled out her initials!
After an instant wardrobe change to reveal a black body suit, she stomped through tracks including “This Is America” by Childish Gambino, “Apes—t” by the Carters, “Respect” by Aretha Franklin, and “Uptown Funk” by Mark Ronson featuring Bruno Mars.
“Wait, I’m not done?!” the star (semi) jokingly gasped midway through the dance routine.
“J.Lo, I don’t know how you do that all the time,” she said as she breathlessly wrapped her performance. “I am not a dancer. I think I’m just a lady who moves.”
Her on-screen children from black-ish were in the audience, and they proved hard to impress — one held up a number 7 with a judges paddle, while the other offered a measly 3!
Thankfully, the host was able to look on the bright side. “Well, you know what? Together that makes a perfect 10. And I had fun, and that’s all that matters, because that’s what tonight’s all about — having fun!”
Gearing up for the show, Ross, 45, issued a forewarning about the routine to PEOPLE, making a request of everybody watching to “dial up their compassion, dial down their judgment and literally act like they’re rooting for one of their best friends doing a talent show.”
“I am not your professional musical theater gal or dancer who’s out on tour every night singing and dancing,” she said. “I’ve done it a couple of times before when I’ve hosted live award shows, and it’s terrifying, exciting and fantastic.”
Check out PEOPLE’s full AMAs coverage to get the latest news on one of music’s biggest nights.
And aside from her own performance, Ross shared a few other celebrities she’s looking forward to seeing take the stage right before her eyes on one of music’s biggest nights.
“One of my favorite parts about hosting is hosting one of the best parties in the world so that you get a front row seat,” she said. “I’m now calling them the three C’s: Cardi B, Carrie Underwood and Mariah Carey – all three of those performances are completely different genres, all amazing and I just can’t wait to see all of them.”
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“You never know what’s going to happen with Mariah Carey, which is exciting, Cardi B is, obviously, a fireball and a star of this moment and I’m obsessed with her, and Carrie Underwood – I don’t know about you, but every time one of her songs comes on I belt it out in the car like I’m her,” she continued.
Taylor Swift, who is nominated for four awards and has won 19 in the past, is making her grand return to the AMAs stage for the first time since 2014 as the show’s opener. The “Look What You Made Me Do” singer will belt out her hit “I Did Something Bad.”
Carrie Underwood and Post Malone featuring Ty Dolla $ign are set to perform, and Jennifer Lopez, Mariah Carey, Benny Blanco with Halsey and Khalid, Ciara with Missy Elliot, Dua Lipa, Panic! at the Disco, Camila Cabello and Shawn Mendes with Zedd are also in the lineup.
Cardi will perform at an awards show for the first time since welcoming daughter Kulture Kiari with husband Offset in July. She will take the stage with Bad Bunny and J Balvin to perform "I Like It."
The 2018 American Music Awards are airing live from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles on Tuesday, Oct. 9 at 8 p.m. EST on ABC.
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