Stevie Wonder's tribute to Dick Clark caps a nostalgic night at the American Music Awards 2012

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This year marks the 40th Anniversary of the American Music Awards, so it's not surprising that nostalgia was a major theme throughout the show. Stevie Wonder's tribute to Dick Clark ended up being merely an emotional high point of the night.

AMAs paid tribute to a wide variety of artists in the 2012 award show. We got to see a video of Cyndi Lauper singing her ballad, "Time After Time." The '80s were also represented with an almost disturbing clip of DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince -- the man now known to all as Will Smith -- bouncing around the stage in bright colors.

Because this was a night of many boy bands, the AMAs had to give us some eye-candy nostalgia as well. This musical genre was well-represented by *NSYNC (looking so young!) singing "Bye Bye Bye."

One of the more moving, pre-Dick Clark moments came when Brandy introduced a brief tribute to Whitney Houston, obviously a huge influence on the music industry celebrated by this awards ceremony.

Why does Dick Clark get the ultimate honors? Considering that the American Music Awards are themselves a Dick Clark production, this night wouldn't even exist without the iconic host and producer.
Photo/Video credit: Getty Images