Justin Bieber Gets Serious With 'Pray' At AMAs

Teen star performed his new ballad at Sunday's American Music Awards.

Sitting at a piano, [artist id="3187077"]Justin Bieber[/artist] showed his haters he's more than a pretty face and floppy hair for his American Music Awards performance. Bieber played his new single, the [article id="1652123"]uplifting ballad "Pray,"[/article] which is a departure from his usual upbeat pop fare.

There were no pyrotechnics and no backup dancers. The beginning of the performance was all about Bieber singing the new track off his [article id="1651819"]My Worlds Acoustic[/article] album (out on Friday). Midway through the song, however, Bieber threw in that showmanship that's made him famous.

Just one performance after Katy Perry used a children's choir for her performance of her equally inspirational song, "Firework," Bieber was joined by a choir of his own. He ended the song on his knees while the crowd rose to their feet to give him a standing ovation.

The track — which features a mid-tempo, world-music beat, synths and Bieber's vocals in a lower key than we've heard before — repeats one simple refrain in the chorus. "I close my eyes and I can see a better day/ I close my eyes and pray," he sings.

"It's a very uplifting song, very motivational," [article id="1652476"]Bieber told Ryan Seacrest[/article] earlier this week about the song. "It definitely comes from the heart. It's very beautiful. I definitely thought of Michael [Jackson's] 'Man in the Mirror' when I was writing it.

The track can be found on the singer's third release in a year, which features acoustic versions of some of his biggest hits like "Baby."

What did you think of Justin Bieber's AMA performance? Share your thoughts in the comments.