The crowd booed audibly when Rowland announced Brown's name. Although she appeared surprised by the response, she continued with her presentation, explaining that he was not present.
Although it's unclear what caused his absence, it's possible that he's involved in a dispute with AMAs producers after it was reported that they scrapped a tribute Brown was supposed to lead.
In celebration of Jackson's 40th anniversary, Brown shared rehearsal footage of the musical number. The Instagram post was captioned “U SERIOUS?,” seemingly in reference to the decision to pull the performance at the last minute.