Los Angeles played host to the 41st American Music Awards on Sunday night at the Nokia Theatre.
As usual it was a fairly unmusical yawn fest, serving almost entirely as a self-gratifying slap on the back for the pop community.
Unsurprisingly, Taylor swift, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, Miley Cyrus, Rihanna and Justin Timberlake were very much in evidence; so a nice wide cross section of American music then.
The evening kicked off with Katy Perry performing her current single, “Unconditionally” in a geisha-girl style outfit which bore no relevance to the song whatsoever, and served only to move many viewers to take to Twitter with cries of racism.
Lady Gaga, who arrived on a mechanical horse by the way, continued the theme of crass song and dance numbers later in the proceedings, teaming up with R. Kelly (not exactly a pillar of propriety himself) to perform “Do What You Want”.
The number was a routine in which a US President (Kelly) and his assistant (Gaga, looking very much like Marilyn Monroe) were misbehaving together in the oval office and caught having an affair.
This just two days after the 50th anniversary of JFK’s assassination.
Nothing wrong with a bit of irreverence at a music awards show, it is supposed to be rock & roll after all, but I’m sure many patriotic Americans would have taken offense at this rather unnecessary scenario. Lady Gaga sure likes to push buttons, doesn’t she?
Ironically, none of these performers won an award this year.
Taylor Swift swept up pretty much all the female awards, with a total of four for the night including favorite female artist in both country and pop/rock (I guess you can be both these days) and artist of the year. She was almost matched in the male categories by Justin Timberlake who took home three awards including favorite artist in both pop/rock and soul/r&b (well, I guess you can be both these days).
I’m not sure why they bother with genre specific awards if an artist can be nominated for and win as a favorite in two separate genres. How can you be best in pop/rock if you’re best in soul/r&b or country? Surely if you’re the best at rock you’re likely to be the worst at r&b.
Interestingly, the three nominations for favorite pop/rock male were JT, Bruno Mars, and Robin Thicke.
Not much rocking going on there gentlemen.
Timberlake and Thicke were also two out of the three nominations for soul/r&b.
So to break this down and show how ludicrous it all is, in two of the most popular categories in the AMAs you have only four artists being nominated, and remember this is for completely different genres.
As I said earlier, it all seems like a conspiracy for self-promotion, and for pop’s inner circle to celebrate how popular they are. Bare in mind these awards are mostly voted for by the public, so it is essentially a popularity contest in which it seems young fans vote for their favorites regardless of their relevance to a particular category.
Hip-hop and country had some representation, each having a favorite album and artist, but the rock world was only allowed the one award; that of favorite artist. This was won by Imagine Dragons, who beat out…wait for it…The Lumineers, and Mumford & Sons, both fine bands but hardly the greatest example of rock music with absolutely no electric instruments between them!
Maybe I’m missing the point and taking the ‘music’ part altogether too seriously. The AMAs, it seems, are really about showbiz; the glamour and the occasion; the style and not the substance, much like most of the artists there.
She performed her recent hit “Wrecking Ball” in front of a giant screen projection of a lip-syncing kitten. Was it cute? Sure. Did it make any sense? Absolutely not. Although the cat did finish the song by winking and sticking its tongue out! I’m quite surprised that the press said absolutely nothing about Miley Cyrus revealing her giant pussy to the world.
As if all that weren’t enough, Rihanna won the AMA icon award.
I rest my case.