Welcome to Idolator’s first-ever live-blog, which is taking place to honor the American Music Awards, the annual parade through pop’s middle of the road. The AMAs, for those of you who might not know, are a Dick Clark-produced celebration of the music industry’s most fan-beloved offerings. To break it down for you, numbers-wise: The AMAs are made up of 20 awards, and there are three nominees for each, which equals lots of chances for Fergie, Flea, and the Nickelback guy to give their thanks to “the fans”–approximately 20,000 of them, as that’s how many Americans are given a chance to vote.
After the jump, our running commentary on this three-hour celebration of why downloading may not be such a bad thing. Newest material will be up top, so we can keep this “bloggy.”
10:57 p.m. We’re done, because Jimmy Kimmel has to go get ready for his other show–an awkward, anticlimactic ending to an awkward, anticlimactic, weirdly booked show that somehow managed to make “Weird Al” unfunny and Gavin Rossdale relevant. The American Music Awards always seem to exist on this plane that only spotlights the worst aspects of pop music, and this year was no different, save Mary J’s pair of wins and Beyonce’s performance. It even made Jay-Z seem kind of lackluster, which, we suppose, is a feat in itself.
10:52 p.m. And your favorite soul album of the year is by Mary J. Blige, who’s still in thanking-God mode. Wait, is this really the final award of the night?
10:50 p.m. You would think that this show would actually hire writers who would have something more interesting to say about people than “top of the charts” or “millions of votes.” Guess all the money that got poured into the wind machine had to come from somewhere.
10:46 p.m. It’s already time for the grand finale? And The Game is wearing suspenders? And the set has turned into a makeshift strip club in order to accomodate Akon and Snoop Dogg? Is this song really a hit? Its keyboard fills sound like Motorola alert tones.
10:40 p.m. Chamillionaire and “Weird Al” Yankovic. Please engage in a freestyle throw-down!!! No … they are just introducing the accountants, who are, of course, white and nerdy. And now … they are walking off. What?
10:35 p.m. If you want this show’s ethos summed up in a nutshell, this is it: Jenna Elfman just announced that the Black Eyed Peas beat out TI’s King for favorite hip-hop album. And will.i.am used the acceptance speech as an opportunity to plug The Dutchess.
10:28 p.m. Bands that can still be called “alternative”: Linkin Park, Pearl Jam, Nickelback, the Red Hot Chili Peppers. It’s time to take this genre out behind the shed and shoot it.
10:25 p.m. The secret: Midway through his set, Barry Manilow is going to rip off his mask, Mission: Impossible-style, and reveal that he’s Clay Aiken.
10:23 p.m. The false Shadoe has informed us Carmen Electra is proof that beauty is not just skin deep. Unfortunately, no one has shown us the logic that led to this conclusion, leading to much cerebral short-circuiting.
10:18 p.m. Jesse McCartney is excited that Rascal Flatts are his labelmates–so excited that he forgot there’s no “the” in their name.
10:16 p.m. We know it’s not nice to make fun of people remembering their grandmothers, but can someone please teach all the people on this show some pitch control?
10:12 p.m. Dear Jamie Foxx: R. Kelly you ain’t.
10:08 p.m. The Canadian content portion of the evening is fulfilled, and not a moment too soon, by a cover of Tom Cochrane’s “Life Is A Highway.”
10:07 p.m. Thankfully, someone has knocked some sense into Carrie Underwood, and she’s traded in her cutoffs-and-dress ensemble for a cute prommy number.
10:05 p.m. The background music to Nickelback’s entrance is the funkiest thing they’ll ever be involved in.
9:58 p.m. Fall Out Boy’s new direction seems to involve three things: 1) Putting pants on Pete Wentz, 2) ripping off the “jaunty” parts of the My Chemical Romance catalog, and 3) ill-advised falsettos. Notice how none of those solutions involve being in key.
9:57 p.m. Okay, can someone please let will.i.am know that he keeps saying his band’s Web site wrong? He’s dropping a ‘w’ from the beginning, and all the people watching are going to go to a URL that doesn’t go anywhere. Hello, media training! UPDATE: Oh, it works now. It didn’t the first time he said it, though. Good response, Black Eyed Peas Web team!
9:55 p.m. Taylor Hicks, not content with ripping off the Clipse’s slang, is now attempting to enter life as a Bill Clinton impersonator.
9:52 p.m. “Hey, Lionel, do the song we know!” “Sigh, okay.”
9:50 p.m. Nicole Richie is reading her father’s bio from a teleprompter. Alas, Lionel is not wearing the sequin-studded jacket that he wore during his “outrageous” 1985 AMA appearance. Perhaps he loaned it to his daughter, because with that neckline, she’d catch her death.
9:44 p.m. On a side note, is this guy in the striped suit trying out for Shadoe Stevens’ center square slot or what?
9:42 p.m. Keyshia Cole, wearing shades and a leather jumpsuit, presents the favorite inspirational artist award. Classy.
9:38 p.m. Mary J. Blige’s new, happy-go-lucky song may be lackluster, but those knee-high
silver gold boots? Smoking. Wow.
9:35 p.m. Dave Grohl (1995!) introduces Tenacious D. Is the joke still funny now that it has production values?
9:32 p.m. We’re halfway through this broadcast, and we haven’t had one actually funny moment yet. Did they get rid of the open bars this year or what?
9:25 p.m. Sharon Stone and Christian Slater are talking about free speech. Does this mean we’re going to get a Hard Harry imitation? Oh, no, it’s just the Dixie Chicks, here to pull this show out of the Clinton era.
9:22 p.m. Jamie Foxx wins favorite R & B/soul male. Paris Hilton, the award’s presenter, gets whisked away from him, so as not to give him cooties. Or toss her cookies on him.
9:20 p.m. Sean Paul beats out Kanye West in favorite pop/rock male, and he is looking a bit nervous.
9:18 p.m. Flavor Flav emerges from an oversized baby carriage. And nearly falls out of it. And, oh, God, he is wearing a diaper.
9:11 p.m. The Red Hot Chili Peppers win favorite pop/rock group, thus averting the wormhole in the universe that would have opened if the lead singer of Bush were to give an award to Nickelback.
9:10 p.m. Wow, a Gavin Rossdale appearance! This must be 1995!
9:07 p.m. Jay-Z does “Show Me What You Got.” Is it wrong for us to hope for a Lil Wayne run-in?
9:05 p.m. Also, Gwen’s new logo looks way too close to the Sergio Tacchini emblem for your Long Island-raised Idolator’s comfort.
9:03 p.m. Gwen Stefani performs “Wind It Up,” a song that is completely ill-served by a vocal take that isn’t processed into next week. Lipsyncing never seemed like such a good idea.
9:02 p.m. “America’s Ryan Seacrest”–yes, he belongs to all of us.
8:58 p.m. So far, the two catchiest songs that aren’t “Irreplaceable” have been in ads for various arms of the Gap.
8:53 p.m. Snow Patrol, backed by … video of snow falling. What, no wind machine?
8:49 p.m. Billy Ray Cyrus has recovered from the mullet years, and he’s now trying to look like Keith Urban … and now, he’s thanking everyone who bought his daughter’s record. Other daughters would be embarrassed–she instead makes a totally lousy Master P joke.
8:45 p.m. See, this show would be so much better if JC Chasez, currently speeding through the favorite rap/hip-hop male award, was performing. Wait, what happened? Eminem won, and everyone ran away?
8:43 p.m. Don’t tip back too far, Nelly Furtado–your wig might fall off. Although that might be an improvement, since those bangs make you look like you’re posing for a Fall Out Boy fan’s MySpace photo.
8:39 p.m. And … we have another “hey, cross-genre nominations are funny!” joke, courtesy of the High School Musical cast. Then again, the Black Eyed Peas just won the favorite hip-hop group award, so that joke may be funnier because it’s sort of true.
8:36 p.m. Common’s Gap ad. It’s okay, but now we’re all nostalgic for Luscious Jackson.
8:31 p.m. Josh Groban’s falsetto: Not a good look. Once he abandons this singing thing, though, he should try and pawn his power ballads off to Aerosmith–this song’s at least as semi-bearable as that Armageddon track.
8:28 p.m. The Pussycat Dolls are showing us why they should never, ever be allowed to vamp. What key was that one Doll singing in? F minus?
8:25 p.m. We’ve already run out of fingers with which to count the bad animal-related puns, and this show isn’t even half an hour in yet. Also, that Pussycat Doll on the left looks like she is totally bored.
8:23 p.m. Nickelback’s string of inexplicable durability continues. Don’t these kids today know how to sway opinion polls? Oh, and now they’re doing the faux-humble thing. Do they not look at their SoundScans?
8:21 p.m. The Cheetah Girls, minus Raven-Symone, get shouted down by the fans they love while presenting Favorite Pop Album, which pits Nickelback and the Red Hot Chili Peppers against the High School Musical kids.
8:16 p.m. Mary J. Blige, Favorite R & B/Soul Female, gives God and Jesus “all the on-air praise.” Wait, not all of it–she has a long list of record-industry guys to herald, too.
8:14 p.m. Britney Spears, and her still-milk-filled breasts, do a little pirouette behind the podium.
8:12 p.m. And that’s followed by … a Fartman homage. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to 1995.
8:10 p.m. You know, the desire for corporate synergy is understandable on ABC’s part, but couldn’t they get Rosie O’Donnell to host or something? Seriously, a Soul Plane joke?
8:08 p.m. CARRIE UNDERWOOD’S DRESS OPENS UP INTO CUTOFFS. Jesus, take the wheel, indeed.
8:06 p.m. Aha, it’s a battle of the No. 1-selling female artists in each genre–which one will triumph against the terrible sound mixes?
8:03 p.m. It is really impossible to dislike this song, although this performance would be a lot better if you could hear the backing vocals.
8:00 p.m. And we’re under way, with Beyonce (not Jay-Z, ahem), a really strong wind machine, and “Irreplaceable.”