The American Music Awards: Surprises, Stage Falls and Simulated Sex

Becky Bain | November 23, 2009 11:25 am

“Last nights AMAs seems to have met all 3 award show requirements: a staged controversy, a gaffe and a triumph.” Couldn’t have said it any better myself, John Mayer’s Twitter. Let’s take a closer look at last night’s zany show, complete with performance videos:

UPDATE: Looks like Dick Clark Productions got around to pulling down most of the YouTube clips. We replaced what we could find, but in some cases, we apologize for the lack of video proof for some of the performances.

Staged Controversy

We’re not exactly sure how “staged” this must be, but the biggest controversy of the night seems to be Adam Lambert turning the AMA stage into his own personal sex club. He pulls a guy’s head into his crotch, has his lyrics censored, and then producers cut away to an aerial shot as soon as humanly possible. (Meanwhile, dragging a woman across the floor by her leg and leading two men by a leash? Totally fine!) Check out the split-second faux blowie at 1:14, and tell us if you think this is inappropriate for a prime-time awards show, or the best way for Lambert to announce to the world he’s here, he’s queer, and he enjoys miming sex acts in public:

Gaffe Paula Abdul’s mic didn’t work, while Rascal Flatts’ presentation speech turned into a giant echo effect for laughs. But the biggest gaffe had to be Jennifer Lopez falling over during her performance of “Louboutins,” which must sting doubly for the diva, since a) this was supposed to be her triumphant return to performing, and b) she wasn’t even wearing heels, so there’s no excuse for falling over. Only people on the East Coast got to enjoy it, so here it is again for all you West Coasters (us included):

A Triumph

Is Mr. Mayer talking about Taylor Swift beating Michael Jackson (again: Michael Jackson!) for Artist of the Year? (Man, we’re glad Kanye West wasn’t at the awards, we can just imagine the hissy-fit he’d be throwing that the King of Pop got denied a trophy.) Perhaps, but we personally think the biggest triumphs of the night were these particular performances:Janet Jackson – Medley Of Her Hits

Besides dressing like a Star Trek Brownie, Janet Jackson was incredible. Forgot how many amazing songs she’s responsible for, too.

Lady Gaga – “Bad Romance” and “Speechless”

We would have been more shocked if she came out wearing sweatpants than something terrifyingly kooky. And that choreography for “Bad Romance” is supposed to be cheesy on purpose… right? But not even the pyro-piano could distract from the fact that Ms. Germanotta can belt.

Jay-Z and Alicia Keys – “Empire State of Mind”

The epitome of class. Can Jay-Z and Alicia re-team for another song about Los Angeles? Damn if LA doesn’t need a personality makeover.

Kelly Clarkson – “Already Gone”

Looking fantastic, sounding amazing—nobody could pull this song off like Kelly. (Okay, maybe Beyoncé.)

Whitney Houston—“I Didn’t Know My Own Strength”

Whitney Houston is back, and as for her voice—we’ll take what we can get. Let’s hope this comeback isn’t just a one-off before she fades back into retirement.

Carrie Underwood – “Cowboy Casanova”

Men everywhere: don’t be misled by this burlesque-inspired performance. No actual exotic dancers look as good as Carrie Underwood.

Rihanna—”Wait Your Turn” and “Hard”

Sexiest mummy covered in laser pointers we’ve ever seen.

All in all, it was a pretty epic awards show, and if you were one of the 14.2 million people who watched, you were most likely entertained. Now we’ll just have to wait for Mayer’s live-tweeting of Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve.