Let’s just cut the bullshit and stop tip-toeing around the obvious: Award shows, by nature, are self-congratulatory, three-hour slogs through the banal, and that’s why it’s best to down a bottle while watching (and reporting on) them. Because NAVY OR DIE!!!!!!!!! and Austin Mahone thanking God for his super awesome Instagram just aren’t aspects of life most people can sugar coat without wanting to jump into a pit filled with upright bayonets afterwards. Right? Right? Maybe I’m alone there. Who knows.
iHeartLosAngeles iHeartRadio Music Awards took place last night, and, to be fair, it was the very first time this particular do happened. So we should be forgiving of the fact that the night was a 70% terrible thing to behold. Actually, it was probably 89% terrible, but, again, alcohol cures many award-show ills.
So in the spirit of helping out this budding young televised franchise in its infancy, let’s take a look below at the moments that were good and the moments that were not so good. Consider them like life lessons to grow by. You have to stumble — or open your show with Pitbull — before you can run, no? (Unless, of course, NBC yanked the option for this thing ever happening again. In which case — read no further!)
BAD: Every single second of the iHeartRadio Music Awards was used as a reminder to viewers about how mindblowingly incredible Los Angeles is. Jared Leto practically took his Oscar out and f***ed each “O” in the Hollywood sign during Thirty Seconds To Mars’ overwrought performance. And look — I lived in L.A. for 11 years. I love L.A. and look forward to my next visit there. But you know what? NO ONE OUTSIDE OF LOS ANGELES CARES!!!!!
BAD: The night opened with a Pitbull performance. I could just stop there, but will also add that while Mr. Worldwide was rapping over his own quadruple-tracked backup vocals, I was half-hoping Kesha would at least make a surprise cameo. She didn’t, and instead we were treated to an army of what looked like Vivid Entertainment hopefuls twerking during the chorus to “Timber.”
BAD: Rihanna won the first award, but was “stuck in traffic on the 405″ and didn’t pick it up.
GOOD: RiRi, looking like the titular creature from Alien, eventually did show up, and in typical gif-worthy fashion, proceeded to shade the hell out of everyone and everything in sight. Each time the camera panned to her, she was sipping wine, giggling over whomever was performing at that moment or not paying attention at all. Make no mistake — Rihanna knows what’s up.
BAD: Pitbull won the second award of the night — Best Collaboration, for “Timber” — probably because he was the only one nominated who was actually present. As mentioned, his collaborator K$ was a no-show.
BAD: Miley Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball” won for Best Lyrics, and — nope — she wasn’t there. Instead, her dad, Billy Ray, picked up the statue. Lame.
BAD: “Appearances” by artists such as Lady Gaga and Kanye West were actually pre-recorded, and several of the evening’s performances were beamed in from somewhere else. Case in point: Ed Sheeran did two songs from some small club, and he didn’t even sing “Sing.” What, was this taped back in, like, 2013?
GOOD: Adam Lambert is a class act and was looking suave in green last night. Any screen time with him is A++. Only gripe: He didn’t sing. Who cares that he doesn’t have an album or new song out; hand the guy a phone book and we’ll listen.
BAD: Lil Jon came on stage wearing tie-dye and screamed some bizarre intro for Ariana Grande, because he’s wild and crazy and the Godfather Of Crunk, y’all. And he was sipping white wine.
GOOD: It became very obvious that Rihanna was the only big star in the house up to this point. And, perhaps realizing it was too late to have her driver swing back around for a quick and easy rescue mission, she just went with it. Favorite moment: When RiRi couldn’t stop laughing during Ariana Grande’s performance of “Problem.”
BAD: Lorde won Best New Artist and didn’t show up.
BAD: Luke Bryan danced. You know the dance I’m talking about. It felt like Satan’s kisses.
GOOD: Gwen Stefani introduced Pharrell before his big song-and-dance medley and he seemed genuinely grateful and emotional, because, duh…Gwen Stefani. I didn’t fully realize this until last night, but we really need her back in the pop world.
GOOD: At some point, Shakira showed up to quickly sing and introduce or present or something. I’m thinking the last thing she said to the driver was, “Keep it running.”
BAD: Oh, there were so many other things — that confusing Michael Jackson song premiere; Arcade Fire’s remote performance from a strange Candy Land-like hell; the constant, hours-long teasing of “Seacrest” and “JLo” entering the building like it was the night’s biggest moment — but I’ll just stop here. There’s enough above to work with and learn from, probably?
So let’s just hope for a spectacular and much-improved show next year. CAN’T wait.
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