iHeartRadio Music Awards: 10 Extremely Bad Moments & 5 Good Ones To Learn By

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.

Anyway, the 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.

Rihanna Alien

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.

Get an eyeful of even more pop music coverage, from artist interviews to exclusive performances, on Idolator’s YouTube channel.

  • Pablo

    Although I’m sure Rihanna threw tons of shade. I don’t think she was throwing shade in particular when she was watching Ariana. It actually looked like she was kind of in to it and enjoying it.

    • Robbie Daw


      • Pablo

        Sorry! These awards were pretty horrible, haha.
        But if it was shade, at least it’ll make Ariana step her game up! The sweet act is getting old, lol.

    • Kay Davis

      Ri – was mocking Arianna’s attempt to be “funky”. I am sure Arianna’s laughing all the way to the bank. She gets the joke. She is a very smart girl.

  • Meghan

    I remember a similar moment when Rihanna started laughing with her friends during Britneys performance of Gimme More at the VMAs back in 2007 !

  • Kay Davis

    Overall you are right on with the 89% bad.

    “Wrecking Ball” winning best lyrics? One of the low points of the awards.

    Just to be fair to Lorde and Miley — they are both not well. Kesha is still working on getting her life back in order.

    The one bad you did not mention was that although this was an NBC command appearance for The Voice “coaches”, Adam Levine did not show up.

    And, seriously, if you have Adam Lambert in the house, and two hours filled with a lot of useless stuff, have the man sing something!!

  • Lauriellen

    I was watching American Idol and wondering if JLo and Ryan were going to do a remote. This show, and really ALL awards shows are terrible any more. Even the red carpet…Adam Lambert was the only one worth talking about. This wasn’t even a good infomercial for LA. I have an idea. Why not give Adam Lambert his own variety show where we can see his acting, hosting, dancing, singing and wearing clothes perfectly.

  • iLikeToComment

    I love RiRi. You can tell she is high as sh*t LOL. And it did seem like this show was whoring the Voice, I mean what the h*ll were all those voice judges there for. But I do love Blake (he’s so funny), he is the show to be honest. Without him, there would be no Voice. And I agree about Adam Lambert, hand that boy a mic, let him sing!!!!

  • Terry

    LMAO at Riri!!! Also, Pharrell, Jared & Adam – the good! Pitbull….. the bad. Why is he still even a thing?