Idolator Live-Blogs The American Music Awards: You Don’t Have To Be Good, You Just Have To Be Popular
Or, in the case of this guy, you just have to have your Sunday night open. Anyway, welcome to Idolator’s second liveblog of the American Music Awards, the Dick Clark-helmed celebration of musical “favorites” that inspired this site’s first live blog almost exactly one year ago. Back then, I was cranky about Rascal Flatts and Nicole Scherzinger’s Pussycat Dolls and Jimmy Kimmel, all of whom are back to make my zingers flow once again. (I actually read an AMA preview that used as its hook the fact that the AMAs are Kimmel’s first post-writers’-strike TV appearance, which should tell you about the caliber of talent on tonight’s show.) After the jump, we find out just which musicians will inspire the people of America to get clicking on a Web site.
7:58 p.m. NASCAR is the lead-in for the AMAs, clearly a Hail Mary pass to get some viewers. Also, there are performers from last year’s show who will not be on tonight in the ad listing “10 reasons to not miss tonight’s show,” which is another troubling sign. And wait, isn’t Celine supposed to be performing too?
8:00 p.m. Fergie and will.i.am start the show. will.i.am is already getting bleeped! And he’s wearing a top hat as he does the robot next to this poorly miced performance of “Fergalicious.”
8:01 p.m. Will Fergie at least give will.i.am a chance to flog his record? Apparently not, because he’s walking offstage.
8:02 p.m. The intro to “Clumsy”: “I’m gonna take you way back … to when I was in high school.” Also: I have officially cooled on this song. Blame the Maya Rudolph spoken-word breakdown.
8:03 p.m. She is scatting the intro to “Big Girls Don’t Cry.” Will everyone get to do one verse of three songs? Have the AMAs’ producers taken their attention-span cues from the VMAs?
8:04 p.m. Serenitaaaaayyyyy.
8:05 p.m. Kate and I agree: Fergie is putting in a caliber of performance that is at least worthy of a high school talent show. It’s no Martika on public access, but she did have the advantage of lipsyncing. And that weirdo host. Who is much, much more charismatic than Jimmy Kimmel.
8:07 p.m. will.i.am gets his chance to flog his record! But it’s in big letters behind him that read like they say “will.i.am thugs-n-harmony.” And he can’t sing. And his target demo is probably distracted by the prominent nipples on the mannequins he’s performing in front of.
8:07 p.m. Is there live Vocodering??
8:08 p.m. Jess: “It’s like Wyclef and Jermaine Dupri had the most annoying baby ever. This guy has less talent than Pras.”
8:10 p.m. And continuing the “Interscope Records Would Like You To Care About its Artists Again” theme, it’s Nicole Scherzinger, who apparently borrowed Fergie’s dress backstage. She is singing “Baby Love” and imploring the crowd to The crowd is not so into the waving.
8:11 p.m. Not the Scherzinger head-voice! Noooo!
8:13 p.m. Jimmy Kimmel is hosting drunk. And he didn’t write any jokes! The rest of the world has to sit through “made up crap,” and he’s going to entertain you with his dancing ability.
8:14 p.m. NO JIMMY. DON’T DO THE SOULJA BOY DANCE. WHERE IS BAMBI WHERE YOU NEED HIM.
8:15 p.m. Gary LeVox just LeVoxed “cock” five times in a row.
8:15 p.m. The only people willing to do the Soulja Boy dance are the former Idol contestants. This says something about Simon Fuller’s brainwashing capabilities.
8:16 p.m. Three hours of Jimmy Kimmel vamping. Oh but wait, here’s Soulja Boy to save the day!
8:17 p.m. Jimmy Kimmel is legit wasted. And Carrie Underwood is wearing a dress made of shredded paper towels as she presents the Breakthrough Artist award. I’m hoping the Plain White T’s win, just so I can see Kate shake her head at America’s youth.
8:19 p.m. Daughtry wins. Thank Ed Kowalczyk!
8:20 p.m. Kate and Jess have left my side in order to help me move. Thanks, guys!
8:21 p.m. What? Of Montreal in an ad? It’s a joke ad about an Of Montreal reunion tour, predicated on their breaking up and inevitable reunion. Which I guess is pretty prescient given that everyone’s reuniting nowadays, but does this seem like the most inside joke ever? And why did the ad execs not hire me to put said ad together?
8:24 p.m. James Blunt was said to have “many hits” by the announcer, although it sounds like he was trying to not crack up while he uttered said line. Also, no writers means no lame pre-canned banter between Christina Applegate and Mr. Beautiful, which is nice.
8:25 p.m. Rascal Flatts wins favorite country group. Maybe this means that Gary will get some tea before he goes onstage this time.
8:26 p.m. How you can tell that the record industry is writing the scripts: OneRepublic’s new album’s drop date was incorporated into their intro. And OneRepublic was totally shitfaced as they introduced Avril Lavigne.
8:27 p.m. Avril’s eye makeup is almost giving her a bit of a personality! But mainly because she looks like Kristen Bell as a result. Also, is she wearing Dansko clogs?
8:28 p.m. Joe just walked in and asked, “Sheryl Crow?”
8:29 p.m. IM exchange happening next to me right now:RoommateOfJess: She’s not even playing her signature guitar.jessdolator: she’s playing her signature “awful fucking vocals”RoommateOfJess: the preferred instrument of all performers this evening, so far. Yeah, that pretty much sums it up.
8:30 p.m. Rascal Flatts. It’s too soon! Maybe they asked to be on early so they could start in on their game of Quarters.
8:32 p.m. For those of you keeping score: Jess has flipped me off for the first time this evening!
8:33 p.m. I feel like I have said so much about the abject craposity of Rascal Flatts over the past two weeks. But is it too much? Because really, this is just some stuff that, were it 15 years ago, it would be like sub-Steelheart on Headbangers’ Ball.
8:34 p.m Norah Jones! Remember her?
8:35 p.m. Up next: Maroon 5 and the Jonas Brothers. They should do a very special version of “Wake Up Call,” together, that ends in a shootout.
8:37 p.m. So if there’s no writers, how are they going to pad this out to the full three hours? Will Jimmy Kimmel sing “Crazy Frog (Axel F)” at 9:15?
8:39 p.m. Ryan Seacrest is gonna show Jimmy Kimmel how to host a show.
8:39 p.m. Wait, no he isn’t. He did plug his radio show, though.
8:40 p.m. Everybody, sing along! “She willlll be lovvvvved…” Oh, wait.
8:42 p.m. This is not going to help that Universal investment in Octone much.
8:43 p.m. Do you remember Ashanti? Apparently, we have to. Also, apparently she is now an author.
8:44 p.m. Akon wins favorite male artist. But he brings T-Pain up on stage, because he thinks T-Pain deserves it more! Oh, this is a definite “We Are The World” moment. And now T-Akon is getting played off, because everybody’s drunk.
8:45 p.m. The “Weird Al” appearance proves that this show was, at one time, entertaining. But really, if they’re padding out the non-written segments of tonight’s ceremony with flashback segments already? Oh, America. Oh, music.
8:48 p.m. The All-American Rejects are selling Ford. With a song that I kinda like.
8:49 p.m. Jimmy Kimmel is back. We’re not even an hour in, and he’s already slurring his words.
8:50 p.m. The intro for the Jonas Brothers is making the girls scream uncontrollably. And Jess got so excited he almost fell on me.
8:50 p.m. TEENAGE GIRLS RUSH THE STAGE. And one of the Jonas Brothers falls! Wait, are they drunk too? Aren’t they too young for that sort of thing? I hope the girls got some Everclear in their complimentary Love’s Baby Soft!
8:52 p.m. Jess is comparing tonight’s Jonas Brothers performance to their vamp-filled outing during the Miss Teen USA pageant, and he’s sad that the backing vocals are canned. But c’mon, they can’t walk on broken glass and sing at the same time!
8:54 p.m. Fabolous and Taylor Swift present Favorite Pop/Rock Male, which pits Justin Timberlake against Timbaland against Akon. Jess: “Taylor Swift looks like they put a ho wig on a Siamese cat.”
8:54 p.m. Justin Timberlake is trying to pretend to care in his canned acceptance speech. And Jimmy Kimmel is in Kid Rock’s seat! Because the producers are resorting to recreations of moments at the VMAs. Tonight, they are coming to blows over Celine Dion. This is what happens when you are without writers, I guess.
8:57 p.m. Jess’ stuck-in-Jersey-with-a-full-bar roommate: “I wish you were here to put away more of the Macallan 18. but this is really more of a Canadian Club night.”
8:59 p.m. As if to taunt me, my TiVo just offered to record Law & Order: SVU. And it’s a chat room episode!!! I am so tempted, you guys.
9:00 p.m. What chart did Kellie Pickler’s album “debut at No. 1” on?
9:01 p.m. Favorite soundtrack: Dreamgirls, Hairspray , High School Musical 2. It’s Zac Efron against Zac Efron! And High School Musical 2 wins. Look, Vanessa Hudgens is wearing clothes.
9:02 p.m. Rihanna and the Kronos Quartet perform “Umbrella.”
9:03 p.m. Rihanna is dressed like a flapper who came fully formed from the sea. And here’s Ne-Yo! This show–and pop music in general–needs more Ne-Yo. Why has “Addicted” not been released as a single? Also, did you all know that Good Girl Gone Bad hasn’t broken the million-sold mark yet, despite two of its songs being pretty much ubiquitous? Or maybe because of that fact?
9:12 p.m. Was that just eight minutes of commercials and promos for ABC? No, wait, there are more ABC promos, because here are two people from Grey’s Anatomy who aren’t McDreamy! (I think.)
9:13 p.m. Favorite Country Female Carrie Underwood is such a pro that the “Oh my gosh”ing seems a wee little bit facetious.
9:14 p.m. And the Grey’s Anatomy people are back! And warning us that we’ll be talking about this performance tomorrow.
9:14 p.m. Sugarland performing “Irreplaceable.” Wait, when did I start watching The Next Great American Band?
9:15 p.m. Jess: “This sounds like the theme to Mama’s Family.” And now here’s Beyonce, and she’s a little confused by the new rhythm!
9:17 p.m. Why has no one cut to a reaction shot of Ne-Yo looking really uncomfortable yet?
9:18 p.m. I have no idea who any of these people are.
9:19 p.m. Daughtry wins Favorite Adult Contemporary. He’s kind of dorky! And he’s thanking his band, although pointing out what their names are would have been nice.
9:20 p.m. Great Moments In Celine Dion History. Man, between this and the “Oh, right, Norah Jones had an album come out” nostalgia, I am starting to think that the next great think-piece revolution will be about the decline and fall of “lite rock” as a new-music sales force.
9:27 p.m. Everyone, apparently, is waiting for someone to happen. Also, one way they’re making up for no writers: MORE ADS. Seriously, nothing happened in those seven minutes, I swear.
9:27 p.m. You guys! Celine Dion is edgy! And we don’t mean the profile cut by the fact that she has 0.09% body fat!
9:27 p.m. Oh, she sort of wandered into the song here. Isn’t she charging $500 a seat for her tour? Apparently you’ll get a Britney-level sleepwalk for your money.
9:29 p.m. Joe just walked in. “Is this Martina McBride?”
9:30 p.m. When even Celine Dion is sounding inert, you know that there are problems.
9:31 p.m. Like I am wishing that she’d perform the Titanic song! And now Lenny Kravitz is performing … a ballad …
9:33 p.m. I guess this is his new single. The chorus is “whenever you call me, I’ll be waiting.” It’ll be in a Sprint ad by the time this blog is over.
9:34 p.m. Really, are there still people who are Lenny Kravitz fans? Are there people who turned into this broadcast specifically for the premiere of this song? Does he have fanboys who track his every move on the Internet? Also, as Kate noted: Is he using the same string section he used in the “It Ain’t Over ‘Til It’s Over” video?
9:36 p.m. That song was one big pile of meh.
9:36 p.m. Clearly, Sean Kingston is eating really well as a result of his success.
9:38 p.m. Justin Timberlake wins Favorite Soul Album. And he sooooo does not care.
9:39 p.m. Who else is just waiting for Duran Duran to show up at this point? Hands?
9:42 p.m. Me: “Aww, remember Michael Jackson?” Kate: “Who’s that?”
9:43 p.m. At this point I think they should just have people covering Eddie Murphy’s “Party All The Time” on loop.
9:43 p.m. YES. THE OOPS HEARD AROUND THE WORLD IS RELIVED.
9:43 p.m. Wait, it’s Mel B! Does this mean that the Spice Girls surprise performance we were all waiting for is really happening????
9:44 p.m. No, it’s just another Chris Brown Awards Show Blowout.
9:44 p.m. Chris Brown is Tron!
9:45 p.m. Oh, these outfits look so stupid when the lights are on. Can no one do anything right?
9:46 p.m. We’re at the point where T-Pain and blacklights are getting ovations. I call a do-over. Although at least T-Pain’s mic is actually on.
9:47 p.m. Hooray, upside-down dancing. Where is Lionel Richie?
9:48 p.m. All those Hannah Montana ticket sales allowed Miley Cyrus to get her teeth fixed. You know, wouldn’t it have been nice if she’d performed? To comfort all the kids who got left out in the cold?
9:49 p.m. Carrie Underwood wins some award that people on one mobile carrier were allowed to vote for and that wasn’t announced via opening of envelope, but of text message. And OMG, she’s so excited! “This is a great niiiiight!”
9:49 p.m. Not that I’m complaining, but when was the last time Kimmel was on camera?
9:54 p.m. And it’s another “remember when” moment, where we all bask in the glory of an off-key Alicia Keys/Usher performance.
9:54 p.m. There’s Kimmel again, making a dumb face as he waits for the camera to come back on him. And making a joke about his son losing his virginity to Ashley Tisdale and/or Vanessa Hudgens. Too soon? Ah, fuck it, who cares. It’s time for Favorite Pop/Rock Album! I keep typing “best,” even though that word is so beside the point tonight.
9:56 p.m. Vanessa and Ashley say “Daughtryyyyy…” in a totally weirdo-paedo way. And even though he can’t believe he was up against Linkin Park and Justin Timberlake, everyone here can.
9:57 p.m. Tomorrow’s Google Trends No. 1: “Daughtry wife.” Or “Daughtry wife boobs.” C’mon, searchers, bring it on.
9:58 p.m. Did you guys know that Alicia Keys is this generation’s Stevie Wonder and/or Ray Charles?
9:59 p.m. And now it’s time for a live reggae remix of “No One” featuring Jr. Reid. But you know what’s going to be No.2 on Google Trends tomorrow? “Alicia Keys cameltoe.”
10:01 p.m. Oh man, now it’s Chaka Demus and Pliers doing “Murder She Wrote”! OK, this is now kind of awesome.
10:02 p.m. And now it’s Beenie Man. I like to think that this is Alicia’s attempt to say “fuck you” to the Chicago Tribune‘s Greg Kot for calling “No One” warmed-over Bob Marley.
10:04 p.m. Metallic jeans: A better or worse fashion trend than fedoras? I can’t decide.
10:07 p.m. Jimmy Kimmel is even drunker, and trying to get Beyonce to say bad things about her dad.
10:07 p.m. Tony Hawk? Tony Hawk?
10:08 p.m. OK, Tony Hawk gets points for loving “A View To A Kill.”
10:09 p.m. John Taylor is ageless. He’s going to be 90 and I’m still going to want him.
10:10 p.m. Despite having the opening guitar riff from “Jolene,” Duran Duran’s new song is still not very exciting. Why is everyone releasing ballads right now? We need fun songs to lift us from the pre-recession-holiday doldrums!
10:12 p.m. America has chosen “Hungry Like The Wolf.” I hate you, America.
10:13 p.m. OK I don’t hate this song. Maybe I should hate Tony Hawk for putting the possibility of “A View To A Kill” in my head.
10:14 p.m. What the fuck was that high voice, Simon LeBon?
10:14 p.m. A lone Durannie in the middle of the audience gives the band a standing ovation.
10:14 p.m. And now Slash is hugging Simon LeBon. And Weiland has turned into Luke Perry! I love the ’90s.
10:16 p.m. Carrie Underwood really needs to fucking stop acting surprised. Instead, she should just start singing “Sweet Child O’Mine” and have Slash pick up a guitar.
10:17 p.m. “And now he’s conquered the fragrance world.” Oh, Ush.
10:18 p.m. Well, a long recitation of Beyonce’s achievements (150 awards? Huh?) will certainly eat up time that could have been taken up by segments that were actually written to be recited by other people. Bruce Vilanch, all is forgiven.
10:20 p.m. Beyonce is falling out of her dress. And crying. Aww, she thanked Kelly Rowland and Michelle Whatshername, though.
10:25 p.m. More commercials. Only 35 minutes to go, everyone! Will Daughtry perform with Soulja Boy? Will this split-personality birth control pill ad firmly cement the “LOL @ PMS making women ca-razy” stereotyping? Will I manage to stay awake?
10:27 p.m. Jimmy Kimmel is so, so, so very drunk, introducing Snoop as “Snoop D-O-Double-dizzle-da-zizz-G.”
10:28 p.m. Mary J. Blige is in a black catsuit and sunglasses. Even though this song is part of her “Everything is awesome and I’m happy” period. This song is not as good as the Lauryn Hill song from that penguin movie earlier this year, I have to say.
10:30 p.m. What would make this show exciting? Pyro? Pre-taped performances in hotel suites? Not opening with a medley that was 66% comprised of flops of the year? I guess i’m just trying to think about how this all could be better. Also, it’s perhaps notable that this show has a zero percent quotient of mall emo.
10:31 p.m. Mary J. has nice teeth.
10:32 p.m. Fuck Kid Rock. (Hi Bob, e-mail me!)
10:32 p.m. Bone Thugs-N-Harmony wins the favorite rap group. Over Pretty Ricky! They are thanking the Lord, but they really should be thanking Lindsey Buckingham.
10:34 p.m. The Old Navy Fashion Report presents … a bunch of clothes that are way out of the Old Navy price range. And Rihanna’s one-woman attempt to bring back fingerless gloves.
10:38 p.m. It’s Amanda Bynes, introducing … Queen Latifah. Who is way, way far down Norah Jones Lane.
10:39 p.m. And unfortunately, Norah Jones Lane is in a slightly crappier part of town than “Kissing A Fool” by George Michael. Although nicking the saxophone part from Glenn Frey’s “You Belong To The City” was a nice touch.
10:42 p.m. They certainly gave her a lot of airtime.
10:43 p.m. Favorite Soul/R&B Female Artist. Presented by Akon. The winner: Rihanna. The apologizer: Akon? Maybe?
10:44 p.m. Rihanna is full of love for everyone!
10:46 p.m. Kate’s 14-year-old sister is not watching the American Music Awards. Because she’s never heard of them. Maybe we need some demographic tweaking here?
10:48 p.m. That may also explain the absence of mall emo.
10:49 p.m. Do you know who has the best-selling album of 2007? Why does Jimmy Kimmel take this opportunity to make a Mighty Mighty Bosstones joke? Guess he hasn’t heard about the reunion.
10:49 p.m. Daughtry’s “Home” uses the exact same opening chord progression as “Every Rose Has Its Thorn.” What would happen right now if Chad Kroeger did a run-in? Would America go insane? Also, does it count as “acoustic” if the strings are turned up to 11?
10:51 p.m. Oh, hell no: Daughtry’s AMAs are part of his stage set. And they are underneath a lamp. That is the awards-show equivalent of wearing the band’s shirt to a show.
10:52 p.m. Also: The troops. But they are second fiddle to the little glass obelisks.
10:53 p.m. Gene Simmons, lover of whores, is presenting the Favorite Pop/Rock Female award. It’s Fergie vs. Avril vs. Beyonce. And the winner is Fergie. And she is really playing the “What? Me?” thing up, trembly hand to the chest and all.
10:55 p.m. Oh come on Stacy, you were on Kids Incorporated. Don’t act so ingenue-y. And thank your meth habit for giving you a backstory that you could endlessly flog.
10:56 p.m. It’s over! People are streaming for the aisles! Steve Vai apparently did the outro music! And for the second year in a row, the show runs early, even though there are, according to the chryon just flashed on the screen, about 15 awards that weren’t presented on the show for “time reasons.”
10:59 p.m. Those awards, in case you were wondering: Nickelback – Favorite Pop/Rock Band/Duo/Group (don’t get too specific there, guys) Casting Crowns – Favorite Contemporary Inspirational Artist T.i. – Favorite Rap/Hip-Hop Album, Favorite Rap/Hip-Hop Male Artist (what, you couldn’t get him to appear via Webcam?) Jennifer Lopez – Favorite Latin Music Artist Tim McGraw – Favorite Country Male Artist Linkin Park – Favorite Alternative Rock Music Artist
And that’s it. God, I hate just ending these liveblogs with no pithy sign-off or “what does it all mean” statement, but the show just sort of… ended. No big finish, unless you count Daughtry showing off his freshly won awards, which probably made Taylor Hicks cry a couple of wampy tears. I want to say that the state of popular music today contributed to this show’s overall feeling of “meh,” but really, the AMAs were never where you went to for the exciting musical contributions to pop culture, save for that one time that Slash was drunk. And he was pretty sober tonight, even though no one else was! Which I guess says something for his commitment to making shitty music with Luke Perry for at least another album or so. And that means only one thing: See you all at the Peach Pit!