Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Happy 40th, AMA's.

Sure, it's no Grammys. But after 40 years, the American Music Awards has undeniably made an impression on the industry's landscape. Following the format of 2012's Grammys, the telecast was reminiscent of an IHeartRadio concert, sporadically interjected by the presentation of an award. Strange, considering each category showcased only three artists (are we running out of nominees?). The direct result? A show lacking the drama, substance and wardrobe malfunctions we all anxiously await with our thumbs on the "pause" button of our DVR remotes. An indirect result? A very happy Music Chik. 

As Julie Andrews once sang, the beginning is "a very good place to start." Apparently, the AMA's thought that a good place for Usher as well. I disagree. At the ripe ol' age of 34, Usher struggled to get through the middle of his montage, running out of steam enough to prompt the back tracks on the last leg. Similarly, seeing Ryan Seacrest from the "get-go" almost made the AMA's a "no-go" for me like, say, every New Year's Eve special, Top 40 countdown or red carpet pre-show hosted by the media mogul. Appropriate given his involvement in pop music but predictably bland in his presentation.

I feel compelled to organize my thoughts by way of "hits" and "misses," and in the spirit of tradition, I'll give you the bad news first. The "Everyday Birthday" dedication made by Swizz Beatz, Chris Brown and Ludacris was, well, ludicrous. Talk about a gag gift. Pitbull's performance was (pun intended) the icing on the stale, dry cake. The biggest disappointment for me, however, was Kesha's rendition of "Die Young" -- not because she gave a lackluster or talentless performance (eh-swizz beatz-hem) -- but because she is better than that. What many may not realize is that, underneath all that "garbage glam," is some legitimate vocal talent. Don't believe me? If Kesha had sung it this way, absent the naked men, fishnets and stage-floor gyrations, you would. 

Now for the good news. I have a newfound respect for (and teenage girl crush on) The Wanted after their performance of "I Found You."  Nathan Sykes' rock star-worthy solo blew my socks off (to put it PG) and threw The Wanted to the top of my wish list. Santa, can you hear me? See for yourself... 

As for the rest of Sunday's pro's, I'll put it simply. Pink showcased her insane post-baby bod, athleticism and grace, and thoughtfulness in her artistic expression, albeit a bit vividly for an internationally syndicated telecast. I was pleasantly surprised by Taylor Swift's non-acoustic, sans-peasant dress performance, as well as Justin Bieber's stool-set ballad intro. What's the lesson here? Think outside the box and keep people guessing (regarding your performance choices, not your posse choices). 

On a final note, Stevie Wonder's Dick Clark dedication was the highlight of the evening; that is, until the finale. Who could dream that the most glamorous and talented (I use those terms loosely) musicians of our generation could all look so ridiculous at the same time (besides every female songstress who thought a Beyonce bodysuit mandatory)? That, my friend, is truly the definition of "too legit to quit."