Monday, November 24, 2008

The AMAs

I’ve blogged about awards shows before -- once in a way that was relatively normal, and once in a way that one commenter claimed was a sign of incipient nervous breakdown. Last night, I caught about half of the American Music Awards with two friends.

We were lucky to miss several performances, like those by Mariah Carey, Christina Aguilera, and Leona Lewis, who no doubt took part in a competition to see who could shatter a chandelier fastest. Luck was limited, though. As the performance of the Jonas Brothers segued into a performance by The Pussycat Dolls -- a too-perfect pairing of the studied innocence and proud skankhood that currently define our popular culture -- one of the people on the couch next to me said, “We must enjoy pain.” (The Dolls are a favorite perennial target of mine.)

But there was the odd highlight or two. I enjoyed Natasha Bedingfield’s medley of hits. She’s got a naturally powerful voice, meaning she can sing live, for one thing, and she doesn’t have to screech like a maniac only to still painfully fall many, many yards short of attempted notes (hi, lead Pussycat Doll). She also looked beautiful, and in a relatively grown-up, untrashy way, which I feel compelled to attribute to her Britishness. (The naturally stunning Rihanna, by contrast, performed looking like a perfect combination of Fearless Leader from Rocky and Bullwinkle, an extra in one of Terry Gilliam’s futuristic fantasias, and a bondage freak. The Dolls appeared, per usual, dressed as close to stark naked as the FCC will allow.)

Best of all was Annie Lennox, who received a humanitarian award and sang the lovely “Why.” Her voice wasn’t in the finest form, but the confidence and theatricality with which she used it was even more moving after a parade of soulless performances by past and future strippers.

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Blogger figment said...

Thank you. I felt sickly after watching the AMAs and started to wonder if I might need an attitude adjustment (knowing the mainstream music industry isn’t likely to undergo its own). I’m not Annie Lennox’s biggest fan, but she was truly a breath of fresh air and authenticity after an otherwise painful show.

11:14 AM  

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