At least this factor had its coronary heart in the suitable place.
In an age of widespread awards-show overload, no one appears to be like to the annual American Music Awards — broadcast stay Sunday night time on ABC from the Microsoft Theater in downtown Los Angeles — for an authoritative prognosis of what issues in pop music, by no means thoughts the bigger tradition that pop is meant to replicate.
Unlike the Grammy Awards, the AMAs presents itself as a fan-voted occasion that acknowledges the “favorite” over the “best” — which might be tremendous (perhaps even preferable!) if these favorites didn’t appear most of the time to overlap with whoever was keen to indicate up and carry out.
Yet because the final main awards manufacturing of the calendar yr, the AMAs additionally command an enviable platform, one which typically leads it to luck into significance.
In 2016 the present befell days after the election of Donald Trump, which led acts as numerous as Green Day and Idina Menzel to grab the chance to speak politics earlier than an viewers of tens of millions.
This yr’s AMAs got here amid unprecedented revelations of badual harbadment within the leisure business — a scenario the present’s host, actor Tracee Ellis Ross, grappled with straightaway in her welcoming monologue by describing a motion began by “brave women” to “own our experiences, our bodies and our lives.”
And with performances by Pink, Kelly Clarkson, Christina Aguilera, Selena Gomez, Demi Lovato and the night’s lifetime-achievement honoree, Diana Ross, the 2017 AMAs promised an efficient antidote to Hollywood’s poisonous masculinity.
“There’s gonna be some men singing, too,” Ellis Ross warned slyly on the prime of the three-hour occasion. “Gotta get them in there, you know what I mean?”
Unfortunately, the performances themselves have been too weak for the present to hit its goal.
After a chilly open that had Jamie Foxx musing on the “power of music to help us heal,” the AMAs launched with Pink and Clarkson teaming for the primary time to sing R.E.M.’s folky “Everybody Hurts.” It was an intriguing selection for these two pop-soul blasters, however one they dealt with manner too respectfully; the outcome was extra dreary than transferring.
Aguilera appeared extra alive in a prolonged tribute to Whitney Houston on the (slightly light-weight) event of the 25th anniversary of “The Bodyguard.” Yet her vocals have been extraordinarily wobbly as she sang a medley that included “I Will Always Love You,” “I Have Nothing” and “I’m Every Woman” — songs so large you could possibly virtually see the concern in her eyes as she approached their peaks.
Perhaps that’s why Gomez seemed to be lip-syncing in a rendition of her appealingly goth-y new single, “Wolves,” that had her writhing in an elaborate forest scene.
Speaking of elaborate, Pink turned up for a second efficiency wherein she sang her tune “Beautiful Trauma” whereas suspended by cables on the facet of the close by JW Marriott lodge.
The concept was undeniably cool — a sort of doubling-down on the aerial choreography Pink recurrently does in live performance. But the main focus required to drag off the stunt took away from her capacity to emote within the tune.
And it didn’t really that nicely, which made you surprise if all the difficulty was actually price it.
Other middling performances got here from Alessia Cara and Zedd, who inexplicably retooled their EDM jam “Stay” as an acoustic dirge, and Lady Gaga, who beamed in by way of satellite tv for pc from a live performance in Washington D.C. to do “The Cure,” the 7-month-old bomb of a single she’s nonetheless making an attempt to ignite.
A number of of these dreaded males certainly made appearances, together with Niall Horan and Macklemore, who did a weirdly enthusiastic Pitbull impression, full with tight-fitting go well with, within the very grim “Glorious.” (Horan was named new artist of the yr, whereas Gaga gained favourite feminine pop artist and Bruno Mars took house artist of the yr.)
That left Diana Ross to wash up, which actually looks as if a job this pop icon can be as much as.
But if her so-so efficiency — one other medley, in fact, with hits like “I’m Coming Out” and “Take Me Higher” — left some vocal precision to be desired, you couldn’t badist however smile as she invited greater than a dozen members of her household (together with Tracee, her daughter) onstage to … nicely, it wasn’t fairly clear.
Were these excited of us presenting their mom/grandmother/aunt together with her award? Were they saying a heartfelt thanks on her behalf?
Whatever was taking place, the second felt heat and true and good.
In this local weather, that was nearly sufficient.