American Music Awards 2012: Blondes and Bieber took the night!
Last night ABC aired the 40th anniversary of the American Music Awards hosted by none other than Ryan Seacrest. While Nicki Minaj and Rihanna led the nominations with four each, Justin Bieber took home the most awards, claiming all three titles of Favorite Pop/Rock male artist, Favorite Pop/Rock Album for Believe, and Artist of the Year giving him an all-time total of seven American Music Awards. The Biebs brought his mom as his date and thanked her and Usher when accepting the final award of the night for Artist of the Year. Before acknowledging his mom or mentor, Bieber thanked “the haters” who thought he was “just here for one or two years”.
Among the random highlights of the night – Backstreet was back to present New Artist of the Year which went to not 1 Direction, Gotye, Fun or hip-hop cult favorite J. Cole, but “Call Me Maybe” singer Carly Rae Jepsen. David Guetta beat out Calvin Harris and Skrillex for the first ever Favorite electronica dance music category and Stevie Wonder honored the late Dick Clark with a medley during an on-screen montage, while Whitney Houston’s acknowledgement was limited to a brief statement from R&B singer Brandy.
As for performances, Usher opened the show with a lackluster pop-infused “Numb”, “Climax” and “Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop” medley. Usher’s protege Bieber started his own performance with an emotional acoustic rendition of “As Long as you love me” rapping for the absentee guest artist Big Sean, and went on into his duet with Nicki Minaj “Beauty and the Beat”. While a somber attitude was appropriate for the first song, one couldn’t help but notice how mechanical and emotionless his “Beauty and the Beat” performance was. His body showed up but his heart was clearly elsewhere.
Thee original American Idol Kelly Clarkson opened her performance with a nod to her Idol roots, rocking a contestant number on her chest and performing in front of a panel of three “judges”. Fellow American Idol and Favorite country album winner for “Blown Away” Carrie Underwood also gave a decent performance, but it was the other blondes who brought the house down.
First up, Ke$ha. Appropriately introduced by Cyndi Lauper, this blonde wild child showed the others what a REAL pop performance looks like. Complete with a full team of dancers, tribal paint and a mini drum performance, Ke$ha’s “Die Young” both looked and sounded great.
The next blonde beauty to hit the stage was fifth time consecutive Favorite country female artist winner Taylor Swift. Debuting “I knew you were trouble,” the next single from her new album RED, T Swizzle’s performance started off as an enchanting masquerade ball reminiscent of her “Love Story” days, turned dark twisted fantasy. Adding dub step to her music, covering Cosmo and making edgier, more animated performances? Someone is DEFINITELY trying to grow up her image and this performance was a step in the right direction.
P!nk’s So You Think You Can Dance inspired interpretive dance routine for “Try” proved that her early departure from R&B was a wise decision. Complete with a domestic violence theme, this performance featured the best choreography of the night and showed off her incredibly toned body!
Christina Aguilera let the blondes down with her performance which started out like a perfume ad, and transformed into a dark, Cher-esque drag show.The highlight of this performance? A big girl busting a split as Christina hit her notes towards the end. Another disappointing creative-gone-wrong performance came from fellow “blonde” and Favorite hip-hop artist winner Nicki Minaj. She must have been trying to get right with Jesus after dressing as a cardinal and mocking an exorcism with the ‘Pope’ at this year’s Grammys. For her debut performance of “Freedom” from Favorite hip-hop album Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded the Reup, Nicki was in some sort of white winter wonderland donning an all white ensemble, sans pants of course, and was eventually joined by a choir adorned in white robes. Okay Nicki. Again, the highlight came at the end when Nicki closed her mouth long enough to let a big girl belt out a few nice notes.
While the blondes rocked the stage, Christina and Nicki left us confused and Bieber showed us how it looks when your first love breaks your heart for the first time, performance of the night had to go to South Korean Singer Psy. Closing the show with his hit sensation “Gangnam Style” Psy was joined by 90s pop-rap pioneer MC Hammer for a “2 Legit 2 Quit/Gangnam Style” mashup.
The American Music Awards took place at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles.