by Scott Roth
The American Music Awards were hosted last night (Nov 22) in Los Angeles and filled with colorful performances. The show kicked off with Janet Jackson delivering an energetic medley of her songs. Janet danced and sang a collection of songs including “Make Me”, “Control”, and “Together Again” which paid tribute to brother Michael Jackson who was nominated for five awards, including Artist of the Year.
Check Out the Video of Janet Jacksons Performance Here:
It seems Jay-z is everywhere these days, whether it is performing at the 2009 World Series, City Hall in New York City, courtside at a Knicks game, and perhaps a wedding just before the AMA’s. Clad in a white dress shirt, a white blazer and a black bow-tie, Jay-z hit the stage with Alicia Keys to perform the chart topping single “Empire State of Mind”. The performance started off with Alicia Keys giving a rendition of Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York”. Celebrities such as Mary J. Blige and Whitney Houston were seen singing along as well as Perez Hilton, but personally that made me a bit uncomfortable.
Perez Hilton must have been feeling a bit uncomfortable when Will.I.Am and the Black Eyed Peas took to the stage. As you may recall, Perez Hilton accused Will.I.Am of assaulting him in the past year and posted a teary video of his account just after it allegedly occurred. Back to the music, the Black Eyed Peas delivered one of the most feel-good performances of the evening. Impressing the crowd with singles such as “Meet Me Halfway” and “Boom Boom Pow” with their beats reworked. While Fergie belted out the chorus of “Boom Boom Pow” fireworks fell from above and the DJ implemented a “B-more” style beat over the track. Drawing up energy with a guitar pattern borrowed from Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit”, Will.I.Am ended with a bold proclamation- “The new kings!”
Rihanna had the second strangest female performance of the evening as she started off with a video sequence. It featured images of a woman strapped to a medical table with shiny instruments covering her privates, as a team of blue ghost figures implanted a series of computer chips into her body while she sprang to life, Frankenstein style.
With a silver mask removed, the figure was revealed to be Rihanna and the camera panned to the stage, where the singer was strapped into an X-shaped rigging, her arms and legs splayed as the thrum of her single “Wait Your Turn” filled the air. Although I am a fan of her new single “Hard” in which she collaborates with Young Jeezy, it seemed that struggled to perform the song. Perhaps what was making it “so hard” were the overdone theatrics, wardrobe, and microphone.
Eminem and 50 Cent took to the stage to perform the heavy hitting single “Crack a Bottle”. Eminem then cut to his verse in “Forever” which was toppled by a slew of censors.
Check out Em and 50’s “Crack a Bottle” along with some other explosive performances here:
Green Day rocked out rather softly with their song “21 Guns”. If you grew up with a copy of Green Day’s “Dookie” in your room like most 80’s babies, I bet you were hoping to hear “When I Come Around” or “Basket Case”.
Lady Gaga reminded everyone just how weird (or artistic some would say) she is by performing “Speechless” amidst fire and smashing emptied glass bottles of Jonny Walker. She seemed a bit fired up while breaking those bottles and I think this would have been a good time to remember her notorious advice, “just dance, gonna be okay”. Between the bottlessmashing, her bizarre outfits, and the fire, I had a hard time telling if she was actually wearing her poker face.
Ladies went gaga for Adam Lambert’s performance in which he promised would be ‘sexy’. With his named emblazoned in giant letters on the screen behind him, Lambert, hair thrust up in a towering pompadour and dressed in a shiny silver suit with spiky studs on one shoulder and studded gloves, wailed through a moody gothic piano intro that ended with one of his signature rebel yells.
And then the dance beats kicked in. Spinning a female dancer around and then dragging her across the stage as he swiveled his hips suggestively, Lambert closed a night of eye-popping performances with a few sights that have likely never been seen on the AMA stage.
At one point, he slunk along to the song’s throbbing beat and dropped the line, “Don’t be afraid, I’mma hurt ya real good,” while walking two scantily clad male dancers across the stage. Then there was the bit shortly after where he grabbed another male dancer’s head and thrust it into his gyrating crotch as the camera quickly cut away. A female dancer got the same treatment on the way up a staircase. Just after that, another female dancer placed her hand on his privates before Lambert did a tuck-and-roll across the scaffolding and grabbed a cane for no apparent reason.
Lambert was then surrounded by female dancers wearing various kinds of barely there fishnet and leather outfits, who crawled across the stage suggestively while he sat on a giant chair/stripper-pole throne and forcefully fondled the leather outfit painted onto the pole dancer. The performance came to a close with Adam starring into the camera with a defiant and exhausted look.
The 2009 American Music Award’s is sure to be talked about this week in entertainment with its performances heavily overshadowing the award winners.