'08 AMAs

’08 AMA Performance Recap

This year’s American Music Awards was one for the books, because it had an insane amount of A-list performers. It was for the performances that I tuned in, as the awards were actually somewhat few and far between, and every single winner was predictable.

THE BEST PERFORMANCES:

-Christina Aguilera
Xtina opened the show with an intense medley of several of her vintage hits, beginning with “Beautiful” acapella, and growing with a flourish to include around five songs total. She set the trend of performing medleys, something several other artists did throughout the night. Her vocals were on point, which forgives her poor choices in wardrobe. It’s hard to believe Ms. Aguilera has been in the game for 10 years (-- wow, do I feel old?!? --). If she’s been around 10 years, that means a slew of the other artists have been as well (P!nk, Beyonce, Britney, Justin, etc. etc. “one-name-pop-stars here”). I highly suggest checking this performance out. It does feel a bit extravagant, indulgent and possibly even too long…but it’s Christina, so does that even matter really?

-Alicia Keys (f/ Queen Latifah)
Alicia closed the night on her keys with “Superwoman”, featuring a rap by her “Secret Life of Bees” costar Queen Latifah performing a rap during the second verse (which included a well-placed shout out to Jenn Hudson’s departed mother). Behind them, flashes of various “superwomen” of music flashed behind them, culminating in a picture of Michelle Obama. Moving and powerful.

-Beyonce
Beyonce performed “Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)” on a cleared set with two other naturally bootylicious dancers and her random mechanical finger. There is no denying Ms. Sasha is anything but Fierce with a capital F. I’m not much for this song, but I got into after this performance. Beyonce is a performer to end all performers with the added bonus of being able to sing her booty off. Her performance was solid as usual.

-Sarah McLachlan (f/ P!nk)
I was less than enthused with P!nk’s other performance earlier that night (“Sober”), but seeing her sing along with Sarah on one of Sarah’s biggest hits “Angel” was incredible. They aren’t exactly a predictable pair, but their voices meshed well, and the song was very well received.

-Leona Lewis
I was hoping for the American premiere performance of “Run”, her cover of the Snow Patrol song that I adore, but she went instead with her current US single “Better In Time”. Leona proves she’s one to watch for the future with her strong and solid vocals. She looked both classy and elegant, and blew a lot of people away, I think.


I’M FEELING INDIFFERENT TO

-Annie Lennox
Don’t get me wrong. I ADORE Annie Lennox. I grew up listening to Annie Lennox. “Walking On Broken Glass” was my favorite song when I was seven. But hearing her sing now left me feeling chills and a bit uncomfortable at the same time. No doubt she deserved her Award of Merit, but to see her perform on her own was a little scary.

-Ne-Yo
Ne-Yo deserves some serious props. He’s some undoubtably catchy pop songs, and is every big as talented vocally as Chris Brown, Usher or Justin Timberlake, without a doubt. But in this age – if you want to be a R&B superstar, you gotta be able to dance, too. His medley performance of “Miss Independent” and “Closer” (both songs I totally dig) left me wanting a bit more.

-Taylor Swift
Her entire new album is very very good, and I’m hardly a country music fan. But this performance had to have been lip-synched, and that turned me off from the get go. If anyone can prove me wrong, please do. But I was so let down by her performance of “White Horses”. And please, Taylor, don’t blame it on Joe Jonas being 30 feet away watching. If he’s really not worth your tears like you say (and he’s not!), you need to move on.

-Rihanna
I’ve been a RiRi supporter since day ONE, and “Rehab” was far and away my favorite song on “Good Girl Gone Bad” the moment I got it. But what’s with the eye patch and the outfit stolen from leftovers from ‘Mad Max’? I don’t get it. I was waiting for her to launch into “Disturbia” inbetween, because then the outfit would make sense. Couple that with her random RoadRunner hair that she’s sporting now and I was just plain confused. Her vocals were absolutely on point, and she really delivered the emotionality of the song, which made up for the rest being totally random.

-Kanye West
After the spectacle of “Love Lockdown” on the VMAS, I was hoping for a repeat with this performance of “Heartless” and didn’t get it. Coupled with him first claming he wants to be Elvis during his first acceptance speech, and then stating he was giving his award to Lil Wayne because he’s a “fan of music”, I think everyone was left scratching their heads. But isn’t that Kanye’s M.O.?

-P!NK
P!NK has one of the strongest voices of our generation, and “Sober” is one killer track. But something just didn’t sit right seeing in her a dress belting it out with smoke in the background. The performance was good, but I was expecting something else entirely.

-Jonas Brothers
Yeah, I’ll admit it. I’m a (not-so) closet fan of JB. But choosing “Tonight” as the third single is just so wrong. There are so many more strong songs on “A Little Bit Longer”. Joe seemed a bit off throughout the whole performance, and the whole thing was so stripped down, it lacked the spectacle of any of the other performances. JB – you know I rep you, but…I was let down.

-Miley Cyrus
I’ll admit to jamming to just about every Hannah Montana song in the safety of my own room with headphones on (along with “See You Again”), but “Fly on the Wall” has yet to grow on me. Maybe it will. But this whole performance with the weird vocoded voice over repeating “Fly on the Wall” coupled with creepy billboard people (if you saw it, you’ll know what I mean), just left me freaked out.

-Natasha Bedingfield
Another one I usually adore so much, the biggest part of her “medley” was the super old “Unwritten”. Yes, Natasha. We know you wrote this song and became so well know for it. It’s the theme to “The Hills” for crying out loud. We don’t need to hear you bust out the several years old ditty. That adding to the fact that “Pocketful of Sunshine” is not quite my cup of tea left me cold.

NOT FEELING:

-The Pussycat Dolls
The grievances I have with PCD could last all day. I don’t like that they consider themselves a recording artist when it’s only Nicole who ever really gets to sing lead. I don’t like that at times, the other girls don’t even have microphones and just dance around on stripper poles. I don’t find any of it empowering to women whatsoever. Yada yada. With that said, “I Hate This Part” is incredible, and I’m so glad they decided to go with that. Imagine my euphoria when they started to perform this song with actual clothes on! But they have to dash my hopes by stripping off, jumping on stripper poles and singing “When I Grow Up”. Yeah, it’s catchy. Big freakin’ whoop.

-New Kids On the Block
Host Jimmy Kimmel made a big point that the majority of the artists featured tonight were in their teens. NKOTB were popular before I could even talk, and I’m 21. I’ll admit that “Summertime” is catchy, and the fact that they got Lady GaGa on the road opening for them is pretty damn awesome. But their whole medley just felt forced and sad, especially Jordan Knight singing the high falsetto during the end. “Right Stuff?” I think not.

-The Fray
I loved “Over My Head” and I’m digging their new song as well. But either their lead singer was super nervous or he just can’t perform live. Wow.

-Coldplay
This was overdone. The gobs of confetti? The military outfits? Oh, right – I saw it all before at the Movie Awards. Chris Martin, you are not Bono. Stop acting like you are.

-Mariah Carey
What happened to the divalicious Mariah Carey I used to know and adore? The one who didn’t need a man and worked out in stilettos? Now she’s getting walked out by her son – I mean, husband – Nick Cannon, and not even hitting the high notes anymore? WTF.

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